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Arthur’s Pass

November 20, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Arthurs Pass is the narrow pass that crosses over the Southern Alps. We decided it would make a great place to stop for the night – we did not anticipate what it would throw at us.





drive up - weather closing in

After a pretty steep climb in an old battered van, we crested the saddle, (where we saw the birds) and after a couple of km drove into a town called Arthurs Pass. On the advice of the i-site man on the ferry, we drove up next to the Avalanche Shelter as the mist and rain started to come in. Over the next 12 hours, the little van was battered with incessant heavy squally rain and thunderstorms; eventually it gave up trying and started to leak. By the morning the inside of the van (and most of my clothes) were well and truly sodden, and it was still raining. Looking out of the windows, we could see waterfalls gushing from the forest high above us and the rivers and streams around us bursting their banks. As luck would have it, we were parked on the right side of the bund that formed part of the train track; we were glad we had not parked further down the valley.

5 machines + 30 carriages = 2000 tons


At the information centre across the road, we noticed the severe weather warnings from the previous day – too late! Overnight 180mm of rain had fallen, at times falling at 40mm per hour (with winds gusting to 100km/h). From first hand experience, this is a LOT of rain. Given that the rain had no intention of stopping (although it had abated) we decided to head down the valley though Springfields towards Christchurch.

(PS: we found out on the news later that as we were coming down, Arthurs Pass was shut for flooding and landslides – I guess we got over just in time!)

a bit further down the valley - not so clever

Categories: New Zealand Tags: , ,
  1. katko
    November 30, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Hurrah! – your first honest blog that makes me feel slightly better in that you don’t have the picture perfect family in the picture perfect New Zealand. I was beginning to worry! We thought New Zealand was lovely but long drives involved and the weather was not great for us, in fact I don’t think we had many sunny days. What you are doing is amazing though and when you get back and look through your photos it will seem so surreal that you really did it.

    In terms of our news – Mum is over and sends her love. She is sitting on the sofa reading some crime novel. Chris has just gone to work and I am indulging in my first proper day off since Dylan was born. I took him to nursery this morning, turned the car around and came straight back home. I didn’t get out of bed until 11am – yippeee! In fact I am still in my pyjamas and it is almost 2pm. Unfortunately I have to go back for him in a couple of hours. But still, I am enjoying the time off. Anna is coming over this weekend and we are celebrating an early Xmas on Sunday. The tree is getting delivered on Saturday and we will decorate it in the evening. Have you finalised plans about where you will be for Xmas and New Year yet?

    Love to everyone,

    K and C and D and M

    • December 1, 2011 at 9:11 pm

      Hi Kath, You lazy mother! We have now returned the camper and mood is improving, at the moment I am on the underground going into Sydney, trying to sort out India VISA. You will be pleased to hear that during rush hour the Sydney underground is as cheerless SMS soul destroying as the London one. Still, a coffee by the opera house in the sun when I get off may improve things! Sorry, couldn’t help it. Love to all


      Sent from my iPhone

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