Drive from Hokitika to Christchurch (The Great Alpine Highway)

Saturday 24/02

Vlog by Florence: see below


By me:

After a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast, we leave Hokitika around 10:30am.

Today, we are going to drive to Christchurch, on The Great Alpine Highway. This 255 km highly scenic road wends from the West Coast deep into the mountains and over to the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains. The road snakes along near the train tracks of the famous TranzAlpine for most of the way. The TranzAlpine is the most scenic train ride in New Zealand, and one of the most scenic train trips anywhere in the world.

We first drive to Greymouth, where we buy food for our picnic (sandwiches, cheese, ham and tomatoes, as usual). We take the road around Lake Brunner, which is supposed to be more scenic. The weather is rather cloudy. We stop in Moana, near the Lake Brunner, where we prepare our sandwiches (and we each eat our first one).

Ten kilometers before Arthur Pass, we stop at the Otira Viaduct lookout where we see an endangered kea (alpine parrot). A bit further, still before Arthur Pass, we stretch our legs by walking to the Devils Punchbowl Falls (45’ return).

We traverse the mighty Southern Alps, with spectacular views of the chiselled alpine landscape.

The next stop (30’) is at Kura Tawhiti (Castle Hill). These limestone outcrops, with the craggy mountains ranges serving as backdrops, are highly “Instagrammable” (as would Ludivine say) from just about every angle.

The last stop is in Springfield to buy water and an ice cream for the kids.

We arrive around 6:30pm in Christchurch. It was a very nice road.

Our accommodation (for 3 nights) is a bit outside the city centre (3 km).

Nice spacious house (with very large beds), not modern but comfortable, with a good Wi-Fi. It’s good to have so much space!

Isabelle and I go to the nearby Countdown.

Isabelle prepares a nice dinner (fish, quinoa and beans).

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