February 12, 2011

The Road to Narnia

About a month ago, when Carol was still here, we went on a road trip to Castle Hill. We’ve been there last winter but back then, we were so lost that we didn't realised where we were. You do remember that incident right? If you recall, it was hubby's fault cos 1. He agreed with me when I said we didn't need a map (I'm whimsical so he should've known better) and 2.  He asked me for directions, knowing I suck in Geography. FYI, he teaches the subject.

This time around, both of us remembered to use our common sense and bring along a map together with some food supply. There wasn't any sleepovers cos Carol was leaving the next day, so a one day trip was all we could have. Since Arthur's Pass is only 140 km from Christchurch, this suited us perfectly. 

We left home at 9.20 a.m. and headed to the West Coast Road along state highway 73. This is the main route to the Southern Alps, Greymouth, Hotikita and as the name of the road suggests, the West Coast. To everyone's delight, Alden was well-behaved and only committed some minor bullying during the journey.

Our first stop was Lake Lyndon, a beautiful glacial lake overlooking the Southern Alps. It's a really perfect place to stretch your legs and have picnic after a long drive on the road. We've been there last winter so it was interesting to see how it looks in the summer. In winter, the water was frozen and there was a nice view of a snow-capped mountain in front of the lake. This time, the landscape was different. The lake wasn't frozen, the trees had leaves and there were lots and lots of wild flowers at the area. It was pretty, yes, but I prefer the winter appeal.

Lake Lyndon in the summer

With the wild flowers

Carol and hubby preparing lunch

Same spot in the winter

After the quick picnic, we continued our journey to Arthur's Pass. We passed the road to Porter Heights skifield and approached Castle Hill. I don't think anyone can miss Castle Hill. Even from a distance, you can see huge rock formations on the hillside. I was so excited to see the place cos the area was used during the filming of the Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Remember the final battle between Aslan's forces and the army of the White witch? This is where they film the scenes.

For travellers who wish to see the whole area, Narnia tours are available from Canterbury Sightseeing. I don't know how much it cost but I reckon it's costly. Well, you don't need to go on a tour to experience a bit of Narnia. We just followed the track and explored the site on foot. Here's a glimpse of it.

At the parking lot
I think this one looks like a dinosour lying on its tummy

The view from the walking track
The place makes you go wow! because of the weird and wonderful  rock formations. These huge stones have been eroded and shaped over millions of years by wind, rain, snow and ice (source: Castlehill.net). I saw some that looked like dinosours and Carol saw one that looked like Shrek. I was right beside her but I didn't see Shrek at all. This bothered me but I just said ya ya. It was frustrating. The feeling is somewhat similar to not being able to see an image in an optical illusion. Like WHERE THE HECK IS SHREK???!!!!! Oh, never mind.

One thing tricky about taking pictures at the hill is keeping your hair intact while the wind is blowing on your face. It was so hard for me to get a decent photo without looking like a mess. The place is very windy and I had to be careful on the steep slopes so most of my poses were kind of static. But that didn't stop me from taking heaps and heaps of photos. I don't have any knowledge of photography other than this: IF I TAKE A HUNDRED PHOTOS THERE'S BOUND TO BE ONE THAT I LIKE. So these were the ones that I favour out of the hundreds I've got.

I borrowed Carol's scarf

This one looks like a skull

Trying to look relaxed while the grass blades pricked my skin
Carol in front of a huge rock formation

Alva having a nap

Alden fitting himself nicely in a big rock

Alden getting tired of walking
On the hillside next to the huge limestones

I tried one of the techniques Chegu taught me but I guess you need a DSLR to pull this off

On the lower ground

Yeah. It's really an awesome awesome place and we're definitely coming back in the winter.

So, for those of you who are planning to visit Christchurch, and I'm looking right at you Lois Wong, Caroline Lee, Octavia, Amanda, Jipp and Mimi, be sure to visit Castle Hill. Oh! One tip for the ladies: bring along a can of hair spray. You'll thank me later :)


gunsirit said...

wow, how I wish to go there one day and then settle in..hehe

LaViaP said...

OK I remember now, the last few photo is the Narnians Camp site. Yes?

Lizeewong said...

Guns- Yeah? You like the countryside huh? I like it too but it's a bit boring ;P

Paival- Yup! yup! yup! I didn't any research about Narnia before the trip so when we got there main rambang2 saja cari tu spot :)

CathJ said...

Wowww Liz.... This is beautiful!!! N.zealand right??? Oh I can't wait.. ^_^

and your attempt on the flower shot.. it is nice.. you can make the pic brighter, sharp, blurred using free editor Picasa.com... for sure looks like just using DSLR... ^_^

Café_Juensen said...

~ Teacher, how are you?^^ Wish you in healthy always and stay pretty :?
~Teacher!! Is that the real view where Narnia went on their shooting?? The view is really calm and cool.I wish Ican visit on day there haha XD
~ Alden is growing ;D
~ I wish teacher Gong xi fa chai :)

Tina said...

Hi Lizee!
The photos are good and the one of the daisies(?) is pretty. Your description of the place and your enthusiasm make one want to go there just to see Narnia!

Hope your-must-write story is OK! Cheers!

Amanda Christine Wong said...

definitely definitely wanna go there! hairspray? check!

Lizeewong said...

Cath- Yup moi...Dtg la one day, when baby suda few months kan ^___^

Hehe to flower shot I just hentam2..will try that Picasa editor nt. Thanks!

Susan- We're all fine thanks! HOw are you? When will you graduate?? Now that AA's flying to CC, it's not impossible for you to visit NZ my dear :)

Hi Tina! Thanks for the cheer..I'm still working on the story for Yoda. Struggling la, but I just do it hehe...

Ah, the flower shot isn't as easy as I thought oh. Hehe

Amanda- Hehehe..I knew you'd be tempted..The hair mcm sampalau ba when you get there, so windy..Hairspray can be really handy XD

debrajill said...

HappY valentine's day to you all kak!! waa the view punya cantik ba kan! arghhh! guess i can only visit there someday in the future sob sob~ yeah~ everyone here fine~ hehe..ya la hopefully it turn out to be what it said it will be be la..hehehe

chegu carol said...

Liz, sia taruh NZ in my next 5 travel destinations sudah ni. So beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeautiful!

And oh, the photo of the flower not bad lah. Your composition of the flower pun ngam2 sdh. If you rajin edit kasi brighter sikit tu gambar, nah tambah lagi santik bah tu. You do realize that 99% of my photos are edited kan? :P

Café_Juensen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Café_Juensen said...

~ That's good to hear Teacher^^
~ I'll graduate this year Teacher^^
~ Yeah, I keep on eye the AA's price tables to NZ :D
~ Teacher, how long you will be in NZ?

Lizeewong said...

Geez..So sorry lambat reply these comments. I thought I did.

Debs, Happy Belated V day to you too. Buli ba u come here with Fredo when the kids suda besar2 sikit kan?

Carol! Ya, you must visit this place one day. I can't imagine how beautiful your pics will be..dua2 lagi kamu pandai ambi gambar tu!! Really wish I could have your skills!

Suzan- Hi dear! The best time to visit is Spring time cos you get to see the cherry blossoms! I absolutely love Spring :)

TheWanderingSumandak said...

Again, just spectacular! Now, my i'm beyond captivated!