Shakespeare Bay in #Picton can receive the world’s largest cruise ships e.g. Ovation of the Seas, seen here docked alongside timber for export (📷1). The other side of Kaipupu Point, Picton Harbour is the South Island terminal for inter-island passenger & freight ferries (📷2). Picton recedes as we head into Cook Strait via Marlborough Sounds (📷3); hello again #Wellington (📷4). We’ve swapped the van for a 🚗!
Everything that has a beginning has an ending—and so it was with our road trip around South Island. Our circuitous route towards a Cook Strait crossing took in parts of North #Canterbury, #WestCoast, #Tasman, #Nelson and #Marlborough.
(4/4) 🎂 ONE YEAR on Mastodon & of full-time CREW missions in our vanship/ bachmobile/ waka whenua, “Curiosity”
❤️ #Wellbeing: The state of being comfortable, healthy or happy; Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened—after Jacobowski
Our well-being can be enhanced by simple things, such as watching the coming & going of the sun e.g. https://curiositydrive.org/2023/01/27/doubtless-bay-and-more-beaches/
(3/4) 🎂 ONE YEAR on Mastodon & of full-time CREW missions in our vanship/ bachmobile/ waka whenua, “Curiosity”
🧭 #Exploring: Travel through an unfamiliar area in order to learn about it; The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who have never looked at the world—Humboldt
We found the journey isn’t over, even when the road ends e.g. https://curiositydrive.org/2023/05/05/public-road-ends/
Rented sea kayak from Mārahau into Abel Tasman National Park—a South Island highlight. Prev enjoyed quiet winter walks on the famous track; it’s popular to paddle in & hike out. Into the lagoon at Apple Tree Bay (📷1) before crossing Astrolabe Roadstead to nth of Adele Is to see seals (📷2). A Lady in the Rock at sth end (📷3) B4 rtn via Fisherman Is (📷4). A 13km/ 3.5h loop.
(2/4) 🎂 ONE YEAR on Mastodon & of full-time CREW missions in our vanship/ bachmobile/ waka whenua, “Curiosity”
🌲 #Rewilding: Restoring an area of land to its natural uncultivated state; We’re replacing the wild with the tame… headed for disaster—Attenborough
We’ve visited a number of ecosanctuaries aiming to restore #native species & habitats e.g. https://curiositydrive.org/2023/09/29/northern-dunedin/
(1/4) 🎂 ONE YEAR on Mastodon & of full-time CREW missions in our vanship/ bachmobile/ waka whenua, “Curiosity”
🤔 #Curiosity: A strong desire to know or learn something; A delicate little plant that, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom—Einstein
We learned of the incredible diversity among NZ #fungi & other #native “smalls” e.g. https://curiositydrive.org/2023/03/26/waterways-of-northern-westland/
#Nelson Market offers street foods, produce & displays of artistic flare, such as the steampunk-inspired creations from the workshop of an “Old Coot” (📷1) & upcycled metal sculptures that Bruce has been forging for 12 years (📷2). In #Māpua, Russel bends spoons into a stunning kōtare form (📷3) & the “Nut Job” ice cream donut at Hamish’s is a work of art in its own way (📷4).
Barewood Garden (6⭐️) located in #Marlborough’s Awatere Valley is open by private appt./ $20pp. 50 yrs in the making, planting surrounds a 120 yr old cob cottage (📷1) & adjacent 100 yr old wooden homestead (📷2)—where Joe has lived & farmed all his life. The garden is Carolyn’s passion, sheltered from wind by a screen of mature trees (📷3), with a pond (📷4). 🌸 #BloomScrolling
A fiery dawn from pitch at Wards Beach (📷1)—the gentle sound of breaking surf soon thereafter shattered by the reverberating thrum of track-forming bulldozers (📷2). They had been fired up to launch crayfishing boats that had just arrived in the bay by truck (📷3). They do say “An early bird catches the fish”, don’t they (📷4)?
Ward Beach on the eastern #Marlborough coast hosts one of our favourite NZMCA park-over properties; there’s no ⛺️ camping in the adjacent reserve (📷1). The sway of NZ bull kelp/ Durvillaea antarctica with the sea swell is mesmerising (📷2). Spring beach & shore decorations include yellow-horned poppies/ Glaucium flavum (📷3) & naturalised bunnytail grass/ Lagurus ovatus (📷4).
