Sunday, April 11, 2010

Southern Alps - Last Look

Today is our last full day in New Zealand. We met up with Katie's internet friend, Shona and took a nice drive into the Souther Alps. We drove west on National Highway 73 past Porter's Pass, Castle Hill, up to Arthur's Pass and just a little beyond. Now it is time to do a final pack of our luggage in preparation for the flight(s) home tomorrow.

This particular section of the Southern Alps is different from the other areas we saw during our trip. The formations are not as rocky for the most part. By that I mean there are not big jagged peaks of granit. It is pretty no matter how they are formed.

It has wide valleys and ribboned rivers on the east side.

At Castle Hill there is an outcropping of limestone that has been exposed. It was an interesting area with large rocks, and cliffs. It is a very popular area for rock climbers.

At the village of Arthur's Pass we looked at some of the history of the road across this section of the mountains. For many years the road was very steep and twisty. There also was a time period when the railroad did not go all the way through. In those days they used a carriage drawn by horses to carry passengers across the pass. It looks like a stage coach of the old US west. It could carry up to 14 passengers at a time.

The road was so twisty with tight turns that small semi's could not negotiate the turns without having to back-up in the middle. But the problems was solved with the construction of a long viaduct which has vastly improved the road.

There is even a section where they by passed a stream over the road and have built a roof over an adjacent section for protection from falling rocks.

This will be our next to last blog entry. After we get home, I'll make one more entry to let you all know we made it home OK and try to summarize our trip.

I do hope you all have enjoyed this as much as I have in writing it.

See you next in the US

1 comment:

  1. It would appear that either you missed your flights or you are both exhausted! It would be no wonder ... you have been on quite an adventure! Thanks for letting us share in it ... even if it was a "virtual" trip!