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The first day of the road trip around New Zealand is over. I couldn’t choose a better place to start this adventure than the Great Alpine Highway. Our goal for that day was the Arthur’s Pass Village – the highest situated village and road in the South Island. Winding as hell, surrounded by bare rocks, hillsides covered with dense forests, it gets you more impressed with every kilometer. By many it’s considered to be the most beautiful car route in the world. That’s true – I’ve never seen such beauty and diversity of nature like here.

Before we hit the road we took with us a hitchhiker from Pennsylvania. She came to NZ without a plan, without any bookings and no idea what to do. We picked her up from the airport about 1 a.m. and went to our hostel in Christchurch. The hostel was fully booked but when Katie told the receptionist that in such a case she would be sleeping in a hammock somewhere in the street, she  allowed Katie to sleep on the couch. The next night she was not so lucky and had to shell out 75$ for a hotel room because once again the hostel was fully booked. In New Zealand during the season it is essential to book accommodation quite in advance! I had a problem with finding a cheap room almost a month before the arrival.

We stocked up on food for two weeks, on hats, scarves and gloves, and set out. The Great Alpine Highway extending over 231 kilometers is full of dangerous turns, steep inclines and incredible views. We hoped that Katie wasn’t particularly in a hurry as we stopped every now and again and as a result  covered the distance from Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass Village not in two but in three and half hours. Traffic was light, the cars passed by every dozen minutes. Thanks to that we were able to shoot such pics:

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Driving a car in such a place sucks. I never was one so I could enjoy the views from the passenger seat and didn’t need to take my hands off the camera. It was different this time around… Magda had left her driver’s license in Australia so there is no one who could stand in for me behind the wheel. However, today the police stopped us and told us that in case of a road check it’s enough to have a photo of the document. Anyway, I’ll let her have the steering wheel only when I’ll be very tired. Driving goes well, I only wish I could admire these views…! Going back to the police… I exceeded the speed by 10 kilometers and got fined 30$. Oops, now I have to be more careful.

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Our hotel in the Arthur’s Pass Village:

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With such views outside the window:

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The further we travel, the more beautiful it gets 🙂

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