The titan’s nest contained 6+ 🥚 eggs, seen from the safety of a holed limestone wall (📷1). Once it was safe, closer inspection confirmed they were genuine (📷2). A few had bonded with the underlying rock as protection from the tides (📷3). A 🦖 hatchling left nothing but this man’s shoe (📷4)!
Ward Beach boulders are dolomite concretions uplifted in 2016, formed >65M yrs ago.
The vineyards of Wairau Valley seemed endless (📷1) although most of the big-label cellar doors/ wine & dine options are located between Renwick & Blenheim. Returned to Rock Ferry, a small boutique-like estate offering good food (📷2). Burnt some of it off on Wairau Lagoons Walk, where royal spoonbills roosted, pied stilts waded (📷3), & beaded samphire likes wet ground (📷4).
The Wairau River flows along the line of the Alpine Fault; seen here at Kowhai Point (📷1). On the banks is the endemic NZ myrtle/ rōhutu/ Lophomyrtus obcordata, recognisable by its ♥️ heart-shaped leaves (📷2). We didn’t spot the endangered sedge Carex inopinata said to shelter here, but Digitalis purpurea was conspicuous (📷3). Wairau Valley is known for its vineyards (📷4).
Transited through Tasman District, with an overnight stop in Murchison. On towards Marlborough via SH63 alongside Buller River (📷1) to St Arnaud. Morning tea stop in Kerr Bay, Nelson Lakes National Park (📷2). The endemic NZ longfin eels/ tuna/ Anguilla dieffenbachii plentiful beneath the protection of the jetty (📷3). Would be ideal weather to hike to Parachute Rocks (📷4).
St James Walkway “smalls” (2/2). The truffle-like violet pouch #fungus, Cortinarius porphyroideus (📷1). A close-up of the headdress of an inquisitive endemic South Island robin/ Petroica australis (📷2). The #native NZ everlasting #flower or “Hell’s bells”/ Anaphalioides bellidioides (📷3) & snowdrop wood-sorrel/ Oxalis magellanica (📷4).
St James Walkway “smalls” (1/2). So small & nearly overlooked, the #native carnivorous rosy sundew/ Drosera spatulata (📷1). Native #lichen Sphaerophorus stereocauloides, likely dislodged from the beech canopy (📷2) & Pseudocyphellaria homoeophylla, with cup-like fruiting bodies (📷3). The white-flowering shore hebe/ Veronica elliptica is also native to NZ. #BloomScrolling
Is the 4–5 day/ 67km St James Walkway from Lewis Pass too ambitious? Try a 6h/ 17km out & back trek thru Cannibal Gorge | Kopi-o-kai-tangata (named for 🦴 remains indicating a Māori tribe feasted on another). The beech-clad path into the Spenser Mts (📷1). There are several bridges (📷2) & creeks—some with waterfalls (📷3) to cross. Cannibal Gorge Hut sits in a clearing (📷4).
The Waiau Uwha River alongside Lewis Pass Rd/ SH7 (📷1), before we edged out of North Canterbury to re-enter the West Coast. Near the pass summit, the Alpine Nature Loop Track is one of our fav short walks—in any weather (📷2). Gloioxanthomyces chromolimoneus grew in ☀️ trackside (📷3). A slightly sulphuric dip at up to 42°C in the geothermal pools at Maruia Hot Springs (📷4).
Another look at geology in sth end of Gore Bay. GeoTrips say the cliffs expose marine sediments of the Moturau Group (limestone, mudstone rich in calcium carbonate & greensand—from the Oligocene) & on top, Greta Formation conglomerates, laid down more recently in shallow oceans (📷1). Chunks have broken from the unstable cliffs & eroded to look like crocodile hide (📷2–4).
Returned to Gore Bay near Cheviot; the small campsite was full for #Canterbury Anniv. 3-day weekend. Wild sweet peas add a splash of colour to the foreshore (📷1). Good to see the driftwood tepees are being maintained (📷2). The collection of rocks tied to a fence—some with messages, seems to have grown (📷3). A good long beach for catching sunrise/ early morning walks (📷4).
