So, I’m ready to post again about another section of our journey. Sorry about all the english errors in the last one. I was in a bit of a hurry. I left off in Christchurch. We woke up the next morning to Tuesday. Day 5 of 15. We had to get up very early because we had a very long day and a lot of ground to cover to keep in line with our plans. First up was Mount Sunday. This was way out of the way and probably added 5 to 6 hours to our day. It was way out in the middle of no where on a dead end gravel road. It wasn’t really a mountain either. More of a mound really in the middle of a bunch of other mountains. The view was supposed to be spectacular, but it was raining and very misty, so we didn’t get to see much really except the mound. All the mountains around it were covered in clouds. We had our rain gear and after getting a little lost and then driving an hour on the gravel road we took an hour and a half to hike up the mound and look around. It was really fun actually. This location had apparently been featured in the movies, The lord of the rings and was where the little village of Edoras was located.
This is what it looks like on a good day
This is what we saw
This is the view from on top of Mount Sunday. Only the foothills of the mountains are visible
Here is Adrienne looking angelic on a rock we found and climbed
Next up was Springfield. Home of the Homer Simpson Donut. We asked why they had the donut and the people at this cafe said that when the movie makers of the Simpsons movie made their movie, that gave 2 donuts to 2 random towns called Springfield in the world. And this was one of them. So we each got one of these famous donuts and a hot drink and continued on our way.
Cafe we stopped at
Actual donut. It was more interesting to look at than to eat. It tasted pretty average to be honest.
Next we stopped at a place called ‘Cave Stream’ I really want to come back here in the summer because it was a bit cold to actually go through the cave. It’s a cave with a river running through it. You take torches (flashlights) and wear water shoes and walk through, climbing up over little waterfalls and such until you reach the other end. It’s about 1 km long and must be done when there is no chance or rain or else the water level is too high and you could drown. I tried to get in the water and it hurt pretty bad because it was so cold. So we just had a look around and continued on our journey.
Here is the Exit end of the stream
Here we are walking to the other end over the top of the cave
Here is the Entrance end of the stream
The main point of this day was to travel over Arthurs Pass which would take us from the East Coast over to the West Coast. It was a lot of ground to cover and so much to see. This was probably a favourite day for me and I’d choose to come back here again in an instant. The views were beautiful and we passed many places which would have been great for hiking and camping or exploring. April is Autumn in New Zealand and the colours were perfectly timed for our trip.
Next we stopped at the Devil’s Punchbowl which was a giant water fall. We hiked out which took about 15 minutes. The viewing platform wasn’t quite close enough for our liking so we read the sign that said continue at your own risk and jumped the fence and got right next to the water fall were there water collected in a big basin or the ‘punchbowl’. It was very misty from all the water. It was hard to take photos here.
A sign to direct our way
View from the parking lot
The walking track stopped here
The sun was close to setting now and we had to cut out a few things in our plans to make our next sleepover for the night. We were scheduled to stay at a backpackers but didn’t realise that there was a road closure that closed at 7 pm. We didn’t make it to that part of the highway until after 7 so had to stop early for the night at a different backpackers place. This would add a few more hours of driving for the next day and subtract from our time in Queenstown. We had hoped to arrive at a gorge near the west coast before it got dark where the water looked an emerald green from the glacier head waters. We did’t make it though so maybe next time. Below are a few more pictures from the day before it got dark.
At the backpackers. We got a room to ourselves with one extra bunk
We awoke the next morning and drove several hours south to Arrowtown and then Queenstown. Arrowtown is famous for it’s beautiful autumn colours and we were there at the perfect time to see this. I wish we could have spent more time here. It was a quaint little town with a few shops and lots of touristy stuff. Right before we arrived we had a nice view from the top of a large set of hills. We got some fun pictures here before going down. I realised when we got to the bottom that my car was making a funny smell, like burning rubber. It went away after a while and so I thought it was all ok. Later on I realised what it was but I don’t want to get out of order with my story so, will tell more about that later.
Then it was on to Queenstown which is famous in New Zealand for the mountain range called ‘The Remarkables’. It’s also famous for the skiing and the shops, but I personally thought it was over commercialised and not as amazing as it was hyped up to be. We were all starting to get a little tired at this point and wanted to do different things. Tanya wanted to take the gondola up to the look out to view the Remarkables from up high. I didn’t want to spend the $30 dollars for this and wanted to drive up to a look out that would give a not as good view but still get to see them. Adrienne wanted to shop for souvenirs for her family so we all split up. Adrienne ended up joining Tanya in the end and they had a great time and said it was worth the money. I had a nice time as well and got to see a guy parasailing from off a cliff. On my way back down I noticed that the smell in my car was getting bad again and I thought, ‘It must be my breaks….’ So, I called a friend that knew a lot about cars and explained what was happening and we came to the conclusion that I was driving wrong. Since I only just learned how to drive a manual the year before, I unknowingly was coming down hills wrong. I was coming down with my foot on the clutch and using my breaks to slow down instead of the engine. This was in turn burning out my breaks because there were a lot of hills. From that point on I tried to engine break as much as I could and the problem stopped happening. Phew…. glad we got that figured out, or else my breaks could have given out. This was not the only close call we had. I’ll tell you about that later.
The Remarkables from the gondola
The ladies having fun shopping
A view from the street
The hang glider I saw
The view from my lookout
The view from the garden I checked out
Anyway, I came back and looked around in a garden and got some more photos and then met up with the ladies. Then we had supper at a famous burger restaurant called ‘Fergburger’ where you have to put your order in and then come back in an hour when it’s ready. It was worth it thought. It was soooo delicious. While we were waiting Adrienne saw this guy that she thought was cute waiting in line behind us. She made some small talk and then after we put in our order we went our separate ways. We had an hour to wait so we did some looking around. She thought it was be a funny idea to go up to him and give him a note with her phone number on it. She told herself that she had to do it, even though she knew that it probably wouldn’t turn into anything. So, we came back and got our burgers and the guy was still waiting for his. She got up the guts and walked up to him and his friend. She asked him what his name was, said ‘nice to meet you’, put the paper in his hand and then walked away. Tanya and I were watching from farther away. We met up later and were laughing so hard because we couldn’t believe she did it and neither could she… The guy looked really confused when she did it, and he never called her, but it was funny, and the story was worth it.
Click here to view South Island Road Trip Part 3