New Zealand day 9: Arthur's pass

There was going to be a change in our plan due to weather. A cyclone was about to hit North Island which would bring lot of rain in some areas of south. And a low pressure on Tasman sea was also bringing in some rains. While there was no way to avoid rains, it was possible to have minimal impact from it. Abel Tasman was dropped from our plan and few places in Canterbury were added!! Thanks to, I could cancel couple of days before the journey without penalty.

A mountain in Arthur's pass
Our first visit of the day was to Frans Joseph Glacier. Situated just 25 km from Fox glacier, it looks very similar. Can be considered as a “twin” glacier. We did a quick visit to the view point which gave a nice view of the glacier.

Franz Joseph glacier
We made a brief stop at Hokitika for refueling and to buy some food items. It is one of the biggest town in Westland. 

Franz Joseph glacier
We were now climbing Arthur’s pass. The pass from west coast side was very steep and went though dense forests. The steepest section ended at Otira viaduct, considered as a civil engineering feet. As you can see in the picture, it is built over a section of unstable area prone to avalanche and landslides.

Otira viaduct
We had our late lunch at the view point overlooking the viaduct. It also provided a view of the pass.

Arthur's pass road

After the top of the pass, we reached the small township of Arthur’s pass. There were many impressive trails. We choose Devil Punchfowl waterfalls. It looked great from the road.

Devil punchfowl waterfalls
The path to the falls was long while included a steep climb which almost went to the top of the falls only to bring us down to the base!! But the hike was worth the effort. The waterfall looked stunning at the base!!

Base of the falls
We spent some time at the visitor center to understand the history of the pass. Tanu spent some time drawing!!

Closer view of the falls
While the western section of the pass was very steep, the eastern part was wide open and gradual. It provided some of the stunning views of the mountains.

Arthur's pass on eastern side
There was a snowfall at the higher section of the mountains recently. Not part of my original plan, I was glad that I included Arthur’s pass in the itinerary. It was so beautiful. The eastern section of the pass must not be missed at all. I lost count of the number of stops made to enjoy the scenery.

Arthur's pass
The final stop was Castle hill. The sunlight was fading as I went down to see the place. This place was amazing. Wished we had more time to wander around the area. 

Castle hill
It was fully dark when we reached Christchurch. I chalked out the plans for the next few days.

Road in Arthur's pass

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