Nothing is set in concrete though this is probably where I will go. I don’t want to visit cities, I want to be able to watch the waves, watch the birds and, on the easterly route, go to places I haven’t been before.
It was always a given I was going to do the full West Coast, this time my route to get there will be a little different and I will go further north and further south.
The Southern Alps extend much of the length of the South Island and the tallest peak is Aoraki/ Mount Cook, the highest point in New Zealand at 3,724 metres (12,218 ft). The mountains are cut through with glacial valleys and lakes,3,000 glaciers larger than a hectare!
The Southern Alps lie along a geological plate boundary, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, with the Pacific Plate to the southeast pushing westward and colliding with the northward-moving Indo-Australian Plate to the northwest. Over the last 45 million years, the collision has pushed up a 20 km thickness of rocks on the Pacific Plate to form the Alps, although much of this has been eroded away. Uplift has been most rapid during the last 5 million years, and the mountains continue to be raised today by tectonic pressure, causing earthquakes on the Alpine Fault and other nearby faults. Despite the substantial uplift, most of the relative motion along the Alpine Fault is transverse, not vertical.
So you can see that, with a few exceptions, I am going down the west side of the Southern Alps and back up the east side, close to the mountain range. I cross it three times on the Haast Pass, Arthur’s Pass and the Lewis Pass. I also go over Porter’s Pass, the Crown Range and the Lindus Pass plus several more minor passes. My poor 2002 Ducato, with no turbo, will be going slowly in some places!
It will be a great adventure, revisiting some places and I hope to see lots of wildlife. In the April South Island tour it was in late Autumn, this time it will be in late Spring.
I can’t wait . . . . . . . . . . .