Saturday, 26 July 2014

Rakaia Gorge...

We left Hororata... Driving through the flat Canterbury Plains...
Crops growing here...

Sheep grazing... Unperturbed by the bitterly cold climate...

We got closer to the mountains... Not much snow...

And here's our next destination... The Rakaia River...
At the gorge.

On one side of the road, overlooking the river is the
Mt Hutt Lodge, close to Methven and the ski fields.

On the other side of the road is the Rakaia River with the huge
wide expanse of shingle river bed... One of the largest
braided rivers in New Zealand. 
 The Rakaia River has a mean flow of 203 cubic metres per second and 
a mean annual seven-day low flow of 87 cubic metres per second.

It rises in the Southern Alps travelling 150 kilometres in a
 generally easterly or southeasterly direction before entering the 
Pacific Ocean 50 kilometres south of Christchurch.

it is briefly confined to a narrow canyon known as the Rakaia Gorge.
The Rakaia River is bridged in two places. The busiest crossing is 
at the small town of Rakaia 20 kilometres from the river mouth, 
where State Highway 1 and the South Island Main Trunk Railway
cross the river using separate bridges. These two bridges are New 
 Zealand's longest road and rail bridges respectively,
approximately 1.75 km long. A second bridge, much shorter
and less used, spans the Rakaia Gorge.

These are the two bridges at Rakaia Gorge...
Both with a lot of history.

This concrete pole measures the water depth, of particular
 interest when in flood. You can see how the water flow has
washed away the bank and the different colours of the silt and
 stone buildup over the years.

The Rakaia River is fed by meltwater from the Lyell and Ramsay Glaciers.

There are some people in this photo that I took standing on one 
of the bridges... Puts the size of the river into perspective!

There is a small sheltered camping area with water and toilets.
I want to go back when the weather improves
and do some of these walks.

The Rakaia is also well known for Salmon and Trout fishing.
I'd like to try that! Need some lessons and a license first!

Having walked over both bridges and looked around
it was time to head for home...

Along the endless flat roads, the huge shelter belts...

In this photo if you look carefully you can see the enormous
irrigation machines that stretch the width and length of the paddocks.

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