Blogs from Arthur's Pass National Park, South Island, New Zealand, Oceania - page 2


It's so astonishing how the climate is affected by wind and chain of mountains. Have u ever heard of the Nor'wester? It's a dry, hot wind that has impact on Canterbury and especially Christchurch (People get grumpy and depressed). The wind comes from the Tasman Sea in the West and has a humidity of almost 100%. When coming across the Southern Alps, the wind condenses and results in rainfalls. Afterwards there remains only 15 % of humidity which is the actual Nor'Wester. The Arthur's Pass is a good place to study how weather works. It is a barrier between the West and East Coast and causes huge weather differences. I was lucky to see them. On the Westside you have got beautiful, sunny sky, whereas the East Coast is covered by clouds. The clouds are caught ... read more

16 fev (Toujours a l'Onuku Farm Hostel d'Akora...) La journee a commencee par un chien hurleur au creux de la vallee en pleine nuit. Et le coq est venu coccoricoter par la suite. Et c'est maintenant le paon intrigue qui glouglousse en m'observant par la fenetre sans rideau de notre petite "shed" poussiereuse.. Et les cigales qui n'ont pas arretees une seule seconde leur grincante symphonie de la nuit. Bon. Aucun autre choix que de me lever donc. J'enfile un pantalon mou et je vais me faire bouillir de l'eau pour me faire un cafe fort dans le semblant de cuisine du "campground" de l'Onuku Farm Hostel. J'y sort les cigales prisonnieres une a une en les agrippant par leurs vibrantes ailes alors qu'elles chialent en levant leurs pattes griffues. Beaucoup sont deja mortes sechees par ... read more
Pancakes Rock
Arthur's pass road
Leaving Akaroa

Thursday November 21st, 2013. Christchurch to Arthur's Pass, Southern Alps, South Island, New Zealand We awoke very early (despite being so tired last night) as our bodies are still on the European clock. We had a breakfast of Wheat Bix (which M thought would be like the English Wheatabix but aren't), tea, coffee and toast. We went back to the supermarket to use the ATM and get some more supplies. Then we set off on the A73 in the direction of the West Coast of the South Island via the Southern Alps. Our target was to reach Arthur's Pass. The weather was glorious. As we drove along the highway we spotted a view of the alps just as we entered the town limits of a small place called Aylesbury. The viewpoint stands on the site where ... read more
21. M at Kura Tawhiti
24. Avalanche Falls
33. . M on the Bridge over the Bealey River at the start of the Devil's Puchbowl walk

Last part of the voyage home, from Christchurch to Arthurs Pass. I stayed at the Mountain House Backpackers as I always do, where I had a dorm room to myself. The bus gets into Arthurs Pass Village at about 9.30 am so you’ve got the whole day there even if only staying overnight. I headed off up the Bridal Veil track which leads through forest almost all the way to the top of the pass. Curiously there were no kea around the village so the first bird to add to the year list today was a tomtit just at the entrance to the forest. I saw a kea in the forest a little while later, but no brown creepers or riflemen which were the other two bush birds I was after. I’d be coming back down ... read more
Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra)
Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra)
Blue duck or whio (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchus)

This morning I wake up to the sound of the rain and wind lashing against the building. When I get up and inspect, it really is torrentially raining, so hard that I decide not to venture out. After breakfast and some time reading the weekend paper there is no sign of it easing. The Swiss girl, German boy and myself all decide to stay inside around the fire and play jenga for a few hours. Around lunch time the rain starts to ease slightly, and I decide to brave the weather. As I walk the hour or so along the Arthurs Pass walking track, I am sheltered in the forest from the rain, and it really isn’t that bad, quite refreshing, and I am very glad made the effort to come out. However, I am half ... read more

After a lovely full and undisturbed nights sleep I am refreshed (apart from my legs, which ache from my run), tuck into some breakfast and get ready to head off. Just as I am leaving, Danny asks if he could accompany me, which of course I welcome. Far more enjoyable to walk with someone. So by 9am we have signed in at the DOC, checked the weather forecast and track conditions and head off. It’s a steep climb from the outset, and even without the sunshine and a light breeze present we are both sweating before long, clambering over the rocks and over the hillside. Danny sets a perfect pace thanks to his previous army career and we are soon at the tree line. From the tree line, there are several points where you think you ... read more

People start packing up and leaving in the dorm at 6am, and by 7.30am I have the room to myself so I steal an extra half hour of undisturbed sleep. I have a nice morning, skype with dad, a full unpack and re-pack of my bag, and then cook some lunch for later. The bus leaves Franz Josef at 10am and heads to Hokitika. I have half an hour at Hokitika to look around before the bus heading to Greymouth. Being a bank holiday, Hoikitka is more like a ghost town, though I am told it is like this, bank holiday or not. I walked through the main town to the sea – and understand why people call the west coast of New Zealand wild and rouged – the waves were crashing in, but a few ... read more

As we left the small community of Fox Glacier the whole area was enveloped in low cloud. It was a grey misty day as we travelled North to Hokitika. The weather improved as we reached Hokitika and the sun was shining with clear blue skies. There was a wild food festival and the town was very busy. We had a picnic by the beach and then set off for our drive through the scenic Arthur’s Pass. The road was very steep and winding in places but there was some great scenery. We ended the day checking in to a hotel in Springfield. Unfortunately we didn’t see Homer Simpson!... read more
Hokitika Clock
Arthur's Pass 2
Scenery en route to Arthur's Pass

And so my encroachment upon the south island begins, and a loosely planned one at that, looser than a Manchester Street hooker I headed out east along route 73, the Great Alpine Highway via Arthurs Pass. Thankfully, the daily grind and my scuzzy lifestyle was being left to one side for the time being, I now found myself with the freedom and time to assess what the south island had to offer, taking it at ease and not rushing it being the order of the day, it was time to be free again. Route 73 runs from Christchurch some 255 km out to the West Coast though the Southern Alps; a route formerly developed in the 1860’s to transport gold from the West Coast to Christchurch. A somewhat perilous route that only ever actually saw one ... read more
Springfield - En route to Arthurs Pass
Yobo Kea

Today I left Paroa and headed back over to Christchurch through Arthur's Pass. This route was very mountainous but was beautiful. It is similar to the Northern Alps mixed with Northern Scotland, with loads of wild gorse which was brought over originally to be used as hedges. The yellow flowering place made the countryside more interesting even if the locals are working hard to remove it! The roads this way were actually quite fast when you got to the flat valley floors where they ran alongside the fast flowing rivers. I twisted and turned my way through the mountains and over many bridges. There are loads of ski fields along this route with roads that looked more snow covered than the route I took up to the Remarks! There are also loads of Hawks flying above ... read more

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