From tree lupins in the sand at The Pines Beach nr. Kaiapoi (📷1), turned inland to the foothills of the Southern Alps in North #Canterbury. Breakfasted on venison & whisky relish pie (📷2) at Sheffield Pie Shop (in Oxford #NotTheUK); top quality! Ashley Gorge on Inland Scenic Route (📷3); Waterfall Track has views over plains, Banks Peninsula, Summerhill & Pegasus Bay (📷4).
We circled back to #Christchurch via southern Canterbury, timing our travel to catch the early blooming of lupins in the Mackenzie Basin. You might even say we were “lupin north”! Before continuing with the northward journey there were several mop-up points of interest to visit (and revisit) in Christchurch City and on Banks Peninsula.
Birdlings Flat lies at the base of the 25km Kaitorete Spit; people fossick for gemstones on the long beach (📷1). Spent our 1st-ever night parked in lay-by (designated for self-contained vans) on a city street, in New Brighton, #Christchurch (📷2). Yellow lupins adorn the adjacent dunes (📷3). A soak at He Puna Taimoana; hot pools use heat pump tech to warm salt water (📷4).
Ōnawe Pā loop track is a 6km/ 1.5h rtn stroll if you 🅿️ at The Duvauchelle Hotel—wise in a large camper. The pā was besieged in 1832 during NZ Musket Wars, when Ngāti Toa & Ngāti Awa massacred the defending Ngāi Tahu iwi/ tribe. Surrounded by sea at high tide, land access was via an isthmus (📷1) of mudstone (📷2). French Farm Bay from summit (📷3) & view back to isthmus (📷4).
From a delightful park-over property (POP) at a farm on Le Bons Bay Rd (📷1), it was a short drive to Ōtepatotu Scenic Reserve off Summit Rd. The 2km/ 40min Ōtepatotu Track loops via the Lavericks peak at 755m, affording views over Akaroa township (📷2), Okains Bay (📷3) & to the Ōnawe peninsula protruding deep into Akaroa Harbour, anchored by a wafer-thin isthmus (📷4).
Le Bons Bay (📷1) on Banks Peninsula was home to French settlers; the name may be that of a sailor who made landfall here to confirm it wasn’t Akaroa Harbour! A fur seal was resting on the sand (📷2); yellow-eyed penguin visit too. The surrounding rugged hills are volcanic (📷3). The estuary is a protected nesting site (📷4) for variable oystercatchers/ Haematopus unicolor.
Akaroa on Banks Peninsula was much more popular than during our autumn visit: the freedom camping area was full, so we had to look elsewhere for overnight parking. Noted during a wander: the Coronation Library c.1875, housing reference books as well as 2nd hand sales (📷1); 1 of many lovely heritage homesteads (📷2); 1 of many old cars on NZ roads (📷3); a whaling past (📷4).
Flowers seen during a walk in Orton Bradley Park on Banks Peninsula included digitalis in many colours, purple thistles, Scotch broom/ Cytisus scoparius with flecks of dark orange (📷1); endemic mikoikoi/ Libertia ixioides from the iris family (📷2); vetch/ Vicia sativa (📷3); & miner’s lettice/ Claytonia perfoliata, with flower inside the leaf (📷4).
Enjoyed a 9km/ 3.5h loop walk around perimeter of Orton Bradley Park (via interlinked Tablelands, Waterfall Gully, Magnificent, & Hunters Gully trails). Views from this working farm to Otamahua/ Quail Island (📷1); across the valley towards Mt Herbert at 919m (📷2); of waterfalls dropping from basalt cliffs (📷3); & of Mt Bradley at 855m (📷4). Busy on #Canterbury Anniv. Day!
You’d be hard pressed to find a NZ campsite with on-site gardens & trails as extensive as those at Orton Bradley Park, on Banks Peninsula. The Rhododendron Dell comprises the collections of the #Canterbury Rhododendron Society, beginning with 220 plantings the were enhanced from 1985–2016 (📷1–3). There’s an attractive café too (📷4)—should your car lack a fitted kitchen!
Visited Six Extinctions exhibit at pop-up #Canterbury Museum (📷1). Mass extinction = 75+ % of species lost over short time (~2M yrs). Occurred during:
1. Ordovician 86% e.g. Endoceras (📷2👈)
2. Devonian 75% e.g. Dunkleosteus (📷2👉)
3. Permian 96%
4. Triassic 80%
5. Cretaceous 76% e.g. 🦖 T-rex (📷3)
6. Anthropocene ?% Clear correlations btw 👨👩👧👦 & loss of biodiversity (📷4).
🎂 Marking 12 months on the road in our 🚐 vanship/ bachmobile “Curiosity” today.
