We set out early from Christchurch with three things on the agenda. Eat a pie from the “Famous pie shop” in Sheffield, make our way across the Transalpine Highway towards Greymouth, and visit the boulder fields along the way.
There wasn’t much else to speak of in Sheffield besides the “Famous” pie shop that our friend Joe recommended, if we’d blinked we’d probably have sailed right past it. It found fame thanks to a couple of awards and a mention in the Lonely Planet – I concur, my venison pie was magic. After two years of eating rice and kimchi my craving for a pie is quenched, despite Mrs. Miserable behind the counter (In fairness she probably gets a lot of drooling tourists in there so I can’t really blame her).
From the relative plateau around Christchurch we followed the Transalpine Highway which snakes its way through the southern alps to Greymouth via Arthur’s Pass We’d then drive on to Westport and Cape Foulwind. Our guide book said that Westport is “not a pretty place”, “uninspiring” and “unimaginative” so with that review in mind we decided we could live without seeing the delights of the West Country’s oldest town this time around.
The drive across was spectacular. Vast jagged mountains in the distance suddenly crept up on us until we were surrounded by beautiful sheer cliff-faces and snowy peaks. We wound our way through until the road opened out to another stop that our friend Joe assured us was worth a little shufti – a boulder field at Castle Hill. Giant marbles of rock deposited thousands of years ago by a vast glacier that force me to become a 10 year old boy again. I have to climb them, so I did. I remember hearing someone say that as you near 3o years old a survival instinct kicks in that tells you to stop doing these silly things. Mine kicked in on top of one of these boulders. I shan’t be doing any more climbing until at least the next boulder field we visit.
Click the images to enlarge and look through the gallery – they look better like that!