Driving inland from Christchurch takes you through a wide range of scenery, and offers some great opportunities to connect with nature. We had planned for ages to do a day trip to Arthurs Pass while on holiday in Christchurch, and the weather made for perfect conditions, as we left the one cold day of our holiday behind on the coast, enjoying cool but pleasant weather instead.
As we were nearing Klondyke Corner, we all of a sudden came across the TranzAlpine train, right at a point where its track was immediately next to the road. This was a massive treat for train-mad Mr4.5, who was most upset when the train then vanished off into the distance. We beat the train into Arthurs Pass itself, so parked near the train station and walked up to the bridge across the Bealey River, where the tracks vanish into the Otira Tunnel, to watch the train leave town again.
After a quick pop up the hill to the lookout for Avalanche Creek Falls, we stopped briefly at the store and café, where we found the only kea we saw on the entire trip. Significant powers of persuasion were required to get Mr4.5 to join us as we wandered through the village and walked up to the Devils Punchbowl falls. Although, he did get excited once in the bush, and powered off ahead of me.
Stopping for lunch on the way back down from the falls, not realising until we were back at the main road that there were a second set of falls only 15 minutes on from the first bridge (do both if you are there, they each don’t take much time), we walked back through the village to collect the car, heading up to the Otira look out to see if we could see more kea (again, none to be seen – odd and sad, this has always been a spot I’ve seen them before). Stopping back in at the café to join the exceedingly slow-moving queue for an ice-cream, we chilled there for a bit before heading east back towards the coast again.
A VERY brief stop to see the Moa at the Bealey Hotel, and off we went again.
On the way out, we had promised that if the weather was nice on the way home we could stop at Castle Hill to explore the massive boulders along the side of the road. The weather was nice – felt cool as we stepped out of the car, but the cool didn’t last. This was easily the best part of the day for everyone – the rocks were incredible. We didn’t do much climbing, but we did do some clambering. Next time we head that way, if the weather is nice, we would totally stop again, and get further out the back of the area.