Thursday, 5 May 2016

Westport and those Southern Alps

A few weeks ago I had to go to Westport for a meeting. It's a fairly long drive from Hokitika, but what amazing scenery I went past!

I have been to Westport a couple of times before, once with David, Mum and my aunt Molly when we brought her out to NZ for Mum's 70th birthday, and once with our friend Jo Brownie when she and I drove to Blackball to deliver Melita's cat Spike to her mum's place.

I had forgotten how stunning the drive is along the coast. It is amazing and it is no wonder that this whole coast is such a tourist destination, even though it is pretty remote by the standards of NZ and other small countries.

Anyway, it was a good thing I had left Hokitika with plenty of time to spare on the drive up to Westport - I had to keep stopping and looking and taking photos. It's not a fast drive by any means, and I took it quite slowly so I could drink it all in. And I was clear that I want David to come down so we can travel that route and enjoy it together in a relaxed fashion.

The day wasn't particularly sunny, and the sea-spray is evident.

Just so you know, I did pull over into a layby to take these photos. That is a cyclist coming up the hill - gives an idea of the height of the cliffs alongside the road.
The view inland up Fox River

I remember this bridge from our trip with Mum and Molly back in 1993/4. Had to stop for the sake of reminiscing.
Can't remember where this is but it looked pretty impressive - I did wonder how it all stays in place in heavy rains ...

These flowers are apparently a weed, but they do look lovely along the sides of the road. I had seen them on the way to Westport, but they were on the wrong side of the road for safe photography.

And they are rather beautiful close up.
Then on my flight home a couple of days later, the Alps were starting to get some snow on the tops.
See what I mean? Looking impressive, eh?

Funny how it settles down in the valleys.

That big one is Aoraki Mt Cook, NZ's highest mountain.
Aoraki / Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Its height since 2014 is listed as 3724m, down from 3,764 metres before December 1991, due to a rockslide and subsequent erosion.


How lucky am I to be working in a place where I get to see such amazing sights? I truly understand why so many DOC rangers love working for the organisation - they get the legitimate work-based opportunity to spend time out in the mountains, in the ranges, up the rivers as part of their daily life. I feel fortunate enough to fly over those mountains and visit stunning parts of this beautiful country.

2 comments:

Tom and Jan said...

Awe... you're making me homesick. I did a double crossing of the Southern Alps in 1986. It was summer but there was still snow on the top of each pass. I remember the old local railway engineer telling me the piles on the timber trestle railway bridges were "saw driven" so they would wash away with each major flood thereby retaining job security for the railways bridge repair crews. :-)

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Tom and Jan, My hunch is there was another reason for the type of construction, most likely based on an engineering principle - I will ask around down on the Coast, as I am sure someone will know.
I flew back to CHC (and then WLG) today and the snow has largely gone from the more northern mountains, but is getting thicker on Mt Cook and the ones around it. I have to pinch myself as it is such a dream to be working in such a stunning location - almost makes up for missing out on narrowboating!
Cheers, Marilyn