Friday, January 13, 2017


I'm just going to give a random selection of photos from the last few days. 
I stayed in a lovely campground just north of Hampden- Riverside- and I had my tent near this stream.
En route for Dunedin I stumbled on this rest spot by the beach where I had my breakfast.
 In the city itself I really enjoyed the Settlers Museum, then I had a great lunch of braised steak at Speight's Alehouse. 
I took this photo after lunch once some sun had appeared: it looked much better than an earlier version with grey skies!
Dunedin Railway Station is justifiably famous- great to see it with some sunshine too. 
The other place I loved visiting was the Botanical Gardens. These cacti were in the winter gardens.
 The promised southerly came through while I was at the gardens and again it was bitterly cold. I decided to try a holiday park away from the coast and was glad to find it was more sheltered, with lovely gardens including many roses. I woke up there this morning to a most beautiful chorus of bellbirds. 

Today the main thing on my agenda, despite the rain and cold, was that I had to see Bluff, and it certainly had some surprises in store. For a start I learned from an info board that the rock there was very hard, made from magma that did not reach the surface, off the coast of Gondwanaland well before Zealandia rafted off across the Tasman.
  The views from the top of the Bluff Hill were stunning. 

Friday, January 06, 2017

Dansey's Pass

Yesterday I drove across Dansey's Pass, leaving from Naseby and emerging out the Waitaki end. It's amazing what you can do sometimes when you are blissfully ignorant. For a good ten km the road is so narrow it is basically one way, with steep drop offs on the left where I was supposed to be driving. Once on the narrow route, you can't turn around anywhere! I lived on adrenalin as I drove very slowly, hoping around every blind bend I wasn't going to meet another vehicle! However, it was a spectacular route, and having emerged safely at the Waitaki end, I am very glad to have experienced it- once!

Where there was a little ledge to pull over I did take photos, and I will just give you a selection of them.
This is the only vehicle going the same way that I met.
 Finally I made it down to Duntroon, then I visited the Elephant Rocks.
And I stayed the night at a Riverside camping place not far north of Hampden Beach. It was very peaceful there and I would have stayed another day reading in my deck chair- except- thunderstorms are forecast. Summer, summer, where art thou?!

Cromwell to Naseby

This morning it soon became obvious the southerly was moving through, and shoes and socks were needed. I left Cromwell via the road towards Dunedin, and stopped at the memorial plaque for the two miners who first discovered gold on a bend in the river at this point.
When I reached Clyde I diverted off the highway and first looked at the Clyde hydroelectric dam and power station. 
Next I continued into the town and was amazed by all the beautiful historic buildings in the main street. 

This is the Catholic Church. There are beautiful roses planted along the path to the front door. 
The blue skies behind the monument belie the fact the wind was bitterly cold!
I saw a pile of people ready to take off on the Otago Rail Trail and other rides from the historic Clyde station. Gave me some ideas...
When I left Clyde to head towards Naseby, I was amazed by how many historic buildings were along the roadside. 

This one at Wedderburn was particularly lovely.
There were views of the ranges with snow on them that explained the cold!
And this is summer!

Walking Naseby

In Naseby I visited a friend, and after lunch we embarked out on a walk around the town. Wearing my woolly hat I marked myself out as a foreigner!
There were so many historic buildings here too, in original condition. 

The Athenaeum had a reading room open, with a copy of the day's newspaper, and a local library behind.
The old Post Office had local information pamphlets, and various items for sale. I bought a Size 1-2 baby girl's dress, not because I know a baby that age at present, but because I fell in love with that little dress!
There were lots of cute cottages around...
This place has cold winters, and has an outside curling rink. But for now a whole lot of families were using the indoor rink. Fascinating to watch.
Next we headed uphill to the cemetery, which had many historic headstones, as well as some for more recent residents. There were a few Chinese headstones from the gold mining era.
While we were at the cemetery there was a small amount of hail fell. Coming back we had clear views of the ranges with snow on...
Tonight, in due deference to the cold, I am staying in a historic Naseby hotel instead of my tent (though the camping ground here did look lovely!)

Haast to Cromwell

As I lay me down to sleep last night I knew the calm weather couldn't last, and as you might expect for Haast, about midnight the rain started, and it was pretty constant. But again my tent kept me dry! Finally I decided it was time to get up and pack my tent up despite the rain, so with raincoat on, I got on with it!

Last year I stopped off on the Haast Rd often for the views and the walks along the way. I didn't do that today but saw lots of unexpected waterfalls.
However once I was over the other side, there were gaps in the grey and the weather looked more promising. This was an early view of Lake Wanaka.

And Lake Hawea when It appeared, looked even more beautiful.

I knew there would be a lot more people around the lakes, but the traffic into Wanaka still came as a shock! But I found a park by the lakeside not too far from town, and got out my deck chair and watched all the people pass by. 
In the water there were water-skiers, paddle-boarders, kayakers, and a jet-ski that seemed to come close to shore too quickly. Many cyclists rode past. I can understand why people holiday here. I lay my wet tent out on the grass in front of me and there was enough warmth and sunlight to mostly dry it out.

I decided to leave Wanaka via the Crown Range Road. I was a bit apprehensive at the steep winding route, but in summer and with dry conditions it was fine. And the views coming down towards the Queenstown side were spectacular.

I am now all set up in the Cromwell camping ground, and am looking forward to seeing a friend in Naseby tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Greymouth to Harihari

Well last night was certainly a memorable way to welcome in the New Year. I knew that very heavy rain was expected in Greymouth and just before 4am it became torrential! I had reason to be glad I had invested, quite some years back, in a quality Macpac tent: I did stay dry! But experiencing such rainfall in a tent is an adrenalin producing event. 
Here is a photo of the 'campground' weka by my tent just before I left.

I began the day with a few more Greymouth visits. First I met a fellow Twitter-mate for morning hot chocolate. He asked if I had been down by the river mouth- I hadn't- so I drove down there. I found it quite scary driving towards the bar, but all was well. The sea was quite 'mucky' with plenty of waves. It was easy to see why so many ships in the goldmining days were wrecked on the river bar.
Then I had a more leisurely look around the 'new' Catholic Church, and I really do love the way they have incorporated the old into the new, and I like the amount of light in the day chapel to the side.

Once I left town I drove quite swiftly south. I waved at my Scettrini ancestors as I passed the Waimea/ Stafford /Goldsborough turn-off. I diverted down the Blue Spur tourist drive that took me alongside the swiftly flowing Arahura River. I then went to the Hokitika cemetery and found the new headstone for my Payn great-grandparents that a cousin had organised. 

I said a quick hello to the Hokitika riverside before driving south again. I decided to stop off at Lake Mahinapua, a short distance from the road. The lake was peaceful and there were remnants of a steamboat that used to help provide transport via creeks etc from Hokitika to the Ross goldfields. 
Gold-mining history abounds! I had some lunch near the lake-side, and lay out my tent in the sunshine so it could dry out some more. It was very pleasant sitting there and I was quite tempted to stay in the camping ground. However, I had vague plans for trying to organise myself on a white heron tour, and there was no mobile coverage by the lake.

I drove as far as Harihari, with heavy clouds threatening more rain. I spied a motel, and lo and behold, they had a small unit available for the night. So I am enjoying writing this on my comfortable bed, knowing I don't have to go outside into the light but persistent rain for the toilet or the kitchen... Watching rain fall gently outside through big windows is quite pleasant. And I have booked for the white heron tour tomorrow.