Castle Hill

When we woke up in Gollum's cave, the sky was low and the forest misty.
We breakfasted (and I made a big mistake by getting a curry-chicken pie) ...
... and visited the local artist who exhibited quite a few paintings with "vikings".
"Vikings travelling" by John Burns.
When asked whether he had Viking ancestors, he said "No" and added "Vikings are just pre-humans to me". – Well, I thought, my Nordic roots are pre-human then.
We eventually waved goodbye to the queer kitsch in the lodge and stopped at Arthur's Pass for elevenses.
While we waited for our coffees to-go, the usual Kea was on duty outside trying not to miss any opportunity to pilfer shiny or rubbery items from café quests.
Our coffees and muffins were enjoyed a few kms farther along with this magnificent view of the Waimakariri river valley.
After one more hour on the road we reached Kura Tawhiti or Castle Hill, so named because of the imposing array of limestone boulders in the area reminiscent of an old, run-down stone castle. 
These grand limestone rock battlements are rich in Maori history. 
The ancient rocks of this karst landscape are smooth, sculpted, spectacular, and irresistibly photogenic. Somehow they have a "smølfy" touch to them.
A very heartfelt and warm "thank you" to Richard for taking us (once again) to wonderful places in his great homeland. We shall never forget our experiences together.
. . .
We are now in downtown Christchurch. Tomorrow, we will be exploring the town a bit and then fly to Dunedin to get ready for a fortnight in Otago.
Stay tuned !