Christchurch and the southern alps

I've just exchanged the rain forest and beaches of  the North Island for the mountains and rivers of South Island.  Christchurch is one of my favourite NZ cities - small enough to feel homely, but big enough to have good shops and facilities, including a wonderful art gallery.
Today we drove out of the city for about an hour towards Arthur's pass into the centre of the snow covered peaks along the Waimakariri river.  I love the rivers here - they are about a mile wide with multiple channels of  turquoise snow melt, running fast and cold.   The mountains were amazing - freshly covered with snow.  Only the night before over a thousand people had been stranded on Mount Hutt because of the blizzard.  No sign of it today - only sunshine and glittering snow fields.


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