Sunday, August 24, 2014

A few days in the South Island of New Zealand Part 2

I left Darfield the next morning and it was not long before I was climbing into the Southern Alps and over Porters Pass. It was fine although there were dark clouds to the south and a haze ahead.

There were patches of snow on the ground.

I stopped to take a photo of the Waimakariri River.

Not long after, as I approached the township of Arthurs Pass, it began to snow. Road signs said snow chains essential and there were some cars stopped in the carpark while the drivers fitted them. Along the road was a line of trucks waiting for the road to clear.

Instead of stopping half an hour for morning coffee, I went to the motel where I stayed several years ago and booked a room. Even though it was just after 11am, I was given a room and I settled in to read my novel.   About 1pm I walked half a kilometre to the shop for some lunch and, while there, the snow began to bucket down. These photos were taken as a I walked back.

and my car outside the motel.

The trucks began to move soon after as I think the wind had moved from the south west to the south east so the western side of the pass cleared while snow was falling heavily in the township on the east. I did not leave until the next morning 22 hours after my arrival.

I stopped at the lookout

I had 2 reasons for my hiking stick. 1 to make sure I did not slip on the snow and 2 to fight off the attack by Keas who thought my car aerial and windscreen wipers would make great fun.

Here is a similar photo someone else took at the same spot which gives a  clearer picture of these intelligent but annoying birds

The rest of the day and the next three were in brilliant sunshine. This is not often the case on the west coast.

I headed for Hokitika where I had originally planned to stay overnight.

The town is famous for its greenstone or pounamu and the town clock is a feature.

I headed inland to the gorge which is also a brilliant green.

I took a half hour walk including a swing bridge over the gorge.

I took this photo on the road to the gorge.

Returning to the town, I walked along the river and looked back at the very long bridge and alps

I wish I could have had longer, especially in such wonderful weather. Hokitika has 2,901 mm (114 inches) of rain a year falling on an average of 172 days.

I drove south to Franz Josef stopping at Lake Mapourika and a view of the winter sun.

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