On our way through Arthur’s Pass towards Fox Glacier, we stumbled upon Castle Hill. A field of large limestone rocks plastered on top of a hill next to a sheep field just off the highway. Despite wanting to keep going, Jordan was like a kid in a candy store shouting “ROCKS!! ROCKS!! Let go explore the ROCKS!!” I caved and was later happy we stopped.
Walking around the maze of sculpture-like limestone, I felt a little bit like I was in Alice in Wonderland. We climbed and explored the hill of rocks – a boulder’s haven with it’s endless ‘problems’ to solve along the way. A number of climbers hiked up with boulder pads on their backs, ready to attempt the next ‘problem’ ahead.
|Jordan trying his best to move some limestone|
This place seemed to really have an impact on Jordan – he even went into this meditative state (ha!)
|Jordan meditating on Castle Hill (this is NOT Photo-shopped)|
Making our way through Arthur’s Pass, the twisty road through the snow-capped mountains (that were unfortunately hidden behind the low lying clouds) wound its way through the peaks and valleys. Death’s Corner offered a beautiful view of the river valley below as the highway cut between the mountains.
A pair of Kea’s – a native alpine parrot to New Zealand – gave us quite the show, although we couldn’t figure out whether they were kissing, fighting or feeding each other in the end.
|“Does this bracelet match my wings?”|
Similar to Roger’s Pass (just outside Golden where my sister Erin lives), avalanches are prevalent in this area in the winter, therefore avalanche covers are present along the highway. One thing I had never seen before though was a waterfall slide, diverting a mountain waterfall over the highway, keeping the water from washing away cars.
|Unique waterfall diversion|
Not able to find a ‘freecamping’ place in town, we decided to stay at the Ivory Towers Hostel in Fox Glacier where we enjoyed the comfort of a warm fire and meeting some interesting people who gave us some great tips on the area (include a hike to a hot pool that we’ll have to come back to later)
Check out Episode 12: Ngarua Caves, Labyrinth Rocks & Castle Hill