Arthur's Pass Photo Gallery
The weather looked surprisingly good as I walked to the car rental shop. Blue skies came out on the rain shadow side of the mountains.
I pulled over to this smelly stop to take photos of the plains with the mountains in the distance.
The weather turned quite cloudy during the ascent up the mountains. The rain shadow effect of these mountains is quite prominent. Hope it won't pour soon.
There was barely any traffic around so being on a 2-lane highway was very safe. Lots of pull-overs were available to safely stop, take a quick break and a few photos.
Arthur's Pass became a national park in 1929 and is a vital link between the east and west coasts. I arrived at the village in a steady rain. This village served as a horse-changing station for past travellers. It was still possible to hike up to see the Devils Punchbowl Falls, although the gentleman at the visitors' centre warned it may not be passable later in the day with all the rain coming down.
The hike was initially very gentle, but became a steady slope quickly, and soon a more rugged trail. The rain made the ground soft and slightly muddy with lots of puddles. I wasn't too well prepared with running shoes, but survived fairly well in the end.
The observation platform would be all the way up to the base of the falls.
The vegetation suggests this area gets lots of moisture. When winds blow from the northwest, they bring moisture from the Tasman Sea and they get dumped onto the western side of the mountains.
Just like the roads, this hiking trail was fairly deserted today.
I was a bit tired by now but happy with my achievement. The waterfalls were roaring although not overly impressive.
On the way back down, I noticed another trail that shoots off my path. Try climbing up to that sign though!
With more rain expected, I decided to skip the other trails and start heading downhill to Greymouth. The rain kept pouring along that stretch of road and soon low clouds/fogged rolled in. I could barely see the scenery as I drove downhill. By the time I got to the coast, things have cleared up a little.
The sun and blue skies even peeked out as I walked out to the Pancake Rocks - quite an interesting geological attraction with spruced up pedestrian paths.
The Pancake Rocks were formed 30 million years ago as water pressure solidified dead organisms on the seabed into hard and soft layers. The limestone was lifted above the seabed and erosion shaped the rest.
It was hard to believe the sun could even appear today after all that rain in the mountains.