Friday, January 01, 2016

Omarama to Hampden

It turned out to be quite an adventurous day of driving through parts unknown. First off I back-tracked towards Twizel and took the Lake Ohau Rd. There was cloud on all the hills to start the day, but it gradually lifted. This peak by Lake Ohau is Ben Ohau I think, 1522m altitude.

I found a camping ground beside another wee lake nearby, Lake Middleton, that seemed to be full of Kiwi families. Looked idyllic, except when the jet boat started up, towing a biscuit. (The noise of jetboats was to be a theme of all the lakes I passed today- and it was certainly a popular part of the country for holiday makers with boats.)

I love the colours of the countryside near here, though it is certainly arid.

I was to follow Lake Benmore for quite a distance and there was an Alps to the Sea cycle way beside it, something I first saw a sign for near the camping ground at Mt Cook.

There were several hydroelectric dams down the road I followed, and I spent quite a bit of time around the Benmore Station. You could drive up on top of the dam and get an amazing view.

Next was the dam across Lake Aviemore.

And the last dam I saw was the Waitaki one. Here I worked out whether I was in southern Canterbury, or northern Otago- and it turned out I was almost in both: the Waitaki River must form the boundary.

From Kurow I took the southern route along the Waitaki, but turned off at Duntroon for what turned out to be some fascinating side roads.

This is the Catholic Church in Kurow. Sorry it's a bit crooked, but not sure how to straighten with this app. I loved the cloud formations.

At Duntroon I took the side road for Ngapara, and found I was in some beautiful hill country. A farmer has allowed access for people to walk in and see these limestone formations- Elephant Rocks.

It was a great drive. I next took another left turn for Windsor and joined a road heading towards Kakanui, but diverted south finally on SH1 until Hampden that my friends had told me about. I am now in a tent site that is less than a minute's walk to the beach. More of that in the next post...



  1. Oh the elephant rocks are beautiful - but the general southern landscape is unique - kinda hazy mauve....the road to the hydroelectric dam that has those purple flowers to the sides is lovely too...oh and the crooked church! I think that is apt - we are after all a church of saints and sinners! Much of us a tad "crooked" ....

    1. Haha trust you to come up with something like that about the church! Yes, the colours of all the landscapes are beautiful. Love them. In Palmerston at present by the Spark Wifi box. Don't think I will tell anyone I am from the other Palmerston!