Arthur’s Pass and Abandoned Ski Resorts

The rain didn’t stop me from getting in a few good hikes in Arthur’s Pass.

The Devil’s Punchbowl is a quick walk from the small town. You can see it in the distance as you start the walk, and slowly inch closer until you reach the final viewpoint.

Up the road a few kms is another hike you can do that leads up to a ski resort. The rain pelted me the whole way up. The wind grew stronger and stronger. The path paused at the ski resort, and continued behind up another hill. Part of the hill required you to use a rope to pull yourself up. The path went along the side of a cliff, and eventually led to another abandoned building.

I didn’t see anyone else the entire hike, which made the creepy atmosphere even more disconcerting.

Castle Hill and Cave Walking

I had a quick jaunt up to an observatory in Tekapo.

Afterwards, I made my way to Castle Hill. This spot is known for its great bouldering, though not much was happening the weekday I was there.

There were, however, large boulders spread out.

A few kilometers north of there, there is a half a kilometer long cave you can walk through. You start at the bottom of a stream in waist-high water, and make your way in pitch-black upwards and against the stream. The walk is pretty relaxing, but there are two points you have to shimmy up opposing walls.

I did not heed the recommendation to have your hands free, so I struggled a bit with this part. I had a brief second where I thought I would be trapped underground forever, but then it passed.

Some nice Germans took my picture before I went in, as I was trying to put my hands in my zipped pockets.

Good times.

Mt. Cook

I arrived to the campsite around 1pm and snagged one of the last few spots remaining.

The holiday season is a busy time for beautiful places in New Zealand.

I had two days here, and managed to do most of the hikes in the area.

My favorite of these was up to Mueller Hut. My phone died on the way up, but I did manage to get a few pictures before then.

Some Austrians I met on the way up have promised to send me our summit photo.

Here is the tarn halfway up

There is also a relaxing walk to a lake that offers good views of the mountains.

This is probably the most striking area I have seen in New Zealand.

I’m working my way towards Christchurch with a few more stops planned. I have been pretty unmotivated to write blog posts, as I have been meeting a lot of cool people at the campgrounds, and it is hard to use time writing I could be spending hanging out with new friends.

That said, new posts will still be going up on library days.

Be well!

Chasin’ Waterfalls

I regretted climbing to the top of a waterfall when I saw an older, portly gentlemen try to follow me in treadless sneakers. Luckily, his instincts for self-preservation overpowered his curiosity.

The string of waterfalls made for a nice, relaxing day.

The waterfalls weren’t even the best part of the week. My friend told me about a forest not far from the campsite.

There was no one on the path, and the trail was a narrow, winding route through the forest.

I also booked my flights back to the States! I have about a month to make it to Christchurch and sell my van.

It seems like this trip has been going by so quickly.

The End of the Earth

I made it to the southernmost point of the South island (excluding Stewart Island). Or, at least, some kiwis told me it was the southernmost point.

Looking slightly to my left, I saw a point that appeared to be even further south. Looking at a map, it looks like there are many places further south.

I decided to put my questions aside and enjoy the moment.

I’ve been making my way east towards the Catlins. Along the way, there have been too many “points” and lighthouses to count. I tell myself I won’t be fooled by a brown sign leading me down a winding road, but I always end up seeing what is at the other end.

It usually is worth it.

I found some nice free campsites and played soccer with my new friend Luka for about six hours over the past few nights.

Soccer balls and guitars are great items to have to make new friends.

We practiced some new juggling moves, some useful, some just silly.

I stayed at a place called Monkey Island, but didn’t find any monkeys. The place was still nice.