Part 3

Arthurs Pass and Fox Glacier

I was interested in looking at some fossils here, so just south of Kaikoura we stopped at a spot where there's supposed to be many, along the beach.Here's some of what we found.

The fossils were crumbling off this cliff.Pretty coastline.

Some large boulders on the beach also had tons of embedded fossil shellsI was thinking this might be an old dinosaur bone, in cross section...

A stream going into the ocean ran above the surface for a few feet, then disappeared again.New Zealand has many huge and beautiful hedges to separate fields.

Our first encounter with speargrass. Very sharp, stiff leaves!This is Castle Hill - an awesome set of limestone outcroppings on the way to Arthurs Pass.

I had to climb into this little hole.

Eric managed to climb to the top.This place was so amazing that I had a hard time deciding which pictures to exclude!

This little garden area was enclosed naturally by the rocks.

Steep drops here.

I could have spent days here! Unfortunately it started to rain.

We spent the night at a pull-off at Lake Pearson. Having the doors open makes me feel like I'm outdoors.Since we weren't really able to see the scenery because of the rain, at least we got a rainbow!

At the village of Arthurs Pass, we relaxed in the campervan a while before braving it out to the visitor center in the pouring rain.They built a sturdy overpass over an area just beyond the pass with very frequent flooding.

You can't see it very well because of the reflection of the map in the dashboard, but this is a rain spout that goes over the highway. Lots of water coming down it!We had to stop and wait for road crews to clear away landslides caused by the rain. This happened about 3 times on our way to the west coast.

At the old townsite of Goldsborough (old gold-mining town), we found this weka, or wood hen, at the parking lot. It's a common flightless bird.Lots of clay along the streambanks.

The Tunnel Terrace walk nearby was cool - lots of old tunnels, gold mining waterworks, and gold tailings.

In Hokitika, we stopped to watch glass figurines being made. Lots of souvenier stores selling glass and jade work.Mmmmm, fish and chips for lunch. It actually wasn't too appealing. They give massive portions of greasy chips (thick cut frech fries) and very heavily breaded fish.

We took a rest at the library in Hokitika. Most of the little communities here have libraries.Further south, in Ross, we did some gold panning at the visitor center. It was a blast, and we actually found a good amount of gold!

We also walked around the old waterworks walkway. The waterworks were systems of canals and pipes to bring water to the area where mining was taking place, so that the gold could be panned out of the rest of the dirt. The walkway goes through an old cemetery.

Some old canals.A reconstructed miners cabin. Pretty lonely, dark place to live!

Old pipes and bridge for the water.Dinner at the motorcamp at Fox Glacier.

The next morning dawned much clearer at the very wet motorcamp.Lake Matheson. Apparently you get a really great view of the Fox Glacier from here when it's clear!

At the parking lot for a viewpoint to Fox Glacier, a caravan is having a really hard time getting out. The road actually had a sign saying no caravans, campervans or trucks. We ignored it with our campervan, but it's a lot easier to turn a campervan around.The river leading from the glacier was wild and flooded. I don't think anyone could have survived a fall into it.

This is as close as we got to Fox glacier.On the road out, there's a "warm springs"