Read on and you’ll soon realise that’s a hilariously terrible joke (if you haven’t already). Today I spent a day touring the area just west of Christchurch, ticking off some of things to do in this incredible country.
One of the many great people I have the pleasure of working with (as previously mentioned) kindly offered to show me a few places on the South Island and I leapt at the opportunity…. I was sooo grateful, so thanks Devon. He’s also pretty sick at taking photo’s (those ones of me doing moody not-looking-at-the-camera-pics are taken by him). You can check his Instagram and follow it here.
Onto the trip, heading west out of Christchurch, the first stop was to be Castle Hill, one of the filming locations for the Lord of the Rings movies and the recent Narnia film (terrible joke originated here) and an area covered in C-R-A-Z-Y boulders.
It was the perfect winters day. Clear skies and glorious sunshine. The views of the southern Alps on the drive were truly spectacular… 3 weeks in, I still can’t get it into my head that the Alps are just the view here. It’s so mind boggling for a Brit.
Accompanying us on the road were a smattering of cars and campervans on the roads. Word of warning – TWO WAY, SINGLE LANE BRIDGES. If you read this, and are visiting New Zealand at all ever, I’d just suggest reading up on them. They make no sense whatsoever, but they do exist and could be utterly dangerous in bad weather.
The shear size of these boulders was crazy. I still have no idea how or why they are there…. probably should have read those boards that explained it. But, they were pretty exciting and made a great stage for a picture, which is what is important here.
We headed on through Arthurs Pass – a notoriously scenic drive – to Otira Viaduct. As we approached the west coast, there was quite a dramatic change in weather. The temperature dropped, the clouds rolled through the valleys bringing with it some drizzle and sleet. HOW I didn’t roll off of that rock and into the massive valley below is beyond me. But it seemed an excellent idea infront of a camera lens. Sorry Mum.
There was a small part of me that was thinking ‘how have I left a heatwave in the UK to end up in a sleet storm?’ Fortunately this was short lived – I saw the rain covers go onto the courts at Wimbledon that night, symbolising the end of the Great British Summer and that thought instantly vanished.
We headed back toward Christchurch, stopping by what appeared to be a dried up river bed with small streams running through it. This was the scene of some magical views I’d secretly been expecting to see here in New Zealand . I hopped into the middle, navigating the water. My feet were freezing and the pebbles felt like pieces of glass. Beyond the initial pain, however, it felt so pure and untouched, and very peaceful.
I came away from today so elated and even more eager to find and see bigger things. It served as a gentle reminder that the daily pressures and headaches we face can often oppress our sense of adventure and free spirit. As humans, we’re creatures of habit. We easily, and often, forget the highs we feel when we accomplish something new and exciting. But feeling that little part of your mind jumping up and down with joy because you’ve done something new feels really really good. It certainly worked for me.