Over the last few days we've driven from Glenorchy to Hanmer Springs and experienced pretty much every differet facet of South Island. The weather has ranged from glorious sunshine for the drive from Glenorchy to Aoraki/Mount Cook and then up to Wanaka into driving rain and wind on the West Coast at Punakaiki and northwards.
As ever the scenery has been equally varied. Aoraki/Mount Cook was mountain scenery at its grandest - the sunset on the West Face was awesome. Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki, where we met up with Jill and Pete, is geology gone wild. Seen in a howling south-westerly gale and at high tide with the sea crashing against the rocks and surging through the blowholes made for exciting viewing. And further up the coast at Denniston we explored New Zealand's industrial heritage in a wind and rainswept deserted mining town perched 800 metres above the coastal plain.
We've enjoyed bungy jumping. Vicariously that is. Although watching people fling themselves off a high bridge towards a river of clear turquoise water on a bright sunny day looked quite attractive. Until you realised that all that was preventing them from plunging to their death was a glorified rubber band. Much more fun to relax in a hot spring at Maruia Springs. Where better to sit out a rainy day?
And we bumped into Jill and Pete. Planned of course. They were heading south as we drove north so we passed rather like ships in the night. 13,000 miles is a long way to go to meet up with friends who just live around the corner but it was delightful and, somehow, very reassuring!