Lewis & Arthur’s Passes

We have been in Sydney, Australia one week now, but before we put up pictures from this new segment of our travels we still have a few adventures to write about from the end of our time in New Zealand…

After recovering from climbing Mount Tapi, we decided to go for a laid-back road trip through Lewis Pass and Arthur’s Pass.  The weather on the east coast was beautiful as we set off towards the Tasman Sea but it soon started drizzling and eventually poured rain.  Along the Lewis Pass, we stopped at the Mauria traditional Japanese hot pools and enjoyed soaking in the near-empty public baths.  The low clouds in the mountain valley and slight mist gave the hot pools a mystical ambiance and it felt as though we could have been in Japan.

We drove on to Arthur’s Pass the next day after a quick stop in Greymouth to fuel up and buy groceries (déjà vu). The clear skies and beautiful landscapes encouraged us to pull over many times to snap pictures of the snow capped peaks which surrounded us.  We went for a short hike to the Devils Punchbowl Waterfall near Arthur’s Pass Village and headed to the Hawdon Valley for the night.  As we drove along the 8 km gravel road to our campsite for the night, it felt odd to be driving to such a remarkable destination as opposed to tramping to it.

The next day, we stopped by Cave Stream Scenic Reserve and Castle Hill as we completed Arthur’s Pass.  Castle Hill was literally like a “grown-up’s playground” with massive limestone boulders in all shapes and sizes creating a maze on the hill side.  The day ended in Christchurch where we swam around in the blistering heat of the afternoon before picking up Mary (Chris’ Mom) from the airport at 11:45 pm.

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