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Sunday, October 03, 2010

Driving Up the West Coast of New Zealand - Then a Mining Museum - Now We Are Spending the Night at Hanmer Springs

100 degree hot pools in Hanmer Springs - New Zealand

8 different pools of varying water temperature - note Alps in background

Our suite overlooking Hanmer Springs

The coal mine museum in Westport about Denniston

New Zealand's west coast drive is beautiful - desolate - rocky - cold water

West coast is rocky - gravelly - nice waves - mountains down to sea

We are spending the night in Hanmer Springs in the Alps of New Zealand. Today we drove from Graymouth - up the west coast to Westport. That stretch of highway is considered one of the top 10 ocean drives in the world. In Westport we visited a coal mining museum.

The museum was mainly about a coal mining town called Denniston 2000 feet up in the mountains. The only way to visit this town was via a 4 mile long gravity railroad inclined plane. Coal cars coming down the mountain pulled the empty cars up the mountain. All supplies and people went up and down via the inclined plane that operated 88 years until 1967. The mine closed and the town rotted. It reminded me of the Switchback Railroad and the towns in Panther Valley.

After that - we drove east into the Alps for about 3 hours to Hanmer Springs.

Tomorrow - we will swim in the hot springs - then will drive back to Christchurch where we will catch a plane back to Australia. then the long trip home.
Driving through the Alps - lots of two lane roads - one lane bridges - few cars - lots of sheep

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