After breakfast we all piled back in the car and drove down the other side of the Southern Alps. Arthurs Pass is the key pass through the middle of the range, and connects the East coast (where we’ve been) to the West coast. At the sea we turned right, and headed up north, towards the top of the South Island. It was a great drive. Having driven some roads which have been labeled as “the best drive in the world” (chronologically – the road through the Rockies; the Big Sur in California and the Great Ocean Road in Australia), we’re pretty sure that the road between Greymouth and Westport should be included somewhere in the ‘Top 10 Drives’ list. The road is sandwiched between the coast and the mountains, with the coastline alternating between beaches and cliffs, with huge rocks sitting in the sea offshore. And because it was a New Zealand road, it had very little traffic on it. Every now and again we’d pass the most beautiful beach houses (or bachs as they are known here), with views to die for.
At Punakiki we stopped to look at the rock formations, but what really took our interest was the signpost. We’re 16,000km from home – almost 10,000 miles. It reminded us of all the things we’ve left behind for the moment, and led us all to think about the things we miss most from home. We’ve been travelling for 6 months and one day now, and tomorrow is exactly half-way on our year’s trip. When we got back in the car to continue our journey we were all a bit quieter than normal, as we thought about what we’d done so far, and what lay ahead – what will Asia be like?
We finished our driving around 5 o’clock in the afternoon, having driven for 4 hours, and stopped for 3 hours at sights and supermarkets along the way.