Wednesday – Hokitika to Arthur’s Pass

Hokitika was a nice town, though we didn’t take many pictures there. One shot Megan did get was the driftwood ‘sign’ on the beach which has become something of an icon for the town (you see it on tee-shirts and allsorts)

Hokitika

Highlight of our stay in Hokitika was the Kiwi House – an exhibit where they have a couple of real live kiwis in a nocturnal setting and we watched them rooting around for grubs and digging and sniffing underground with their long beaks – quite fascinating. At the same place they also had giant eels (a couple of meters long and as thick as your thigh!), ordinary eels which we got to feed ourselves, and some tuatara (iguana like lizard things that date back to the dinosaurs and are found only on NZs South Island). Well worth a visit.

Striking out for Arthurs Pass, we stopped off at Londonderry Rock – a huge boulder which the early gold miners managed to dislodge from the mountainside and which apparently made quite a noise when it fell. It was kind of buried a bit in the bush so getting a photo of the whole thing was tricky, but it weighs between 30000 and 40000 tons (big rock!). Here is a pic of Megan lifting up one end of it.

Megan lifts Londonderry Rock by herself - Amazing!!!

The road to Arthurs Pass was a stunning mountain highway with beautiful scenery around every twist and turn. The whole Southern Alps are very unstable, and parts of the road are prone to regular rock falls and landslips. This pic shows a rock shelter, and you can see evidence of the latest landslip above it. Note also the waterfall, er…, shute, roof, umbrella thingy too.

Otira Highway Rock Shelter

A little further on is the Otira Highway Viaduct which they built when they got tired of having to re-route the road every time there was a rockfall. The original highway went up above the slip on the right of the photo, but apparently never stayed in one place for long!

Otira Highway Viaduct

Once at Arthurs Pass we treated ourselves to a motel room and then went in search of the Devils Punchbowl Falls. A 30 minute trek brought us to these spectacular views.

Devils Punchbowl Falls

Devil's Punchbowl Falls (top half)

Devils Punchbowl Falls Closeup

A hearty meal and a well earned beer in the Wobbly Kea restaurant, and that was the end of day 4.

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