Wednesday, 5th December – Kaikoura to Arthur’s Pass

Left Kaikoura in glorious sunshine. Very sad to leave this stupendous apartment – a few pics for the record:

Reasonably straightforward journey to our next destination, the Wilderness Lodge in the Arthur’s Pass district of the Southern Alps of New Zealand, although punctuated by road works in the early stages. One surmises that this has to do with the earthquake that hit Kaikoura two years ago and road repairs are still ongoing.
Up until now, honesty compels me to admit that we weren’t quite sure what people were raving about so much re New Zealand. Sure, we’d had some great moments, but we were missing the “wow” factor. Well, we found it today.
The scenery was spectacular and stunning once we turned into the mountains. Think a cross between the Lake District, Scotland and the European Alps. Remote and eerie in some places. Unfortunately, once again, it was overcast and occasionally raining heavily, with little scope to stop and take pictures on the way.
The lodge is well and truly off the beaten track in a fantastic setting. We were welcomed with an invitation to sit by the log fire whilst coffee was made for us and an explanation of what this place is about was delivered by Yvonne. Apparently, our tariff includes some complimentary activities, plus some other paid-for options, which we have to consider. Alternatively, we can just do nothing!
We were then shown to our Mountain View room. Lovely. And it has mountain views. Just as well, really.

It’s all rather like being in a large upmarket B&B with dinner option. All very relaxing.

We were addressed by the son of the owners before we all went into dinner, telling us what was on tomorrow and updating us all on what other guests had done today. Then we all went into dinner – one sitting only. All very pleasant, excellent food, lovely setting, great service, but a bit bizarre all the same. Even more bizarre was the request for us to turn the lights off in the lounge when the staff all retired to bed!

Plan for tomorrow is to have breakfast (included – we are on half-board terms here), then go for a short walk in the morning, followed by a kayaking session on a glacial lake in the afternoon. All weather-dependent, of course.

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