Monday 1 - Today I left Christchurch to go to Arthurs Pass, which is west of Christchurch. Its a small alpine village surrounded my mountains. I caught the coast to coast bus service, as it was cheaper than the train and I'll do that journey another time. The scenery on the was was lovely - it was a nice sunny day, and the bus took me up into the mountains, passing some nice lakes and rivers on the way. Arrived in Arthurs Pass around 10.30am. It is such a small place, with practically no amenities - the whole village is along a single road lasting about 200 metres. I'm staying at the YHA which is just across the road from where the bus drops you off which was handy. I'm in a three room (I took the bed as I hate bunks) but luckily I'm the only one in there. As it was such a beautiful day I decided to go walking. Did three walks that were "relatively" easy - but were still all uphill and I was shattered by the end. I did the walk to Devils Punchbowl waterfall, then did the Bridal Falls walk, and lastly the Bealey valley track. I cant say enough how gorgeous the scenery was, and some of the mountains still had snow on them!!! The most challenging of the walks was the Bealey track, which went along the Bealey valley and took you to the foot of Mt Rolleston. For the most part there wasn't really a track - just little orange triangles pinned on trees telling you which way to go. The last bit of the walk was along the river which came down from Mt Rolleston (which is 2272m high). That involved climbing over rocks and across streams. The footing was quite tricky in parts but it was lots of fun. Was was slightly worrying were the "Danger Avalanche" signs that I saw. Some of the avalanche paths crossed the walking path and it was obvious that these were avalanche paths. Even though there was a very low risk of an avalanche it was a little scary walking along the valley, seeing all the avalanche paths right next to me. I walked until I hit snow!!! The snow was the result of avalanches - it falls down the mountain and forms a fake glacier over the stream. The snow that I got to (that was the furthest down the mountain) was quite dirty, indicating it had been there for a while, but not too far away was very fresh and clean snow. I got there about 3pm and I found out later that this snow had been caused by an avalanche that had occurred only a few hours earlier!! While I was standing there I saw a miny avalanche. It looked like a waterfall and made quite a racket and was very freaky. It was only a miny one and didn't come down into the valley, so I was quite safe, but I had had my excitement for the day and decided to turn round and head back to the hostel. Also the weather wasn't as nice as it had been and I had about a two and a half hour walk back to the hostel. The walks were incredible - I haven't done walks like that before. Cant wait till tomorrow because I have more walks planned! It was really cold that night. They give you two duvets for your bed, and I needed both of them!!!