From Kaikoura, we followed the coast down to Christchurch, and took the SH73 to go over Arthur’s Pass. We had to drive quite a bit that day, but it didn’t really feel long because the scenery was so stunning. Driving through the mountain pass with mountain walls rising on both sides of the road and rivers running through the valleys everywhere is just awe inspiring.
We stopped at Arthur’s Pass village to take the Devil’s Punchbowl walk up to the nearby waterfall with a drop of 131 metres. It was raining most of the time, but we had fun, and the walk was worth it.
It was a fairly short drive from Arthur’s Pass to Jackson’s Retreat – our campsite for the night. On our way there, while admiring yet another beautiful view, we saw the world’s only alpine parrot, the kea – there were a few of them actually, curiously approaching tourists in a parking lot. Mads took a few pictures, but the bird just kept closing in on him, so eventually he came running back to the motorhome.
We had been told that Jackson’s Retreat was a great campsite, and it was just that – the owner was warm and welcoming and the place was spacy and green. Quite a little gem on the way through the mountains.
We arrived to Punakaiki Beach on the day of New Years Eve. We had shopped for the evening in Greymouth, so our plans for the day was just to go see the Pancake Rocks, preferably at high tide. Punakaiki Beach Camp has the beach at one side, and a very swim-friendly river at another side, so we hung out there for a while, before we put our sandals on and walked to the Pancake Rocks. We spent a while at the interesting rock formations, and the huge waves crashing into the rocks was quite a sight.
Aaaand then Ronja just had to get a bite of course.
Expectedly, New Years eve did turn out a bit different than it usually does, but we had a really good dinner, played Bezzerwizzer, had a great dessert, and jumped from our chairs outside at midnight. Then we went to the beach to look at the fire that somebody lit. And thus, we entered the new year 12 hours before we normally would have.