We spent most of the day in the car, covering more than ¾ of our trip south to Mount Cook. We had originally planned to spend today in Abel Tasman Park, drive about 2 hours to a motel and then do the massive drive tomorrow, but we’ve learned that we need to spread the driving out more. It’s still a bit stressful for Peter with the left-hand stuff plus the roads are pretty winding so we don’t often get beyond 80 kph.
It was the first time we went “off plan”, sacrificing tonight’s reservation for something farther along the road.
And a very wise decision. We were on the road for 9 hours, with 8 hours of driving.
We took our time, we both stayed mellow (aka not one single altercation!) and with some mid-day googling and phoning, we were able to find a small B&B for the night.
It was a lovely drive for the last half. Things picked up considerably once we got all the way west to the Tasman Sea, with its gorgeous turquoise waters. The shoreline is stunning with lots of long views of rocks and surf and it is really completely deserted. We saw hardly a single house or person except in a couple of tourist spots. The big attraction is the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki (my pic above but Peter is posting his on Facebook and surprisingly they are much better!)
Then we turned east on the Great Alpine Highway via Arthur’s Pass during “Magic Light” and the mountain scenery was dramatic. This was the first “Rocky Mountain” type range we’ve seen and it was showing itself off nicely for us. Quite breath-taking.
Now settled in a lovely little B&B here at the end of the only road in a town with 3 stores on the main street. We have alpacas at the door and a train cruising by every few hours!