30 November 2008
From Arthur's Pass via
Darfield and Porters Pass
Todays drive is relatively short so I decided to make time for washing my clothes and the bed linen. After I had breakfast and a wonderful warm shower I filled the washing machine 3 times. In between I had my daily cappucinno's and spent some time outside in the sun and took some photo's of a Kea that came very close to me. During the third wash it was already time for a lunch so I went inside the restaurant of the Arthurs Hotel and bought a nice lunch.
After that and drying my third wash I left Arthur's Pass at about 13:30.
On the road again I drove through native bush till the Bealy Hotel. From that point of the trip there was again the open valleys with their rivers and beautiful views. The bridge over the Waimakariri River near Bealey Spur is impressive but unfortunately it's a bit hazy so there is no clear view of the surrounding mountains. Later on the trip I made a short stop at Lake Pearson and then the road goes up again to the Porters Pass at 945 metre. Immediately after the Porters Pass there is a steep descent heading to the eastcoast. Via Springfield, where the Railroad of the Tranz Alpine Express is joining the road again I drive to Darfield. A short stop for toilet, fuel and some cold water and then back on the road. Now you can feel that the land is almost back at sea level and the mountains are left behind.
When I leave Darfield for the last 50 kilometres to Christchurch I realise that the good weather left me since passing Porters Pass and more and more clouds are making the day grey. I get the feeling that this could get in the way for the balloon flight tomorrow. When I enter Christchurch I have some problems finding the Christchurch Top 10 Holiday Park that I had chosen on the grounds that is was the closest to the place where the balloon flight would take off. After finding, checking in and making the campervan ready for the night I took some time for the internet and then it's time for dinner. This time I take a walk for about 1,5 to 2 kilometres to a Pizza Hut and ate a pizza for very little money. Back in the campervan I went quickly to bed because I have to make a phone call for the balloon flight at 04.00 tomorrow.