Getting from the West Coast over to Canterbury on the east coast requires travelling across the Main Divide. It is an amazing piece of road through absolutely stunning scenery - mountains, ranges, more ranges and more mountains, and deep rocky rivers. Locally the road is known as Arthur's Pass, but actually Arthur's Pass is just one place on the route, and the route follows the valleys in a large S shape. And even then, you reach quite a height on the way through.
The distance as the crow (what is the NZ equivalent of that bird?) flies between Hokitika and Christchurch is 160kms (101 miles) and to drive it's ˜248kms (154 miles). Over 3.5 hours to drive (for me, but quicker for others ...) and a flight time of about 40 minutes in a little plane.
Whenever I drive it, I think of the people who traversed this route on foot, and of the people who surveyed and then built the road. These days it is a doddle - even when I first drove it regularly back in 2016 while working in Hokitika, there were parts of it that I did not enjoy, especially when the road was being worked on and large trucks were still making their way between CHCH and the Coast - they didn't leave much room between them and the cliff edge ...
|As you can see, the climb starts just a few kilometres from the West Coast (just out of Kumara) and it's lots of up and down until Springfield before crossing the Canterbury Plains.|
Anyway, I digress - yet again!
As we travelled, David took photos from the passenger's seat; sometimes he took them as I pulled over for following traffic. I know there is nothing more annoying to car drivers than snail-like motorhomers crawling along in front of them, so I pull over wherever I can.
|This where we stopped for lunch - lots of drivers were pleased I was off the road and letting them make their speedier way over the hill.|
|A rockslide from a few years ago - well away from the road fortunately.|
|An amazing piece of engineering and construction - it may not look it, but that bridge is at a very steep incline. Trucks are generally in an extremely low gear coming up it. Before I took this photo though, I was diverted by the kea ...|
|I am rather partial to palindromes ... |
So then we had a gap in photos - none taken obviously in Oxford of the town or of Dean and Phaedra, dammit!
|I don't know where this is in Christchurch, nor do I know what it is. But it looked vaguely Parisian to me.|
|The River Avon in central Christchurch. Lots of punting takes place here in the summer.|
|The old tram - across the road from the museum, I think.|
|One of Christchurch's buildings still undergoing repair more than 10 years since the major earthquakes.|
|The exhibition in the museum that moved me the most was the Taonga - treasures. |
|The 3 waka huia displayed on the rear wall are beautifully carved and preserved. I cried.|
|Footwear made from flax - a precursor to modern sandals.|
|There was a photographic exhibition - this photo made me think of Irene Jameison from NB Free Spirit. I think she would have loved the exhibition, and would been a worthy entrant given the beauty of her photos.|
|A street coordinated to lift its image. I think there were lots of cafes along here.|
|Sunset at the camp - I was awake!|
The only reason we came back to Waikanae was for Bruce and Gary's 40th anniversary party. They have been married for at least 8 years - shortly after same sex marriages became lawful, but they have been partners for 40 years.
|The piece of ruby coloured glass that we bought in Hokitika as their ruby anniversary gift.|
|There was a whole bunch of us that went out for the usual Saturday breakfast, and I asked these two to come back to ours before heading home, so we could give them their present more privately.|
|At the party there was this wonderful cake.|
|Gary and Bruce - lovely friends, fabulous hosts, amazingly kind and generous people.|
OK, the date of that last photo was 1 March. It is now 31 March - I only have a month to catch up on! I can do this, I am sure ...