Changing Landscape – Arthur Pass, New Zealand Trip #6

March 28, 2011 at 11:59 am | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Remember one milk powder ad some years ago that claimed that the number of milk cows in New Zealand is the same as the population of Singapore? When Itchyfingers were self-driving around the South Island of New Zealand, couldn’t help but start to believe it cos the number of cows (and sheeps) we saw along the way was indeed more than the number of people or cars encountered! Hahah….

A grouchy looking cow staring at us…maybe she was unhappy that she
had to be tagged with a
number for life…

Sheeps seemed to be more camera shy than cows…the moment we stepped
outta the car to take picture they would move away, showing us their
rounded bums…

The vast landscape can be void of trees sometimes…especially at the
eastern side of the Arthur Pass National Park. Arthur’s Pass is the highest
pass over the Southern Alps, marking part of the boundary between the
West Coast and Canterbury regions, 140 km from Christchurch and 95 km
from Greymouth

Can see the snow-capped mountain…

These fire warning signs are commonly seen along the road…Shot it in the
car that’s why it is so blur…hahah…

The landscape turned lusher as we approached the western side towards
Arthur Pass

Saw this sign and decided to stop the car to take a look…

A momument erected for Sir Arthur Dudley Dobson (1841–1934), who led
the first party of Europeans across the pass in 1864

Gosh…the windy road we have driven up along Highway 73…

There were many of these bright red flowers blooming…

So these are called the
Southern Rata (Metrosideros umbellata). These
are threatened by the
Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), an
introduced species from Australia in the 19th century

A closer view…so beautiful

This is where we would be driving towards Greymouth…looks scary…
This is called the Otira Viaduct

The reasons for the Otira Viaduct being built through Arthur’s Pass was because Highway 73 meanders through the Southern Alps of New Zealand and it was the safest way for travellers. The area is subject to rockfall, landslides and winter avalanches, so to build above and out of the way of nature’s rumblings was the most logical.

One of the most ambitious recent engineering projects in New Zealand, it
joins the roads from Arthur’s Pass in Canterbury to Otira on the West Coast,
forming one of three routes over the Southern Alps. Construction on the Otira
Viaduct began in 1997. It is 440m long and curved to fit in with the surroundings.
It was completed in 1999

So no wonder it deserves to be regonised with this award

Not too long later, a ear-piercing scream caught our attention…

Something colourful flew down!

It’s the Kea (Nestor notabilis)! It is one of the few alpine parrots in the world
and one of the ten parrot species endemic to New Zealand

The Kea is a large parrot around 48cm in length…When it is not flying, the
plumage is mostly olive-green

Sharing a piece of dried grass…hahah…Note both are ringed…Kea only
received full protection in 1986

Like many parrots, the Kea are highly intelligent, friendly, playful and curious…

So a sign has to be put up to remind visitors not to feed them and warn them
of the potential destructive acts these cute parrots are capable of!

True enough we saw one Kea landed on a car to the amusement of visitors!

But soon the naughty fella also started to peck and chew on rubber parts…
Kea are known to carry away small items from people as they are so
playful and curious!

The temperature dropped pretty fast for the few minutes we were out there taking photos. We also didn’t wanna have our rented car raided by the naughty mountain parrots. So Itchyfingers continued our journey, heading towards Greymouth…

Also see related posts:
Seal with a Kiss – Kaikoura, New Zealand Trip #5
Freezing Sunset – Kaikoura, New Zealand Trip #4
Alfresco Dining – Kaikoura, New Zealand Trip #3
A Roller Coaster Ride – Kaikoura, New Zealand Trip #2
Mass Exodus – Christchurch, New Zealand Trip #1


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