Athurs Pass and Hokitika
*Disclaimer - this post is a couple of weeks old and we are now in Auckland having returned the camper van! Also, some events have been exaggerated for dramatic effect!
Ran some errands (empty old water, fill with new water, stock up on crisps and bread, get petrol, buy sweets) and set off for Arthur's Pass, which is a road that cuts across the country and through the mountains, with impressive views and waterfalls along the way. We squealed with delight as we first glimpsed the snow on the hillsides, and then screamed with terror as we skidded round a corner on black ice nearly into oncoming traffic! Chris slammed the wheel round in the opposite direction and we slid towards the mountain, he quickly turned it again and we managed to straighten up and grip the surface again… we pulled over a little further up and shook and panted for a bit, then got the snow chain box out and looked at them, but it wasn't snowy on the road so we didn't think we should use them, so we decided to carry on slowly, with Chris being extra cautious and driving like an old woman. At the top of the pass was the 'Devils punch bowl' (no idea why it's called that) which is an impressive waterfall that we walked near to, then we carried on down to Hokitika where we found the ultimate free camping spot - a pub car park where they were serving Sunday roasts! And had a pool table, live music and an outside toilet we could use all night. Even yorkshire puddings! Perfect!