We arrived home a few days ago from a family road trip. Warning: There will be many posts over the next few weeks with pictures from our trip! I took over 400 pictures on my camera, and am borrowing pictures from three or four other cameras! I just spent a couple of hours sorting and organizing pictures, and have only finished the first day. This may take awhile.
Anyway, on with the story! We left here around 3:00 in the afternoon on Monday, the 28th of December. We had decided to only drive an hour and a half the first day, to allow time to pack and get everything wrapped up here. It’s a massive undertaking to get ten people ready for a 12-day trip, and organize care for all the animals, as well. Everyone worked together well, though, and we were ready earlier than I had originally hoped. We traveled in two vans, ours and Simon’s. Elijah had spent a few days taking the back seats out of both vans and building beds in them. That left four seats in our gray van, and six in Simon’s red van. We packed our luggage and food under the beds, and figured out how to fit the entire family into the two vehicles to sleep at night.
Off we go toward the mountains!
The pohutukawa was in bloom in the mountains. This tree is often called the New Zealand Christmas tree. It is beautiful!
The road up the Otira Gorge to Arthur’s Pass is always stunning.
I don’t necessarily like driving up the 16% grade, but the Otira Viaduct is an incredible feat of engineering.
The old road is up there. Can you see why they built the viaduct?
Since we had extra time, we decided to walk up to the Devil’s Punchbowl. We’ve been wanting to do that for several years. Mom, we thought of you when we went up this track!This is the view from the carpark. See the train? It was the TranzAlpine passenger train, just coming out of the tunnel that goes under the pass. The tunnel is 8.5 kilometers long, with a steep grade.
We soon set off on our tramp. Most of the children ended up way ahead of us. Here they were regrouping in a meadow.
This is the view downriver from the bridge.The waterfall comes through the “V” between the mountains.
Here are some of the 401 steps that make the track a little easier!I had not done very much physically for a month, because of a health problem, and the climb up those 401 steps was quite challenging!
The children went past the viewing platform on a track that took them to the base of the falls. I didn’t go there!
Mr. Diligence got this view looking downstream from the base of the falls.
Esther took a video of the falls. It can’t compare to actually being there, but maybe it will help give an idea of what we saw.
I like this one! Elijah is to the left, and Simon is holding Miss Joy. She was not happy up there—she didn’t like the cold, wet spray, and was calling for “Mama, Mama!”
Miss Joy was quite happy to be reunited with her daddy and I.
She wanted to walk down the steps by herself. They let her walk a little, but a 16-month-old is rather slow! Little Miss enjoyed jumping down several steps at once for a short ways.
See Arthur’s Pass Village at the base of the mountain?
Everyone stopped in the little meadow again when they reached it, and waited for us slow ones to arrive. We all rested in the warm sunshine for awhile, and just enjoyed being together.
Little Miss wanted her picture taken as we were walking back to the vans.
We parked for the night in the driveway of some friends who live in the village. They weren’t home, but had kindly allowed us to use their driveway and the needed facilities in the house. This is the view we saw from the van, across their yard, as the sun was getting low.
We cooked hamburgers on a campstove in the driveway. It was getting rather chilly!
After supper, and getting set up for sleeping for the night, some of us played a game of Ricochet Robots on the bed in the gray van.That was a fun, novel experience!
Gayle and Little Miss walked to a small waterfall behind the house. Mom, this is the one we walked to from the visitor’s center several years ago.Then, as it got dark, we settled in to sleep for the night. One or two people slept under the queen bed on the platform in each van, Miss Joy slept on her cot mattress on the floor in ours, and Mr. Sweetie and Mr. Imagination slept on a mattress on a plywood platform set over the front bench seat in the red van. Everyone was comfortable, and everyone slept well that night.
Love the trip pics and amazed that you could all fit and sleep in 2 Van’s!! I’ve bought a Nissan Serena stationwagon set up for camping. The bed is big enough for me, Brunner &, Whinny. Fern likes to pitch her tent. Just back from church camp at Hororata. ??
NZ Filbruns says
That will be easy for you to drive! Well done.
I really wish I could have been with you! And, yes, there are fond memories of hiking in that area. I’m so glad you could make the trip, and the accommodations sound great! (And thinking about that, one more person would have made things a little trickier for the camping part!)
NZ Filbruns says
We wished you could have been with us, too! We would have used tents for sleeping if you had been along; we would have had to have one more seat in the gray van, and no bed in there.