March 29, 2011

Wild Wild West

About 10 days ago, we drove 220 km to the West Coast of the South Island in a 2-car convoy. We were joined by Abdullah, my colleague from the College, and his cute little family. The trip turned out to be one of the best we've ever had cos we got to do some exciting stuff in the span of four days.

The thing that prompted this adventure was Ken Ring's earthquake prediction for Christchurch. This man claims to have predicted both New Zealand's major earthquakes and warned Cantabrians that another killer quake would hit Christchurch on March 20. Initially, I wasn't convinced but after seeing how everyone else was reacting, I began to freak out too.

So. On March 19, we fled Christchurch and headed to the West Coast on State Highway 73.  The weather was a bit cloudy at first but as we drove further, leaving Christchurch, things started to look up. As always, the journey along the Canterbury plains was nothing short of spectacular. My favourite sight was the picturesque sheep farms I saw along the plains. There's just something about those sheep that makes me go gaga.

After an hour's drive, we stopped at Lake Coleridge, a nice picnic site overlooking the Southern Alps. We stretched our legs, took some photos and had a quick Sushi lunch. The place also turned out to be a perfect rest stop for the men cos the bushes gave them enough privacy  to answer the call of nature. Those without the extra bits (like me) would need to suck it up for a while.

The next stop was Castle Hill. Our January trip to the hill was quite recent so we weren't that excited to see the limestones or pose in front of the rock formations. Other than our attire, everything else would have looked the same cos the change of season from summer to autumn is not apparent yet. Because of that and the fact that we were lazy, we decided to stay behind while Abdullah and his family went on a hike.

After Castle Hill, we went all the way to Hokitika, the 'Gateway to World Heritage and Glacier Regions'. It is located on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, beside the Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps. The town is full of awesomness cos there are heaps of stuff to see and do. Lakes, heritage park, boat cruises, glow worms, jades and glaciers are some of the attractions this place has to offer. Find out more here.

We spent 3 nights at Hokitika Holiday Park, a cute little place close to the town centre. It's not posh but it's clean and cosy. It was quite late when we arrived so we just spent the rest of the day relaxing and barbequing.

The next morning, we drove to Shantytown, which is 20 minutes away from Hokitika. Shantytown is actually a replica of an old west mining town in the 1860s. It looks quite ancient cos there are lots of old-fashioned buildings and memorabilia. Highlights at the park include riding the steam train, gold panning, and having an old-fashioned portrait taken as a momento of your visit. Alden's favourite was the train ride.

The train journey ended at the old saw mill. From there, we walked down to the gold panning area where we panned for gold. I was eager to do it cos it looked fun and the brochure said a small find is guaranteed for all 'prospectors'. After watching one demo, I was ready to strike gold! I panned and panned and panned but found nothing. After some time, I got bored so I asked hubby to take over. Within minutes, he got his, I mean our flakes of gold! Yay!

So tiny, you can barely see it
After our gold panning success, I took Alva for a stroll while everybody else went to that gold sluice thingy. Don't know what that's about but it has something to do with gold mining. *Yawn* Our last activity was taking photos of the old town buildings. It took us an hour to soak it all up and by the time we were done, everyone was tired. These are some of the pics we took.

Losing all track of time amidst the fun, we forgot all about lunch. We rushed back to the hotel and finally called it a day. A very wonderful day.

*As prophesied by Mr. Ring, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake rattled Christchurch that night. 


gunsirit said...

Wonderful shots and scenery, how I wish that i am there too..ehhe

Isabel said...

Those places you've visited looks so beautiful and fun! No wonder my husband always mentions New Zealand whenever he talks about his dream of going abroad for a vacation.:)

Amanda Christine Wong said...

NZ never cease to amaze me with its beauty. Anyway, due to the recent disaster, I was adviced to skip going there this year :(

Anonymous said...

hmm...NZ has the most breathtaking wonder my aunty migrated to NZ! is it true that u can catch salmon pakat tgn sj? tu salmon lumpat2 kunun...

Abdullah said...

Siok ba kan? Definitely one of the best trips I ever went on! We have to go again sometime..

Mimi said...

I'm so hopping to get there before you get here for good. hehe

Much like Manda, I was advised against going anywhere this year.. so sad.

Lizeewong said...

Thanks Guns hehe..Buli ba tu..Ada suda AA p CC :)

Isabel - Yeah, there're lots of lovely places to visit in the South Island. The only thing I hate is the earthquakes. :(

Manda- Ya moi..Better don't la..If I had the capacity, I'd leave CC for a while. There're too many aftershocks ba. 4000+ since Feb 22.

Erin - memang lots of Salmon moi tp I've never heard/ seen org tangkap pakai tgn hehe. Baru2 hubby went fishing and got 1 :)

Abdullah- SIOK GILA. Yeah..We must go to Nelson/ Dunedin la..

Mimi - I'd advise you not to come too. The aftershocks are still rattling CC. Maybe next year?

chegu carol said...

wahh breath taking scenery yet again! pandai oh si vava look at the camera and pose...very sweet smile some more.

luckily you guys pigi tu trip kan...if not stuck with worries lagi pasal tu earthquake.

Tina said...

Beautiful pics, Lizee. Love the out-house! Your 'travelogue' made me feel like I was there!

JIPP said...

wow. Fairytale punya tpt ni. MCm mo pi beguling guling sna cattle field. :-D

CathJ said...

Beautiful beautiful place.. wow dapat gold lagi... sisa2 pun ok lah bah tu hihihi... you can bring home or not the gold?? ^_^

Lizeewong said...

Kay - Thanks moi. Iya bah..I've become so paranoid after the Feb 22 quake. Really needed the trip!

Thanks Tina ^____^ That's such a compliment :)

Jipp - Hahaha..Ko buli la beguling sama si Alden...Siok tu..

Cath - Iya ba! Betul2 sisa oh..Satu pan $5 tapi yo can bawa balik la..^____^

TheWanderingSumandak said...

OMG! Moi, gorgeous, just gorgeous! I want to visit Kiwiland tooo! Maybe, in the near future.. :)