Thank you for the adventures so far! 🙏
She’s come pretty close to being the 🇩🇪 eierlegende Wollmilchsau/ 🇬🇧 egg-laying wool & milk producing sow we sought out 😀
🚴♂️ Cycled a mix of Te Araroa, Alps 2 Ocean & local cycle trails around Lake Tekapo; see www.tekapotrails.nz. Willow Bay (📷1). 🌲 Pine cones on Takapō Regional Park trails were hard to ride over! Tekapo River & Control Structure/ SH8 bridge (📷2), seen from Cowans Hill Trail. Further up the hill are many tarns (📷3) & good views over the Mackenzie Basin & adjacent ranges (📷4).
Lake Alexandrina is filled with rainbow trout; those in baches or caravans take to small rowboats to fish for them (📷1&2). The lake is a nesting site for Australasian crested grebes/ kāmana/ Podiceps cristatus (📷3&4). Good divers but poor walkers, they spend their lives on water, build floating nests, carry chicks on their backs & are known for elaborate mating displays.
You can drive up to the observatory on 1,031m Mt John (📷1), or climb up via the Tekapo–Mt John Walkway. Alternatively, follow the walkway alongside the lakeshore for a flat return stroll. You’ll still get good views of Two Thumb Range opposite, seen here after overnight snow (📷2) & to Motuariki Island (📷3). Glimpses of Lake Tekapo’s northern end from Godley Peaks Rd (📷4).
With the focus on #spring #BloomScrolling, should we mention there’s a lake at Lake Tekapo? If you missed our previous visits, it’s known for the turquoise colour of its waters—due to suspended glacial silt. The 💦 level was lower than we’d seen it before (📷1&2). Tourists also flock to the rather dull lakeside church (📷3&4). But as they say: “Location, location, location!”
Lake Tekapo lupins: duotones in focus. Lupin genetics must be interesting, as some plants could not decide which slice of the 🌈 rainbow to pick. A number have evidently decided to boycott choice & go with two colours at once (📷1–3). Even the endemic NZ magpie moth/ Nyctemera annulata (📷4) came to inspect them—dressed in a duotone outfit, no less!
Lake Tekapo lupins in multicoloured splendour. They are more advanced now (📷1–3) than they were in Lindis Pass, but intel suggests the back half of Nov (thru early Jan) would provide a real feast for the eyes. Californian poppies, aggrieved by all the attention on lupins, are getting in on the act too (📷4)!
We crossed the Lindis Pass (📷1) into #Canterbury ahead of prime lupin time. Ōhau B Canal is a popular NZMCA park-over (📷2); water from the power station flows downstream thru Ōhau C into Lake Benmore. Despondent fisher-campers can buy from the salmon farm opposite (📷3). SH8 crosses the dammed Ōhau River bed; Lake Ruataniwha is only artificial lake in Mackenzie Basin (📷4).
Lindis Pass Hotel (📷1) in Nine Mile Historic Reserve is below 1226m Lindis Peak (📷2); summit track closed for lambing. Originally a gold rush store est. 1861; a permanent building by 1873. It quickly fell into disrepair when a local farm acquired its iron roof. Access via Old Faithful Rd, a dirt track off SH8 (📷3). Boulder copper/ Lycaena boldenarum the only patron (📷4).
Cycled along Frankton Arm & around Kelvin Peninsula, a section of the 120km #Queenstown Trail (in the Great Rides app). Immediately after crossing Kawarau Falls Bridge the trail delivers, with a stunning lakeside sequence of many small jetties, boats & secluded beaches (📷1–3). The trail also passes below the landscaped gardens of wealthy homes lining Peninsula Rd (📷4).
(2/2) Bannockburn Sluicings, Cromwell #Otago. The loop walk overlooks several vineyards nestled along the flats beside the flooded Kawarau River—part of Lake Dunstan & seen here with purple thyme (📷1) & red sorrel in foreground (📷2). The original ground level of the Carrick (alluvial) Fan indicates just how much gravel was shifted (📷3). An example exploratory dig (📷4).
