Saturday, December 31, 2016

Kaikoura to South Beach

I was pleased to sleep through the night in my tent in Kaikoura without noticing any quakes. Worst problem was packing up my tent in the morning rain! My plan was to take the inland route to Wairau, then the inland tourist Canterbury route from Amberley to get on the Arthur's Pass road to Greymouth. Quite a long day, but I had things to do around Greymouth that needed fine weather, and there was wet weather forecast...

On a second road, the inland road to Wairau, I was to find that the road workers had done  more miracles to get the road re-opened. There were a couple of patches where they have re-routed the road downhill towards a river, with a new crossing. Once this was to avoid a hugely unstable Hill, and the other time was to reach a bailey bridge that was replacing a very munted bridge. There were areas of huge landslips along parts of the route, and in one place it seemed remarkable there was even a hillside left to carry a road. 


Despite the tricky bits, I reached Wairau safely before too long, and had a wonderful bacon and eggs breakfast at the cafe there. 
The historic hotel in Waiau didn't fare too well- and neither did one in Kaikoura- but someone had put festive decorations on the fence, a la Christchurch. 

The weather fined up as I headed into Arthur's Pass and I had many wonderful views.


The photo above is of the Waimakariri River's birthplace in Arthur's Pass. The scale of the rivers and the rock-filled hills tells all kinds of stories to a wondering mind about the glaciers that once filled the area.

Here is the engineering marvel that is the Otira Viaduct- made to allow passage in this hugely unstable alpine environment.
And of course there are curious keas in the neighbourhood. 

Late in the afternoon I reached South Beach near Greymouth, and I am staying in the camping ground here. South Beach is where one lot of my great-grandparents lived, starting off here on the beach goldfields. I got to watch the sunset on a calm night. 

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