Ron LaughlinThe Ultimate New Zealand Travel Guide
Well........here we go back north. The glaciers are as far as we are going this time due to lack of time. Normally we would carry on south to Haast and on to Queenstown and the fiords.....Next time!! First it was a stop at Lake Mapourika just north of Franz Josef to sit by the lake and have a bite to eat. This is why I really believe travelling New Zealand in a camper van is the only way to go. So we sat at a picnic table right on the edge of the clear blue waters and soaked up the serenity around us. You only need such peace once in a great while to sort out your life but here in New Zealand I have found these places are everywhere. (Can you tell I love the place?)
One of the most startling drives in New Zealand coming up. So on north to Kumara Junction and route 73 and the trip across the Arthurs Pass . For a great side road trip turn left at Kumara on the Kumara Inchbonnie Road that will take you to Lake Brunner and the Lake Brunner Scenic Reserve. You will come back out on Route 73 just south of Inchbonnie to continue along to Arthurs Pass.
We wanted to stop and say hello to Bevin who owns and runs one of the top quality parks in the country. You just don't expect such quality way out here in the boondocks but Bevin goes out of his way to make you stay comfortable. The toilet shower areas are impeccable as is the kitchen and living areas. David even noted when he checked the BBQ out Bevin had placed a sprig of rosemary on the grill. Now that's class. So be sure to stop here as we did for the evening. We were running a bit late and I figured we would have to hurry to go across in good light. Anyway that's the excuse I made to stay there.
David headed off ino the bush to try to find the waterfall Bevin had mentioned to him and almost got lost. He also had his first encouter with the resident Weka. He was offering him one of his honey covered nuts and as he leaned down to feed the bird the Weka reached up and grabbed the bag out of his hand scattering the contents all over the ground. I wish I had a photo of David's face at that moment. His beloved cashews were quickly being devoured. All I could do was laugh and the Weka kept picking up his prizes. Needless to say David isn't too fond of the local Weka.
So we enjoyed the early sunset here in the Southern Alps and a good yarn with Bevan and as usual this time of year we were all alone in the park. I may do this again. Everybody is more relaxed and have the time to stop and chat though I do enjoy sharing stories and helping fellow travelers as I move around.
Here is a quick video of route 73 from the West Coast to Jackson's Retreat Holiday Park....Jackson's Retreat video
By the way the park is for sale if you want a real park in the mountains...........top class............
It is 29 kms to Arthurs Pass from the West Coast turnoff and we will be passing through Arthurs Pass National Park and the Southern Alps region. A beautiful area o travel through.
One of the great engineering feats in the world was accomplished creating the Otira Gorge Road. Stop there for photos and visit the local Kea birds who will come out to say hello.
As you get further east you pass through the Craigieburn Forest Park. (85 kms from Arthurs Pass to Springfield).
An excellent place to stop for coffee and a rest at the Springfield Cafe on the Main Road.
The Springfield area has much to offer. When you stop at the Springfield Café be sure to pick up the information on how to get up close and personal traveling deep into the foothills of the Southern Alps charging through the Waimakariri River on a canyon safari via a Waimak Jet Boat. Just ten minutes out of town. The drive there is worth going. An alpine wonderland. The scenery up the river and through the canyon is a rare opportunity to experience the true wilderness of New Zealand.
This one hour tour is more than worth it plus the fun of jet boating thrown in for fun. To really get a complete picture of this area of the Southern Alps you can’t go wrong with a full day adventure that includes the Waimak Jet Boat coupled with a 4x4 Unimog Safari . A stop at a café for lunch then take the world famous Tranz Scenic train ride through the more than spectacular Arthur’s Pass back to Christchurch. This is the ultimate tour for the area for sure but I enjoy driving it in a camper myself. I think you get to see more and you can stop wherever you want.
More photos of the trip
Arthurs Pass Information
Arthurs Pass National Park
Craigieburn Alpine Safaris
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