What we thought was going to be just a nice place in the woods to stay for the night ended into a hunt for gold and fairies.
After a quick stop in Hokitika to get gas, wash the windows, and get a picture with The Wiggles' car, we were off to Goldsborough - a camp site located on the site of an old gold mining town.
The creek ran behind the area of the campsite at Goldsborough with three different trails that you could walk on.
The first night we followed one over the bridge and into woods from Narnia or Brave. I kept looking to see if the "wisps" would come out to show us the way. It was so green and moist. Unfortunately the photos that we took didn't do it any justice.
The next morning we started out following the stream bed. Two fellow campers passed us on our walk - complete with fossicking (gold panning) equipment. They were heading a little upstream to try their luck. We didn't find any gold so kept going on our walk.
What we did find was a natural source of the most amazing grey-colored clay. If only I could have stayed there for a day (or two or three). It was a mountain that looked at first to be covered by smooth cement - but once you came up to it, it was a mountainside of clay. It was an unreal sight. There were also deposits all along the creek and in the creek bed.
Mix it with water and it was the perfect consistency to shape and sculpt. Mix it with a little more water and it was the perfect face paint; more water and it was the best facial mud mask that I have ever tried!
After splashing off the mud in the crystal clear (but freezing) water from the stream (vey refreshing!) we headed back to the campervan and set off on our drive to Christchurch.
We were officially three hours away from Christchurch - if you drove normally. We parked in our camp site at 6:00pm, only five and half hours after we left our Goldsborough campsite.
So what took so long? Besides the amazing scenery that we passed by, and we only stopped for a quick lunch; what happened was we found the Arthur's Pass National Park Center. We are suckers for National Park offices - and for the Junior Ranger or in this case Kiwi Ranger programs.
We spent a good two hours at the center as the kids completed their booklets. We learned even more about the Kiwi and the rescue programs in Arthur's Pass, about the Kea (really big parrot), more about what you need to do/bring when you go on a hike, and about Arthur's Pass itself. it was great! And all thee kids earned a Kiwi Ranger button.
After Arthur's Pass we hit some huge mountain roads (up and down and snaky curves); but soon came upon the most interesting and beautiful scenery at Castle Hill. The rock formations that were left there look like remains of castles, stone circles and the sculptures from Easter Island. It was a little too rainy for us to stop - but even driving by in the campervan was cool. I'd love to come back here and do some tramping around.
We did have one more stop to make before hitting Christchurch. Something that we had to turn around for: The World Famous Sheffield Pie Shop. And they were worth turning around for! We didn't even leave the parking lot to eat them. It was a most delicious and hot dinner! Plus, no dishes.
Then it was off to Christchurch - just a short visit. We turn in the campervan on Thursday morning and drive in a rental car down to Queenstown to spend the week. I can't believe that this part of our adventure is coming to an end.