Monday, June 23, 2014

Maruia Springs to Christchurch: Friday, June 20, 2014

It was after 8:00 before we were awake.  It is just dawn.  We walked to the thermal hot rock mineral pools. It is cold outside but what a beautiful spot!  The longer we sat in the pools the more we saw the sun coming up over the mountains.  We could not see all of the mountains last night due to the mist and fog, but also the darkness.  By this morning there were snow-capped mountain peaks all around us – amazing spot.  Plus last night when we were sitting in the pools in a mist, it was actually snowing at higher altitudes.  The snow covered the peaks as well as at some spots the snow came down into the tree-line level. I was taking so many photos that Cal finally said, “You act like you have never seen snow-capped mountains before here”!! Well it was beautiful. But it was cold when you were out of the pools. By 10:30 we checked out of our room and were on our way to the city of Christchurch. 

Maruia Springs

Walkway to the Hot Springs

Maruia Hot Springs Rock Baths

Rachel in the Hot Spring Rock Bath

Snow Capped Mountains in the Distance

We drove the only road available through the mountains, and it goes over Lewis Pass.  The whole mountain range and Lewis Pass had snow covered mountains.  It was a drive we would not have wanted to miss.  We are so glad that we stayed where we did last night, first to enjoy the mineral springs and second so we did not miss the beautiful views we enjoyed this morning.

Snow Capped Mountains near Lewis Pass

After driving an hour we drove into the village of Hamner Springs for a cup of coffee.  This village also has hot spring and spas, but it was crowded with weekend guests. We were again glad we had stopped at Maruia Springs last night.  

Stone Built Farmstead

Brown Sheep

Vineyards near Christchurch

Beach Near Christchurch

We arrived at our friends in Christchurch at approximate 3:00, after another stop at a beach just north of Christchurch.  It was great to see these friends again. She played such a key role in 1996 when the Friendship Exchange team was visiting/traveling in the South Island.  It was great to catch-up with them – we chatted all evening! We also booked a train trip on Sunday. We are taking a scenic train from Christchurch (located on the east coast of New Zealand) directly west across the mountains to Greymouth which is located in the west coast of New Zealand. We will be crossing the country and returning all in one day!

Tomorrow we will be visiting downtown Christchurch that suffered such devastation from an earth quake in September 2011. They are still very much in the rebuilding mode.                


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