Grandma and her boys

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

3rd Post of Tour

Arthur's Pass is the highest pass over the Southern Alps.
Long before surveyor Arthur Dudley Dobson found his way over the pass in 1864, it was known to Maori hunting parties as a route between east and west.
The eastern side of Arthur's Pass National Park is characterised by wide, shingle-filled riverbeds and vast beech forests. The western side of the park, where wet weather is more common than dry, has deeply gorged rivers flowing through dense rain forest. Down the middle of 'the great divide' is an alpine dreamland of snow-covered peaks, glaciers,lakes and scree slopes.

The day I crossed from Hokitika to Christchurch was a most glorious day,.. 236 km and took me approx. 4 hours  this is  the longest pass across the Alps from one side of the South Island to the other,   I must have booked the roads that day for myself as there was almost no one else in sight all the way, so going slow and taking in the views was causing no one any  problems.
I have crossed this pass before but in the other direction, but I felt that this times from West to East was far more scenic,

Road protection

This picture looking back at the shelter protection across the road ....   to protect from rock falls and water that pours off the mountain.

Part of the new road way crossing one of the many river beds ... I would hate to see these river beds in the depth of winter they would be a raging torrent, notice also there is still snow on the mountains although it is mid summer.

One of the many lakes high in the Alps

Another wide river bed, it is difficult to judge just how wide it is ....  may be 1 or 2 kms

The other amazing thing I noticed was how many times the sky changed as you went in and out of the gorges and between the mountains

The trip across the pass was one of the highlights of my tour.


sunny said...

What beautiful scenery! I'm gladthere was no one around to speed you along. I love driving slow and just soaking in all the sights. What a wonderful trip it must have been. So beautiful

Ali Honey said...

That road looks so improved from the one I remember. Back in early January 1967 I was with a teaching friend and a friend of hers. The car was the friends. My friend was driving ( not experienced and should not have been driving )and got into a skid going too fast. We left the road and rolled several times down a hill and came to rest against one of many large rocks. The car was written off. It is the only time I have been in a vehicle accident and still remember it every time I travel on a metal road. None of us was seriously hurt but I was bruised all over.( no seat belts then! )
Back in Christchurch we were staying in an upstairs flat that is no longer there right in the centre of the red zone. A red brick corner building now demolished. So I have quite mixed feelings about that time and place. 4 years ago when in Christchurch I loved the place, so am sad it has been partly destroyed.
The cover across the road looks a good idea - maybe that is what they will need to build in the Manawatu Gorge that is still not reopened from huge slips.

Fiona said...

beautiful pictures....