We woke up this morning with no real idea what we wanted to do today. The weather was good so we decided to head West along the Tranzalpine route to Arthur’s Pass. This route crosses the south island between Greymouth and Christchurch, passing through beautiful alpine countryside along the way.
Our first stop was at Castle Hill. Castle Hill is a collection of limestone boulders. It’s located on private land on a sheep station called Castle Hill, in the middle of the Tura Kawhiti Conservation Area. This is the center of the climbing and bouldering scene in new Zealand. Everyone was here with bouldering pads and shoes that they rented on the way. It’s amazing to hike these hills and wander amongst all these boulders. To us, it felt like we were back in ancient ruins somewhere in Peru or Colombia. We had a great time hanging out and eating our lunch here.
But after a while it was time to continue on. The road travels through valleys and crosses rivers before heading into Arthur’s Pass. Arthur’s Pass is nothing special. It’s the halfway point for the trip. But it is located in a beautiful valley just below the saddle of the pass. We camped at the DOC site here, watching the trains go by and dealing with a very mischievious Kea who was determined to dismantle our campstove.
We spent a very peaceful night here, watching the star pop out from behind the clouds as the sun went down.