Thursday, 6th December – Arthur’s Pass

Comfortable night, and awoke to blue sky and sunshine, but chilly. Nice breakfast, then embarked on the Rainbow Valley Nature walk. This was supposed to take around an hour and a quarter and was assisted by a very comprehensive set of laminated notes. Impressive. In fact, this whole place is dedicated to nature, conservation and the environment in general, but they don’t ram it down your throat. Lots of information, all very well presented in a quiet, relaxed atmosphere.

Beautiful walk in very nice weather, blessedly.

 Wilderness Lodge
 Good example of a braided river, so called because of the many streams. This is the Bruce River and is produced by glacial activity over many thousands of years. New Zealand has a lot of these.
Dragonfly Tarn
Because we stopped quite frequently to enjoy the scenery and to rest because it was slightly more strenuous than we had been led to believe, it took about an hour and a half to complete the walk.
Once refreshed, we met the resident naturalist and all-round enthusiast, the magnificently moustachioed Paddy, who does actually have dual New Zealand and Irish nationality. He was to be the leader on our kayak expedition, so we bundled into a minibus with the kayaks on tow and took the short drive to Lake Pearson. Just the two of us and Paddy.
This was Jean’s first ever experience of kayaking, but under Paddy’s expert guidance, we both took to the water with little or no fuss. Lovely, peaceful experience in and on this pretty lake.
We even stopped for tea and biscuits on the other side of the lake, as you do, Paddy having brought the wherewithal with him. A very nice touch.
It was then that Jean discovered she had lost her phone. No amount of searching uncovered its whereabouts, and we could only conclude that it had slipped from underneath her life-jacket and was now residing at the bottom of the lake. She definitely had the phone when she set off from the shore.
She took it remarkably philosophically. Me, I’d have been going mental! We did have a look for it in the shallows, but no chance. Another claim under the mobile phone insurance awaits.
Despite this, we’d both had a really brilliant time, and Paddy proved to be very good value.
Back to the hotel, where we took advantage of the free washing and drying facilities. These things are important, you know….

Jean went out for a visit to the farm associated with this lodge, where they manage about 3,000 head of sheep in a controlled way. Most of these sheep are Merinos, so produce this very high-quality wool. Lots of stats and opinionated comment from the farmer, apparently. Me, I stayed in, had a glass of wine, viewed the scenery from the lounge and updated the blog. Much more important, of course…

Slightly disappointed in the evening meal. One only has a choice of two starters, two mains, and two desserts. We both went for the mushroom soup to start, which was fine. Turbot was the next choice for us both – one of my favourite fish – but it was a tiny portion, surrounded by LOADS of veg. Would have preferred a larger portion of the fish, to be honest…..  Let’s face it, life is hell. However, the dessert was fine and the Taylors Vintage Port better!

As it takes a while for the night sky to get really dark at these latitudes, we waited until 10.15 p.m. for Michael, who appears to run the show at this place, to take us out in a van for a short trip to view the southern hemisphere night sky. Very interesting to see the likes of Orion turned upside down! Unfortunately, it was bloody freezing and a bit cloudy, so initial enthusiasm was quelled pretty quickly. Back on the van and back to the hotel.

A short trip to Hokitika tomorrow – a bit of a rest stop before a major excursion onto the Franz Josef Glacier on Sunday.

2 responses to “Thursday, 6th December – Arthur’s Pass”

  1. Rest in peace little phone. At least you are lying in a lovely peaceful lake in a beautiful part of the world. Hopefully not all my photos are lost as some should have been backed up. I can still pick up emails on my iPad, but no texts. Am using Chris's spare phone until I decide on a replacement.

  2. Wasn't all that little – it was my old Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge!!!

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