Since I’ve left Hong Kong the temperature has dropped way back into the teens because it’s springtime in both Australia and N Zealand. It is quite strange to see the spring flowers and the trees just coming into bloom when at home we are going the opposite way.
My tour left Christchurch at 8am this morning. It was barely 5 degrees and it was freezing. This week we are touring the South Island and since Christchurch is about halfway down the east coastwe have to cross the centre of the island through a number of passes to get to the west coast. Basically we need to go through the Southern Alps. The scenery is just gorgeous.
Some parts of the road must have been interesting when they were originally cut through. It’s still a road that you have to pay attention to if you are driving.
The west coast consists of beautiful beaches and a number of wee towns. It’s clearly a part of N Zealand that has not been highly developed. and is a bit depressed. Apparently until about 20-30 years ago most of it was only accessible by sea or air. The main industry was coal mining and that has seen a slump particularly since the mining accident of last year.
Having spent the night in the Fox Glacier township( a town that if you looked the wrong way you would miss) we set off this morning for a walk to the base of the Fox Glacier. It’s a very invigorating way to start a morning because it’s freezing and most of the walk is done on loose scree - well worth it however.
From there we set off again to cross back towards the east coast through some of the most gorgeous scenery that I have seen. One lake after another surrounded by mountains; each more beautiful than the last. I think my favourite was Lake Hawea where the mountains were mirrored in the lake but really it was hard to choose.