View South from Nelson in a larger map
The drive south from Nelson just as stunning as the drive north. I drove through the Nelson vineyard and hops country into the West Coast region. It was my intent to see the Pancake Rocks, but I took a wrong turn and missed quite a bit of good sight seeing. Another time...
Driving through Greymouth I turned east and headed toward Arthur's Pass along the Otira Gorge Road, also known as State Highway 73. I stopped several times along the route, including a quick tramp along an abandoned railroad tunnel trail, several snowcapped mountain vistas, and the village of Arthur's Pass.
The Railroad Tunnel Track
Walking Bridge to the railroad tunnel
Magnificent scenery with power cables.
The two pictures above are taken in the Otira Gorge. The tunnel-like structure protects the road from frequent rock slides in that area. The chute-like structure diverts a waterfall over the highway. The vehicle between the two structures in the picture directly above is a double-articulated tanker truck, so one can get a feel for the enormity of the structures.
The Wobbly Kea Cafe & Bar
The Wobbly Kea Cafe & Bar in Arthur's Pass is the former home of Oscar Coberger. Coberger was a German ski and mountaineering instructor who built an alpine tourist business in Arthur's Pass to lure holiday makers from Christchurch. He was also a pioneer in marketing mountaineering and ski gear, creating an early form of REI (US) or Kathmandu (NZ). According to the brochure, he sold Sir Edmund Hilary his first ice-axe.
This leads me to the Kea.
What is a Kea? A kea is an alpine parrot (!) that is referred to as "mischievous and inquisitive." The Kea has an extremely sharp beak and talons. This means that Keas will rip into anything searching for food, including convertible roofs.
I did not know about the kea when I booked a room in Arthur's Pass. Fortunately, the attendant at the hotel was kind enough to let me know and brought me a load of towels to cover the roadster top. I also added a few rocks on top, so Rosie became camouflaged as a mound of snow.
Yummy treat or snow covered tussock?
Kea terror aside, I really enjoyed Arthur's Pass and would go back there again. The next day I ticked on gently back to Dunedin taking in the scenery....
... and the occasional unscheduled road hazard.