(1/2) Bannockburn Sluicings, Cromwell #Otago. Hydraulic sluicing here sought to uncover gold-bearing “pay dirt” at the bottom of the deep gravel layer. Hillsides were literally blasted away using water pressure. The transformed landscape now cloaked in poppies & thyme (📷1–3). A restored miners hut in Stewart Town, with mud mortar btw stones & protective clay render (📷4).
The freedom camping area at Lowburn Harbour offers a perfectly acceptable view from pitch (📷1). The edge of Lake Dunstan here is decorated with tree lupin/ Lupinus arboreus (📷2), naturalised in 1889. Another North American immigrant growing with abandon here is the California poppy/ Eschscholzia californica (📷3). Across the road is Lowburn Inlet & Sugar Loaf at 304m (📷4).
(2/2) It’s not yellow that rules the landscape here, but shades of violet/ purple. We’ve come back for the “purple haze” of wild thyme/ Thymus vulgaris (📷1); more of that soon 🤞. On the surrounding hillsides there’s also naturalised viper’s bugloss/ Echium vulgare (📷2) & wild sage/ Salvia verbenaca (📷3); plus the native poroporo/ Solanum laciniatum (📷4).
(1/2) We’ve come back to Roxburgh in Central #Otago, revisiting a powered pitch on an orchard to wait out incoming cold & wet #spring weather. Here’s the view from just up the hill (📷1) & of the township itself (📷2), nestled by the Clutha River (📷4). The yellow of gorse has given way to yellow #flowers of broom/ Cytisus scoparius—naturalised to NZ in 1872 (📷4). However…
With our time on South Island running out, we reviewed our planning guide to identify places of interest we had not yet visited, and places we hoped to revisit. Revisits could be because we would like to see blooms/ colours at a particular time of year, see a landscape in better conditions, or simply because we liked it.
Cathedral Caves in The Catlins, #Otago are at north end of Waipati Beach. Access is via 2km private Rd off Chaslands Hwy with paid 🅿️, then 1km bush track. Two sea caves join in V-shape, creating a 200m passage that is up to 30m tall. Access also depends upon tides/ sea conditions affecting safety: cathedralcaves.co.nz has opening times. 🔦 optional, but expect 💦👣!
Tulip fields beside Ramway Rd West, Edendale #Southland. We called by as fellow travellers from Southland suggested we make a small detour. Triflor NZ operate NZ’s largest tulip farm. There’s an open day this Labour Day (23 Oct) so public can wander with permission amongst 🌷. They will shortly thereafter be debudded; the bulbs will be exported to the Northern Hemisphere.
Mavora Lakes, #Southland. (3/3) South Mavora Lake | Manawapōpōre. Follow Rd back to camp, which skirts the lake shore (📷1) then Mararoa River (📷2&3). Be prepared for dust showers as vehicles pass though. It’s 3.5h/ 11km total for the loop back to North Mavora Lake (📷4). Mavora Lakes Conservation Park part of Te Wāhipounamu–South West NZ UNESCO World Heritage Area.
Mavora Lakes, #Southland. (1/3) South Mavora Lake | Manawapōpōre can be circumnavigated from DOC camp via a swing-bridge to Mavora Walkway (📷1), which crosses the outflow of the northern lake (📷2). Track runs down W edge of Mararoa River & the lake, mostly thru beech forest inhabited by common chaffinch (📷3); some open grassland. Spring off to poor start for one nest (📷4).
Mavora Lakes, #Southland. At end of a dusty 39km gravel road, DOC campsite sprawls over large area at bottom end of northern lake; Rd forks off to secluded pitches (📷1). Choose to be enclosed by beech trees, open views to the lake head some 11km distant (📷2), or mixed lake & forest vibes near the outflow (📷3). Curiosity parked among scattered beech below Thomson Mts (📷4).
After a last look at (fully exposed) Mitre Peak (📷1) in Milford Sound, back to DOC’s Cascade Creek Campsite. A pleasant evening (📷2) was followed by a pleasant morning (📷3); these views from pitch are hard to top. We made a third attempt to find the elusive mohua that lives in the beech forest here; only the Sth Is robin/ Petroica australis was breakfasting in public (📷4).
