During the month of May, my husband and I took quick trip to the South Island of New Zealand. We were there mostly for the climbing, but perhaps a little walking and bird watching as well. What we actually got was a whole lot of rain.

The focus of our trip was to climb at Castlehill among the amazing limestone boulders. At the start of the trip however, the weather did not seem to agree with our climbing plans, which inspired an impromptu trip up to Arthur's Pass National Park. Despite the persistent rain the scenery was absolutely stunning. We treated ourselves to a long walk through the pristine beech forest and enjoyed several close encounters with some of New Zealand's most endearing native birds.

 Robin  Kea

Once the rain cleared, we headed back down to Castlehill and spent a week climbing in what is arguably one of the most scenic crags I have ever visited. Castlehill is set in a valley surrounded by snow capped mountains on all sides, giving you a warm, sheltered spot to climb while you watch the weather ravage the higher peaks. The climbing itself is both strange and wonderful - involving desperate smears, tricky slabs, and awkward mantles that all add up to some really FUN bouldering. If you can picture a playground in which all the equipment is made of limestone, you will come close to imagining Castlehill.

Our trip ended just as we ran out of strength, and, after a brief day in Christchurch, we were back home. While I would have loved to have stayed longer, I know I will definitely be returning to this awesome area of New Zealand.