Cross country via Arthur's Pass to Christchurch

Published: April 17th 2012
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15th April ’12 FJ to Christchurch

Not a lot of sleep last night due to incredibly hot throbbing sand fly bites, they itch worse than mossie bites, my fingers now resemble a pound of extra thick pork sausages and I can’t get my ring on! Thankfully I still have some anti- histamines knocking around in the medicine kit and my Boots anti-histamine bite cream.

So today’s hitch hikers were a couple of lovely young Danish lads called Soren and Mik, only 21 years old bless ‘em and 3 months into their 6 months of travelling. We picked them up as they had the nouse to make a sign saying split fuel cost. Poor guys were squashed in the back seat with their packs as the boot was full of ours and our grub! Still they didn’t seem to mind and chatted the whole time. Like us their favourite country so far was Vietnam so we swapped stories and compared notes.

They don’t seem to be on quite so tight a budget as us though as they told us about their bungee jumping, sky diving, diving and other assorted extreme sports activities and we couldn’t top that! They also

The Puke Pub
beat us on the injury stakes as well, Mik was beaten up in Thailand and ended up with a broken collar bone and his arm in a sling and Soren hurt his ankle and ended up on crutches and when they uploaded a photo of themselves in this condition taken at the airport in Vietnam onto facebook they were surprised at how horrified their parents were! All credit to them though they still carried on travelling, hiking and climbing!! Oh to be 21 again!

On the road to Hokitika we stopped off at a very bizarre little place called Pukekura which was basically a pub (Puke Pub) and a cafe in the middle of nowhere. The whole place was based around the premise that possums are the scum of the earth, as are politicians and there were signs everywhere with strange sayings, a giant model of a sandfly, a guillotine with fake blood for the politicians, a small museum and a café serving meals and sandwiches made from roadkill!! We left the 2 lads feeding the goats while we had a look round.

After a couple of hours we reached Hokitika and dropped the lads off as we were going across country and they were heading north. We had a look round the town before setting off again and it was typical of all the towns we have encountered so far, basically 2 main roads with shops, cafes and a theatre (cinema) but the people we came across were so friendly and wanted to chat. This place however did have the crowning glory of visitor attractions – The Sock Machine Museum!!!

So after all that excitement we carried on to Arthur’s Pass, the mountain road that connects the east and west coasts. It was all going fine, winding our way through mountain gorges etc etc until we came to an abrupt halt at the end of a queue of traffic. A policeman came along and said the road after Arthur’s Pass was closed due to a fatal accident and they didn’t know when it would open, but there would be an update in 30 minutes. It was all a bit shocking but you were able to go up the road to Arthur’s Pass (the small village) and as the alternative was an additional 8 hours drive to find the next route across country we decided to press

Today's Menu
on and hope it wouldn’t take too long for the road to be passable again.

When we arrived in the village cars were lined up by the road side and people were milling about. We found out a policeman had been along to say it should be clear in about another 30 minutes so we went for a walk up to a local water fall while we waited.

Sure enough traffic soon started moving…at a stop start snail’s pace, but at least it was moving. When we eventually got to the scene of the accident it was apparent they had only managed to get one side of the road cleared hence the stop start, but it was awful to see the remains of a totally crumpled car which had had to have its roof cut off, I didn’t want to look but you had to go right past it, those poor poor people.

Rather subdued we carried on and about 3 hours later reached Christchurch and stayed back at our original starting point motel, we were even given the same room – how spooky was that?!

Additional photos below
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Soren and Mik

Sock Machine Museum!

Town clock

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