Milford Track, #Fiordland smalls (2/2). On this section of the track there were many tree fuchsia/ kohutuhutu/ Fuchsia excorticata—with its flaky skin-like bark, branches not infrequently fallen onto the path (📷1). Many varied species of moss, lichen & smaller ferns, incld. Lopidium concinnum (📷2); Hymenophyllum revolutum (📷3); & Cranfillia fluviatilis (📷4).
Milford Track, #Fiordland smalls (1/2). Gaps in the canopy were just cause to look up, revealing the big stuff (📷1). But there was so much more to see looking down & around. Examples incld. this ever-curious fantail/ Rhipidura fuliginosa (📷2); unfurling tree fern/ Dicksonia squarrosa frond (📷3); & palm-leaf fern/ kiokio/ Blechnum novae-zelandiae (📷4).
Milford Track, #Fiordland (3/3). The aforementioned swing-bridge affords views of Giant Gates Falls (📷1&2); a good spot for a sandfly-infested picnic. From Sandfly Point to here is 11km/ 3h return, so depending on your taxi time, turn around & take the same path back (📷3). Enjoy the views towards Boultbee Island from Sandfly Point if you’ve time (& blood) to spare (📷4).
Although views of Mitre Peak are iconic, taking the Milford Road is not just about reaching the destination. Journey through scenic glacier-carved valleys, with mountain peaks reflected in pretty lakes, and pass through a tunnel blasted through 1.2km of solid granite mountain over almost 20 years. Stopping points are varied...
There’s a song by TLC with the lyrics “Don’t go chasin’ waterfalls; Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.” There would be plenty of rivers, lakes and waterfalls in this log as we explored Coastal Clutha and The Catlins.
Milford Sound | Piopiotahi cruise (6/6), #Fiordland. Perhaps the most enduring memory of a Milford Sound cruise won’t be of specific features, nor anecdotes told to tourists, but of the sheer cliffs. Looking upwards from the foot of a 2,000m wall of rock that disappears into the clouds can’t help but rescale your world. Amazing plants manage to cling to smallest footholds.
The Milford Rd, #Fiordland. 1st km of Lower Hollyford Rd is sealed, to Lake Marian Track 🅿️. There’s an accessible series of cascades 10min in (📷1&2). 3.5km/ 90min to Lake Marian via rough track:
Rock & root seek to foul thy boot!
Lake set in “hanging valley” (glacial artefact) sitting btw Mts Christina & Lyttle (📷3&4). There are several glimpses back up to Pops View.
The Milford Rd, #Fiordland. Continuing towards Milford Sound | Piopiotahi there’s an opportunity for views of the 3.3km-long Lake Gunn (📷1). 6km further, the platform at Pops View overlooks the Hollyford Valley (📷2) & is itself overlooked by Mt Christina at 2,602m (📷3). At 945m elevation, the 1.2km long Homer Tunnel cuts through a steep mountain; it opened in 1953 (📷4).
The 22m McLean Falls are on the Tautuku River within the Catlins Conservation Park, reached via a 2.1km walk from the car park at the end of a 3km gravel road. There are lower falls (📷1), the chute & upper falls (📷2–4).
Florence Hill Lookout affords superb views over Tautuku Bay in The Catlins (📷1); the peninsula has no road access & is almost amputated by the Tautuku River. Spouting Cave on Rainbow Island just offshore outperforms most blowholes we’ve visited (📷2). Tautuku Beach has been 100,000 yrs in the making (📷3); patterns in fine quartz sand as captivating as staring into 🔥 (📷4).
They say/ sing 🎵 “Don’t go chasing waterfalls…” but that wisdom won’t serve you well in The Catlins. The 20m 3-tiered cascades of Purakaunui Falls are among the most photographed sights in Otago (📷1&2). Only 10min up the road are 10m Matai Falls (📷3), reached via a short track populated with tree fuchsia. Off the same path, just above those, are the Horseshoe Falls (📷4).
Nugget Point Lighthouse in the Catlins, Coastal #Otago, is an oft-visited landmark (📷1). Fur seals may be seen on the beaches below the cliffs; the white flower in foreground is a native clematis (📷2). Rocky islets with vertical striationsc march into the sea (📷3). Plenty of endemic NZ red admiral/ Vanessa gonerilla butterflies about; kahukura or “red cloak” in Māori (📷4).
