Last Drive

Day 28 – Although sad to set off for the drive to Christchurch and eventual handover of Aramoana, we were content in the knowledge that we had travelled around the North and South islands in the best way possible.

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We did at times go off itinerary – my small seat of our pants input – but joking aside, without the Long-sufferings careful research over eighteen months, we would not have got to, or seen half the beautiful places we explored in between the planning for our 25th anniversary cruise and ferry crossings. Quite frankly without him this trip would not have got off the drawing board!

Meanwhile there was just time to stop and explore one more ‘off itinerary’ excursion!

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Cave Stream Scenic Walk, Arthurs Pass – we took one of two short easy half hour return walks to the cave entrances, the accessible cave runs 594m between the two.

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Caving was not something either of us wished to do – both of us breathing a sigh of relief at the others defined head shaking from side to side!

As we neared the entrance though two people were just appearing out from the blackness, very cold and surprised at depth of water and how winding and cramped it had been!

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Looking at the cramped conditions only served to reinforce my reserve never to go caving by choice!

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Arriving out safely back into the daylight must feel quite exhilarating!

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And then all too soon after one last lunch roadside, we were in Christchurch handing back our beautiful Aramoana to her base ready to be checked and made ready for her next lucky set of occupants.

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We had already decided to return one day in the not too distant future….. for now ¬†though our journey was to continue by taxi, as Christchurch beckoned………

Reflections, Ice, Pancakes & Blowholes!

Day 27 Lake Matheson – it was important to get here early not only to beat the crowds but to beat any changes to the warm still morning we were lucky to wake up to. Our experience here – a perfect reflection of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman – in the still waters of the lake was entirely weather and nature dependant!

The easy one hour return walk from an impressive visitor centre and gift shop already busy with coach loads of tourists, took us over a suspension bridge – long-suffering no longer groans at these – through native forest to a stepped tiered pontoon out above the dark brown waters of Lake Matheson.

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And for the most part it was a perfect reflection, except when one little duck paddled quietly through the outer edges. And then it was a jostle to get the perfect shot without random heads, of which I failed!

Fox Glacier valley walk – moderate 2.6km return over mostly easy tracks with a steep hard climb as we neared the Glacier view-point.

This walk takes you to approximately 500m from the front of the Glacier although it is constantly moving so that can change quickly with ice/rock falls or high waters in and around the rocky canyon.

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Another very clear hot day and uphill exertions saw sweating man return as we neared the view-point with the hordes of others coming and going on this busy track.

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With the glacier in continued retreat, it is sad to think future generations may not ever get to see this glacier at all.

Lake Ianthe Рoff itinerary lunch stop, beautiful lake to sit and enjoy our lunch, another couple joined us on the picnic table and we spent a good hour chatting companionably  together about our travels in this beautiful country.

Pancake Rocks – not on our intended route but worth every bit of the extra kilometres covered, over an hours drive up from Arthur’s Pass gave us chance to see the unusual and unique rock formations looking every bit like stacked pancakes!

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Loop walk – thirty minute return along paved paths. Lovely easy walk with strategic viewpoints overlooking, rock formations, crashing seas and blowholes.

Arthur’s Pass – beautiful scenes as we drove along this long stretch of road.

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Through gorges, steep winding roads, a one lane bridge shared with a train – Kumara Junction Bridge – viaduct, photo stops galore….

Eventually taking us to the best Freedom Camp ever for our last night in Aramoana….