We rode almost the entire width of the island today! Our road trip started in Christchurch on the east coast with the destination of Franz Joseph on the western coast ahead. We hit State Highway 73 outside the city after 9 this morning, and went north toward Arthur’s Pass. Fortunately/unfortunately, there is no direct path from east to west, so our only option was north. I say “fortunately” because it means we see more of the country. I say “unfortunately” because it means you can’t get anywhere super quickly if you’re in a hurry. But, when on vacation, one should never be in a hurry, right?
I was actually thrilled that we were going to be going through Arthur’s Pass because I had admired pictures of the area in the guidebook we bought ahead of the trip. The national park had some amazing sites, and the one I really wanted to see was Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall. I knew we wouldn’t have time to really see much of the park, but if we could see that one spot, I would feel like we’d seen something. 🙂
The views along the way were amazing. It was pretty dry when we started, but the closer we got to our destination, the more green the grass and hills got.
We stopped in the village of Arthur’s Pass for lunch, just a dozen yards from the entrance to the trailhead for the waterfall. After lunch and a little debate over whether the waterfall was worth an hour’s hike, we were tramping up the path in the direction of the roar of water.
A vertical ascent up stairs and over rocks, and we arrived near the base of the waterfall. There was a nice breeze, but after so much climbing, the cool mist off the waterfall was a welcome reward at the top.
Following our hike, we were back on the road to Franz Joseph.
At Kumara Junction, we turned left and headed south. We followed the coast for a while with beautiful views of the Tasman Sea on our right before turning inland toward the mountains.
Our hotel is a little out of town, so we didn’t catch many glimpses of the glacier area until we went into town for dinner and grocery shopping. Even then, the clouds were obscuring the area, so we just got a little peek at the mountain in the distance.
Dinner at King Tiger was delicious. I’ve already forgotten the name of what I ordered, but it was melt-in-my-mouth good, and Tim’s vindaloo was a close second.
Our plan tomorrow is to hike to the glacier before we move south again for a night in Wanaka. We’re definitely on the move on the South Island!