Several lakes in Clutha District are close to Dunedin. Lake Waihola is NZ’s most inland tidal freshwater lake, at 10km from coast (📷1). Lake Mahinerangi (📷2) is a hydro lake created by damming of Waipori River, submerging the original Waipori mining township. Passed isolated hill stations (📷3) to reach Lawrence (📷4); it grew to support prospectors at nearby Gabriels Gully.
Sandymount to Sandfly Bay track took 1h to descend 2.7km to the beach (from car park at end of Sandymount Rd, via lookout). The track begins as sandy soil but very soon becomes pure sand (📷1&2). We didn’t access the beach due to presence of large sea lion bulls (📷3)/ insufficient beach to keep a respectful distance. Sandfly Bay (as in “Sand flies”) seen from lookout (📷4).
Freedom camping beside beautiful Pūrākaunui Inlet; view to 468m Mopanui peak (📷1). On track to estuary mouth sands of Pūrākaunui Bay opposite & defensible cliffs of 18th century Mapoutahi Pā (📷2); Warrington Spit visible beyond. On Pūrākaunui Inlet Track (📷3) saw rare juvenile nankeen night heron/ umu kōtuku/ Nycticorax caledonicus: not supposed to be here, nor awake (📷4)!
A clear morning to bring fresh perspective on life’s trivial annoyances at Lake Camp, #Canterbury. Standing on the shore at -3°C with freshly brewed coffee in hand to watch the sunrise is something to lift the spirit.
Lake Rotoroa (“long lake”) is largest lake in Nelson Lakes NP; water taxi runs from jetty (📷1). View south down lake to Maniniaro/ Angelus Peak 2,075m in the Travers Range to E; Mt Misery 1,601m to R (📷2). On western shore, Braeburn Walk 5km/ 1.5h thru beech/ podocarp forest (📷3) leads to waterfall. Source of Te Kauparenui/ Gowan River (📷), draining lake into Buller River.
We previously shared our thoughts on "Hunting the eierlegende Wollmilchsau"—or trying to find the perfect, no compromise “egg-laying wool & milk producing sow.” What are the pros and cons of this particular motorhome model/ layout? Furthermore, what home improvements have we seen fit to make?
Pupu Hydo Walkway is the lesser known Pupu Valley treasure; it offers a levada-like environment you can enjoy closer to Māpua than Madeira. For 1.7km the walk follows a 1901 gold mining water race, repurposed for electricity generation in 1929. 107m down penstock to the powerhouse (📷1); 💦 race running along steep hillside (📷2&3); ⚡️ power generator (📷4). A 5.5km/ 1.5h loop.
The season of “winter” can last for almost six months in some parts of New Zealand—in Southland we had seen signs that things were closed for winter break from April to October. The southern hemisphere winter is technically only from June through August. So how has the New Zealand winter affected us, given we’ve just entered August?
(3/3) Abel Tasman NP, Onetahuti to Tōtaranui. From Awaroa Inlet it’s a further 7.1km/ 2h 20min back to Tōtaranui Beach. En route the track passes Waiharakeke Bay (📷1) and Goat Bay (📷2&3) before Tōtaranui comes into view (📷4); it’s just a 100m detour to a lookout at Skinner Point. Including the taxi ride, made a 26km journey over 5h 20m, of which 16km/ 4h 20min was hiking.
(1/3) Abel Tasman NP, Onetahuti to Tōtaranui. The 15min water taxi ride from Tōtaranui to Onetahuti Beach passed this “apple rock”, apparently not yet split (📷1). After our dry feet drop-off (📷2) we walked to the beach’s north end, where a fancy new bridge crosses the estuary (📷3); this becomes a wetland for some way inland (📷4), here viewed from the climb out of the bay.
Gorge Creek Viewpoint is reached via a 350m fork off Harwoods Hole Track, Canaan Downs/ Pikikirunga. Weathered limestone looked gorgeous in frost (📷1) but didn’t make for easy footing (📷2)—somewhere btw Malham Cove’s pavements with crevices (UK) & Tsingy’s razor-edge peaks (MG). But bravery has its rewards (📷3). Today’s “small” is an unusual pattern in rocks—source anyone?
