We made a short detour off the road as it had been suggested that the best bakery of New Zealand was located at Darfield, something that Jordan just had to investigate. The best? Well, it was good and we also had a good lunch, but it didn't qualify as the best in Jordan's opinion, an avid pastry lover. The search will continue.
We have seen some amazing geography with a real WOW factor throughout our tour of the 2 islands from flatlands to grasslands, from snowcapped mountains to glaciers, from green hillsides to bare faces, along with flowers, boulders, and beaches. We weren't expecting such a variety of landscapes and scenes.
Building-sized boulders scattered on the slope
New Zealand has been experiencing a drought. As we crossed over many bridges, we witnessed large areas of rocks and pebbles in the riverbeds with little to no water. As sad as this is for farmers, it made us very happy to have no precipitation during our motorcycle trip!
Jordan peering down at rocks in low water level of river
We then continued, with more highway traversing as we headed west along spectacular Arthur's Pass which is the highest of the 3 main passes - staying at Reefton, the first town south of the equator to receive electricity in 1888.
On day 8 of our travels (March 1), our last and third pass across the 450 km long stretch of the Southern Alps was scenic Lewis Pass which is higher than Haast Pass but lower than Arthur's. Arriving in Picton well into the afternoon, we managed to procure passage on the 18:15 ferry to Wellington on the North Island. It would put us in after 21:00 so we phoned the motel that we previously stayed in and booked their last room!
Back on the North Island, the next morning we took a route along the west coast for awhile...
Jordan in front of bright, blue, beautiful blossoms
...experiencing again No Vacancy signs everywhere. Finally at a 'last chance motel', we crashed on our ninth day at New Plymouth.