Thursday, April 30, 2015

Taking Time to Relax and Play

Dennis, Vicki and Larry enjoying the mineral springs.
Love the Aqua Therapy after a long drive!
After a short drive to Hanmer Springs (135 km or 2.5 hours) in the South Island high country just 90 minutes northwest of Christchurch, we were ready to soak in the mineral pools and breathe in clear alpine air. This area did not smell like Rotorua and the pools were not as warm (darn!)

The Adult Pools offered AquaTherapy with various kinds of water jets to pulsate on our achy, breaky parts! They also had sulfur pools for the healing aspect. Other than this, I don’t even recall where we had dinner or where we stayed. I guess I mellowed out in the pools! It was a good overnight stop somewhat out of our way to the next one in Arthur’s Pass, but since Christchurch was not possible it was a great alternative.

Pushing onward, we headed to Arthur’s Pass in the morning. This meant coming down from Hanmer Springs, around a mountain range and heading back up one of the other (three total) ways to cross from the east side of South Island to the west side. It was a nice drive and pretty scenery.

A little creativity moment.
Our accommodations were in The Bealy Lodge, a lovely little quaint place. Kim, who seemed to run the place as well as cook, makes wonderful pies. I am not speaking of pies as we know them. These are main course pies: venison, beef, chicken, lamb, bacon and egg, etc. His pastry was the best I have ever eaten!

The river bed is huge without much water, but we were told
the water is actually rushing below the surface of the rocks.
Dinner was a welcome sight after Dennis, Vicki and I had spent several hours walking along the riverbed, examining stones and exploring the area. We were looking for stones that might contain the New Zealand jade called Nephrite, its geological name.

The true New Zealand is called by its Maori name: Pounamu or Greenstone. I doubt that anything we picked up is of value, but it was fun – just like searching for shells when walking the beach.

The Captain's creative moment. Sweet!
We had a self-catering apartment with one queen bed and three twin beds – all in one room! That was fine as Vicki and Larry each took a twin bed and we put duffle bags on the other one.

All was well until Vicki rolled over in the middle of the night and somehow ended up on the floor with the mattress and bedding with her! I could not tell you anything about it as I slept through it. I only remember her snoring! (Sisterly love.)

The wonderful map in Bealy Lodge gave a panoramic view
of Arthur's Pass and the surrounding mountain ranges.
It was very pleasant to be in the quiet of the mountains with the river flowing below and enjoying the 360 degree vista of Mother Nature. There was the only train track in the area across the river, but we never heard one of the many trains that traverse the gorge daily. This is the track that runs from Christchurch to Greymouth with a stop in Arthur’s Pass. The TranzAlpine Train is a very popular tourist attraction.

After breakfast in the Lodge, it was time to pack up and continue across the mountains to the west side and the Tasman Sea. There are many things waiting for us there.

We enjoyed the quaintness of the lodge. This is the dining
room and bar area. The food was homemade and wonderful.


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