This morning we started the trek from the west coast towards the north east of the island. From Westport, we drove towards the former gold town of Ross, where we stopped briefly for some photos, after which we headed on the Lewis Pass. Yet another magnificent drive through lush forests, cow-filled plains and snow-capped mountains. There's never a dull moment on the roads in New Zealand as the scenery always seems spectacular - if I had to stop every time I wanted to take a photo of a beautiful landscape, it would take four times as long to get to our destinations!
Our destination this time was the alpine town of Hanmer Springs which is famous for it's skiing and thermal water (rich in natural minerals). We fancied a day in the water - just to relax and unwind and spend time outdoors. We figured, even if it rains we'd still be ok as we'd be wet anyway. We needn't have worried as the afternoon was sunny and gorgeous and we spent 2 hours swimming in the heated pool, being massaged in the aquatherapy jet streams and soaking in the hot sulphur tubs. It was $18 well spent!
I finally connected my New Zealand SIM card and we called Mary and Richard, the lovely couple we'd met in Arrowtown the previous week. They live on a dairy farm in Culverden which isn't too far from Hanmer Springs. Mary said we were welcome to stay with them so we headed over there with barely an hours notice.
It was really great to meet a local couple and a wonderful pleasure to spend the night in their lovely home. Mary made a delicious impromptu dinner and her neighbours Louise and Daryl (also dairy farmers) popped over. I haven't laughed that much for ages! We were chatting until late and a great time was had by all. We were really fortunate to have met Mary and Richard and to have been invited to their home - another one of our highlights in New Zealand!