Monday, 8 February 2016

Road trip day 2: mid Canterbury to central Otago

We had a leisurely start to the day staying in Ashburton for yummy breakfast at Nosh. If you are ever passing though stop here. Lovely setting, great coffee (supreme) and masses of good food. 

From here we headed inland onto those endless straight Canterbury roads emerging for a 2nd coffee stop in Geraldine. The old timer selling his wooden masterpieces in the street told us they get 18-20 buses a day stopping and the town is now a tourist town. Steve fell in love with John Badcock's art work (no we are not driving back that way to pick up a $4k painting). 

From Geraldine we travelled through the beautiful McKenzie basin. Stunning. Our plan had been to climb Mt John to the observatory but seeing the exotic Forrest was actually pine and the temperature clicking up we elected instead to drive up and walk around the circular walkway. Slightly shocked to find a $5 road user charge - luckily they had eftpos - but Oh My God it's worth every cent. Stunning doesn't describe how fantastic it is to look across the mountain ranges, see the glacial lakes and the basin landscape pitted by ice and age. My phone simply doesn't do justice where Lake Tekapo's colour is concerned. Wow. 

Hot and tired and a tad hungry Steve drove us to Twizel while I tried to snap pics of Aoraki as we drove by. It was 30degrees according to the car outside and a public holiday so quick TripAdvisor search had us sitting in the shade outside Shawty's cafe and bar. Yummy and again massive meal of GF pizza and waffle fries with Hopt soda's. 

Final stretch of the drive took us to Cromwell for the night. Again stunning scenery, Steve commenting we don't come down here enough. We loved the driving experience (rant below) and fantastic roads. 

Cromwell is growing. The wind had picked up so our planned stroll was quite short. Something I have never experienced before was standing in a wicked lake side wind as it whipped throu while the clouds above were stationary. 

Driving wise the roads are superb. No trucks I guess. We were amazed by the number of 4wd's towing caravans or boats back towards ChCh on Waitangi Day (observed) vs not so many camper vans. The traffic was constant in both directions. Lots of cops too. My rant - the Lindus Pass is an awesome road now, all flattened out, great corners, deserves to be driven at speed. The nanny state we live in has the speed limit lowered to 50km! The 4wd behind me and I elected to ignore this once we discovered there were not roadworks just this arbitrary limit. Other frustrations like 70km signs on every bloody corner (discovered 70 means button off slightly, 100 is fine). I guess it's all for tourists. 

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