(3/4) Abel Tasman NP, Torrent Bay/ Rākauroa to Onetahuti. Medlands Beach offers the picture-postcard tropical beach—except it’s not going to melt your popsicle at 13 degrees (📷1). Might be our fav beach so far though! Bark Bay (📷2) was named for timber harvesting here; a tidal estuary sits behind it (📷3). Tonga Quarry was a former base for extracting granite blocks (📷4).
(2/4) Abel Tasman NP, Torrent Bay/ Rākauroa to Onetahuti. Frenchman Bay was frustratingly difficult to photograph, but eventually the trees saw fit to afford an unobstructed view (📷1). Invasive Hakea sericea/ needlebush were flowering (📷2). Falls River, viewed from the swing bridge crossing (📷3). Sandfly Bay for lunch in the sun—& not one sandfly made us her lunch (📷4)!
Uplifting of Ward Beach during the 2016 Kaikōura quake changed the course of the Flaxbourne River (📷1), exposing bedrock. Crossed it & walked 4km south to Needles Point (📷2), which features limestone pillars (~1.5h walk thru loose gravel). Banded dotterel (Charadrius bicinctus) owned the beach (📷3), swallow (Hirundo neoxena) the sky & seals were threading the needles (📷4).
(1/2) Kaikōura Peninsula Walkway kicks off with views back to the snow-capped Seaward Kaikōura Ranges, rising dramatically behind the coastal flats (📷1). People come here though for the fur seal colonies: visible from the car park (📷2), or seen on the rocks/ beach/ grass below the scenic cliff top walk—such as at Point Keen Viewpoint (📷3) or overlooking Whalers Bay (📷4).
The #Christchurch Botanic Gardens grew from an English oak planted in 1863; they now occupy 21 hectares & include a loop of the Avon River. Inside, an Edwardian-style cast iron Peacock Fountain (📷1); “Diminish and Ascend”, a receding perspective staircase in aluminium (📷2); punting on the Avon (📷3); in the NZ Garden, flowering small-leaved kōwhai (Sophora microphylla; 📷4).
Lake Hauroko (the soughing of the wind) in #Fiordland NP is NZ’s deepest lake at 462m (📷1–3). Access to the demanding 8–10d Dusky Track is by boat across to the northern end. Saw a karearea/ NZ falcon (Falco novaeseelandiae) dispatch a mouse in front of us (📷4). Thicket Burn Camp 7.4km E along Lillburn Valley Rd our 103rd & westernmost overnight spot for 6/12 vanniversary.
Glenorchy lies at the delta where the Dart & Rees rivers feed into the northern end of Lake Wakatipu. The area is a favourite location with the film industry (#LotR & more) & is the gateway to river safaris up the Dart by jet boat as well as to the trailhead for one of NZs Great Walks, the Routeburn Track. The 45 min drive from #Queenstown is very scenic.
Lake Wakatipu from Bennetts Bluff (📷1&2) & Twelve Mile Delta Campsite (📷3&4). At 80km NZs longest lake. At 291 sq km NZs 3rd largest. At 380m NZs 3rd deepest (surface at 310m elevation, so goes below sea level). 5 rivers in, 1 out. Level oscillates (a seiche or standing wave) due to unique shape & differential effects of wind/ atmosphere on “restrained” parts. #Queenstown
From Alex. over #Otago’s Raggedy Range on gravel road aiming for Poolburn Dam (Rohan in #LotR), but bailed as too rough. Views back to Ida Valley (📷1&2) as made for ex-mining settlement of Ophir, where the 1886 Post Office is still in use (📷3). Nearby Omakau is larger (it got the railway), but the “Back in 5 years” sign (📷4) in a local business suggests it’s not booming 😉
How did the islands of Aotearoa come into being? Where did the first people arrive from? How long did it take Europeans to rediscover the islands? How would you tackle exploring NZ from a camper van or motorhome? What areas might be of interest to travellers? Here's our take: let us know yours?
Monro Beach Walk is 3km each way, btw. Lake Moeraki & Otumotu Point (📷1), a nesting site for 🐧 Tawaki (Fiordland crested penguins). Best seen Jul–Nov when breeding; occasionally seen Jan–Mar when moulting. We didn’t see the birds, but did meet an odd fellow in the bush (📷2). The beach was worthwhile on its own; a geological hodgepodge of shapes, colours, & textures (📷3&4).