I woke up at 3am to shoot the Milky Way over Lake Kaniere only to find quite thick fog blocking the view. I walked down to the lake anyway and shot some frames, the stars were faintly visible through the fog, but not quite what I was hoping for. Back up the the hill and back to bed for a bit.
The alarm went off again at 7am, looking out the window we could see it was still foggy, so we lay in bed for a bit longer, struggled out of bed at 8 and walked down to the lake. Still a lot of fog around but starting to clear as the sun rose above the hills behind us. Got a few shots then back to the van for breakfast and headed off about 10am.
We drove back down to Hokitika then north on SH6 for a bit, then turned off towards Stafford and parked up at the Tunnel Terrace walk. This walks goes through 2 tunnels used for channeling water during the gold mining days and a loop circuit through regenerating bush, and took about 1/2 hour.
Back in the van and back to SH6, and headed north to Kumara Junction then onto SH73 towards Arthurs Pass. The road up to Arthurs Pass leads up the Taramakau River valley, which was a bit windy (in both the weather sense and the direction sense), then up the Otira River valley and up the climb to the pass itself. Thankfully the traffic was light, as the van struggled a bit up the steeper climbs as we got closer to the pass. We finally reached the top of the pass and stopped for a look over the viaduct and down the valley to Otira. We nearly lost the doors to the van due to the wind whipping through the pass. Back into the safety of the van and then dropped down into the township of Arthurs Pass at about 1pmI don't think Arthurs Pass town will ever win a beauty award, but it has all the facilities you need in an alpine town.
We grabbed some lunch at a cafe and watched the rain start to fall outside, caught up on some internet, then back to the van and drove 50m down the road to the camp for the night ( basic DOC camp with toilets next to the camp site, and sandwiched between the main road and the railway line). We found a spot (no one else there at that stage) and relaxed for a bit and watched the rain.
We went for a walk when the rain eased off over to the information centre then up to a small set of falls just off the main road, "Avalanche Creek" falls. Then we went back to the van at 3pm, grabbed the computer and chargers and headed back to the cafe, and traded a couple of coffee purchases for free power.
Back to the van about 4 and headed south to Klondike corner (major roadworks going on between the village and Waimakariri River bridge to straighten the road). Managed to get a few shots as the clouds rolled around the mountains and the sun set.
Back into the van back to Arthurs Pass and our camp (full now) for dinner and relaxing, and watching the freight trains rumble by. A chilly night with frequent interruptions from the trains passing through.