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Arthurs Pass

Day 15.

Weather is much better as predicted from the weather apps – now I can see the many surrounding mountains and some of the peaks covered in snow. I go to the tourist information and they explain that the trek Avalanche Peak is closed due to snow – it would require ice axes and crampons, so the gentlemen instead suggest Scotty’s trek. I start with a short walk to the Devil’s Punchbowl Fall – a beautiful waterfall of 131m height and one gets quite close. Next is another trek nearby, the Bridal Veil trek. There is not much to see besides a lookout to a waterfall in the distance, and the trek ends at the main road before I return the same way back. Next is the Scotty’s trek (all three treks are close, so I can stay at the same parking). The Scotty’s trek welcomes you with a short but steep rocky ascent which you need to climb – a good indicator of how the trek is to become. There are so many stones, rocks, boulders, tree roots and then a small brook towards me, so I often need to find the dry stones to make the path. There are no clear stairs, so you need to decide on yourself – often going a bit back and find another staircase. Even with my long legs it’s several places difficult to get one ‘stair’ up. It’s without doubt the most technical trek so-far.  There is a nice view from up there to the surrounding mountains, the canyon with the road and the waterfalls on the opposite mountains. From there the name Bridal Veil makes more sense as one can see waterfalls starting from much higher and continuing down. When I reach the tree boarder there is still 500m altitude left, and I realize I have started to late on this trek to make it back in good weather and light. I find a nice spot to enjoy the view and my lunch. During the trek I have only met 10 people, so it’s not overrun – very likely due to the technical complexity. The trek down takes almost as long in order to find the suited stairs.

I drive to the west coast and Hokitika, which I shortly drive around the city center. It’s a city which was build during the prosperous gold rush days – it looks a bit US western like, and I only see the library which looks a bit old. I have found a camper space on the Rankers app with very good review – 99% satisfied reviews, which is quite extraordinary. I go there, Links-View Holiday Park, which is just south of Hokitika. I’m warmly welcomed by Kenny and quickly get to meet a couple from Netherlands who have been here for 3 days due to issues with their camper van, and they should get another later today.  There was not a similar size camper van available, so they get one with room for 6 persons – it’s huge, especially for 2 persons. There is a very nice room with kitchen and sofas, and we celebrate the new camper with red wine (there is always a good excuse for red wine). There is also a couple from Ireland joining, and the hosts come with newly baked cookies – like small pancakes with butter and jam on top – very delicious. We sit and talk for a couple of hours and forget everything about dinner – not necessary on top of cookies, chips and red wine (this is now second day in a row…). A bit funny – the living room is decorated with the same poster as I had in my dorm and first apartment – a photo from France, taken at the coast where one can see a lighthouse, the shore, and waves hammering in – very energized scenery (forgot to take a photo).

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