Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 2: Canterbury Plains via The Tranz Alpine & Franz Josef

We are early risers hence breakfast at 6.45am did not pose a challenge for us than it did for some. We left Cotswold at 7.30am to board The Tranz Alpine from Christchurch to Arthurs Pass which was a delightful train journey. We crossed the Canterbury Plains, following the Waimakariri river, and marvelled at the alpine scenery on a series of spectacular viaducts.

I was in the viewing carriage most of the time, with the wind in my hair, holding tightly to the hand rail, happily snapping photos and trying not to smash my camera as we went through several tunnels - it was a exhilarating experience!

Mum particularly liked the wild lupines that we saw throughout the journey, the scatter of mauve and pink were truly beautiful.

After we disembarked at Arthurs Pass, we stopped at Hokitika where we were suppose to visit a Greenstone Factory, but most of us were hungry so we went off for lunch instead. We had a delicious boysenberry ice cream for dessert - well, it's dairy with fruit so it can't be unhealthy!

We arrived at the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier mid afternoon when we received a call from Grand Pacific advising that a 5.8 magnitude earthquake just hit Christchurch. Thankfully no one was hurt, but news footage showing people running from the airport was not a comforting sight since we were there only 24 hours prior. Not to dampen our holiday spirits, we enjoyed another tasty dinner at our hotel of pumpkin soup, salmon and passion fruit cheesecake (I couldn't eat pavlova two nights in a row!)

There was an option of taking a scenic flight over the Franz Josef Glacier but it was pretty dear so we opted to explore the town to pick up some souvenirs instead.

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