Today, I’m bringing you the final installment of the tramping pictures I took while taking walks with some friends back in January!
I have decided that mountains are my most favorite terrain. Ever. Even if I end up with burning legs after walking nearly 18 km (11 miles) or so in them in a day. They are so gorgeous! So, I apologize for the number of pictures in advance. I couldn’t whittle the number down further.
We left fairly early that morning, bound for the mountains about an hour and a half away. Part of the route we took went past Lake Brunner, so we drove down around to have a look at it. The lake was so beautiful that morning! Though I’ve gone past there many times, it was actually my first time going down to the beach!
Only one brother accompanied us this day. I convinced him to pose by some of my favorite summer flowers—tiny red ones that are scattered all over the West Coast! Then it was on again, up to Arthur’s Pass. We stopped at the information center there before starting our walking for the day, so we could take pictures of the large maps they had and could plan our routes better.
After that, we took off up behind the old information center, and walked the (very short) Millenium Track, to an overlook of the Avalanche Creek Falls. I love the plaque they have on a rock at the viewing platform! What a wonderful verse to put up there, although I wonder how many people catch that it’s actually from the Bible, and talking about the Lord!
The beautiful Avalanche Creek Falls! We climbed up to the base, because why not if you’re there anyway? I found out later that Arthur’s Pass chapel is built in such a way that when you sit in the pews, you get this same view. What a lovely reminder of God’s awesome glory! I don’t think I’d ever get tired watching waterfalls.
On our way back to take the car around to the base of the walk to the Devil’s Punchbowl Falls, our next stop, we were serenaded by this beautiful bellbird’s song!
Then, around mid-morning, we got to the Devil’s Punchbowl Waterfall track! It’s not long, but it’s arguably one of the most taxing short walks around. It’s easy at first, but then you hit the stairs. I counted 389 in all on the track (and that was one-way), and at least 100 of them are straight up in a row.
But it’s worth it—SO worth it!
This waterfall is 131 m/430 ft tall, and while it isn’t the tallest waterfall I’ve ever seen, it’s pretty impressive. We walked up to the base of this waterfall as well (even if it isn’t recommended…we found out later that sometimes large boulders come crashing over these falls! 😮 ). It was cold down in the basin under the falls, with the mist swirling around and the sun not yet there to warm the area up.
After walking up to the Devil’s Punchbowl Falls, we walked out along the Arthur’s Pass Walking Track, hoping we could get close to Bridal Veil Falls, which is the next one along in the mountains. Unfortunately, what we didn’t realize was that you can only see it from a distance, but while we were on that detour, we did get to walk through some beautiful NZ bush!
Then it was on to the Bealey Valley Track, that runs up along the Bealey River. This river is the one that flows from the divide down toward Canterbury from Arthur’s Pass, and eventually joins the Waimakariri River, which is the main river that flows past Christchurch (the largest city on the South Island).
I love this track—probably because of all the different kinds of terrain you walk through as you work your way up to the river itself!
And then the riverbed—a jumble of rocks descending from the peaks. And you could TELL the water came from those places up there where snow still determinedly held on!
Our feet were all hot and sweaty after a morning of walking, so we decided to cool off in the river. Unfortunately, “cool off” equaled sticking your feet in for a few seconds until they started to ache to the bones from the cold, pull them out to warm up, and stick them in again. I managed to lose a sock when I was doing this, and my shoe accidentally fell in the water. I was thankful I was able to rescue my shoe before that flowed away, too! The water was rushing through here pretty quickly!
When we got back from the Bealey Valley Track, we headed back to the Arthur’s Pass village to refill our flagging water supplies and have lunch. We enjoyed lunch under the shade of some huge old trees next to a campsite, then headed for our last walk of the day—the Dobson Nature Walk, and Lake Misery Track. This is another favorite of mine; in the early spring, there are the most beautiful flowers along this walk. Unfortunately, when we went in mid-summer, there weren’t that many, but it was still lovely.
We got to see one lake with a little water in it!
I assume the whole string of little lakes in this area makes up “Lake Misery”. (Correction: Looks like I was right. I found this pictorial walk-through of the track, and I agree—visiting it in early-morning fog in late November/early December would be wonderful! Be sure to click the green arrow button in the lower right-hand corner, so you can see all the pictures. I also really want to try the Otira Valley Track now. . . .)
Unfortunately, most of the lakes were dry while we were there, but we had fun exploring the lakebeds anyway!
And I found an interesting flower on the Dobson Nature Walk on our way back. It reminds me of a daisy, but has very fine petals! It was beautiful, whatever it was.
By early afternoon, we were all fairly tired. We’d covered a lot of walks, and decided we’d had enough for the day. Pretty much everything else that we could have done was 3-6 hr return tracks, and we weren’t up to that!
So, we headed home and stopped at the Otira Hotel on our way back. There are some weird and wonderful things in there (including a stuffed two-headed duckling), but I particularly enjoyed this sign in the women’s bathroom:
In all, the Arthur’s Pass day trip was very enjoyable, and I’d love to go again one day and explore the area more. Or show other people around, who haven’t been there before. Of all the tracks we did that day, the only ones I hadn’t been on were the Punchbowl Falls Track and the Arthur’s Pass Walking Track. All of them are highly recommended, if you’re ever in the area! 🙂
What kinds of scenic spots can you get to from your place without having to drive too far? I know it’s sometimes easy to ignore those, but I think it’s important to know what there is around you, so when you have visitors, you can take them there if they like to do sight-seeing!