So, I’ve lived on the West Coast now for 10 years and generally a drive to Christchurch is via Arthur’s Pass, Castle Hill village and the Castle Hill Rocks off in the distance. You can see the rocks from the road – up on the hillside. The car park is just off the road, more often than not always filled with people BUT we’ve never stopped. Nine times out of ten we’re on a mission to or from Christchurch. In a hurry to get there, in a hurry to get back or we have the dogs with us.
Well finally we made the effort and stopped. Actually we didn’t stop, we went there specifically. Now I say first time in 10 years for me but think of Stephen – I won’t tell you how many years he has driven past as that would be giving away his age…… other than to say quite a few more than 10! I tell him he has made so many discoveries since he’s been with me – got to a be a good thing right 🙂
The next error of our judgement is timing. The walk says 10-15 minutes to the base of the rocks and then there are trails in and around the rocks, so we figured oh maybe another 20 minutes to half an hour. Wrong – seems to have been a weekend of it!
We were probably here for over two hours at least. mesmerizing is the first word that comes to mind, awe-inspiring, jaw dropping – you know all those good adjectives.
To start with we pretty much just stopped, sat and took in our surroundings. It was so peaceful – despite the number of people. Not really into exploring places that have too many people but these rock formations are so huge you can easily disappear and have some time out to yourself. Also it seemed most people followed the trail to the right so naturally we went to the left. (look carefully in the photo above and you’ll see two rock climbers off to your left)
The rocks are a popular destination for rock climbers and boulderers and being only an hour or so drive from Christchurch there was a continual stream of people coming to test their skill. This was a great spectacle to watch, there is something about the whole man against nature thing.
Kura Tawhiti Conservation Area has special significance to Ngai Tahu. To help better explain the significance here is a link to the Department of Conservation regarding the same.
Meanwhile back at the rocks. Someone I know quite well was in photography heaven. It really is a photographer’s paradise, there’s a Kodak moment around every corner – or should I say boulder. We lucked out too with some awesome cloud formations just to top it off.
It is a very peaceful place here at the rocks. Some took advantage of that peace and came prepared with a picnic lunch, others were happy to just sit on the rocks and enjoy their surroundings and the views.
For us I’m glad we finally made the effort to stop here. It was definitely worthwhile – a very pleasant surprise on just how interesting and absorbing the area is. Highly recommend it should you be passing sometime…… “Climb every mountain, swim every sea” – I’m getting there, I’m getting there…..
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They enjoying getting out and about exploring the region and beyond so they can offer advice to others on things to see and do in this beautiful land they get to call home.