Sunday, 24 May 2015

Breakfast At Rakaia Gorge...

 I'm on  my way back to Christchurch. I've just spent a couple
of nights in the Ashburton area but left early this morning
and decided to avoid SH1 and tiki tour through Methven,
Rakaia Gorge, Hororata and call and visit a friend
on the Bealey Road near Aylesbury.
Ashburton was cold and frosty so I went seeking
some sun and ended up here...

 My view from my bus... The Rakaia River and bridge...

 Then looking further east along this huge braided river...

 I ventured out... Well wrapped up... This coat has been my
best South Island buy ever... All my layers of wool underneath,
and with wind proof/water proof leggings, two pairs of gloves,
woolen socks and boots... I'm set for anything.

 I walked to a lookout nearby... Looking west towards the
 mountains... I drove past the Mt Hutt ski field turnoff...
So snow around and more forecast tonight.

 A big over view to the east...

And of course... Collected a bag of pine cones for my fire
tonight. I'll be snug and warm.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Mt Cook And The DoC Camp...

 I'd had enough of fishing and decided to go to Mt Cook...
It's 55km up the south side of Lake Pukaki... Another road that's
mostly straight and flat... A few bends of course...
As a lot of the road travels round the edge of this beautiful
blue vista...

I stopped at a look out... With a bus full of tourists...
One of whom took my photo...

It was rather windy... A nor-wester which on the Canterbury 
Plains is a strong hot wind but in the mountains
is treacherous, sometimes lethally strong and very cold...
The wind the mountaineers dread.
Further along the sun began to disappear... The
clouds advanced...

What was I driving into?

The blue lake comes to an end and the valley is tussocks,
rocks and a shingle river bed that the Tasman River runs through...

This sign says 'cattle on the road next 5km'

I must be nearly there, the mountains are coming closer...

And 2km off the main road, just before the Mt Cook
village is the White Horse Hill DoC camp. It's very cold 
and getting dark at nearly 5pm.

 There's a good shelter and community hut... Lots of people
using it but I have everything I need in my bus.

It's right under the mountains and the snow.

Looking back to Lake Pukaki and the valley I had just
driven along... The last of the sun on the tops of the
mountains. It disappeared early from the flat area
that is the camp surrounded by mountains.

I found a parking spot and settled in for the night...
Cosy with my fire going.

I woke next morning to a chilly morning... 4 degrees... But
sunny and no wind.

And the sun peeping over the mountain tops...

Lots of people slept in their cars... And a few tents!

It's 10am... The sun is coming as I set off for a walk up the Hooker 
Valley to the Hooker Lake. I didn't know it till I got back mid
afternoon but the sun is so low in the sky it 
 didn't reach my bus all day.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Ohau C Camping Ground

 I got here as it was nearly too dark to see where I was going,
managed to find a level place and shut myself in for
the evening and an early night.
I woke next morning to the most incredible day.
This is where I was parked...

 Just outside my door...

 Looking through the trees to two other buses parked there.

I re-parked to go for a wander, and look at the stunning
autumn trees...

 The Lake Benmore Ohau C boat ramp...




 I could have stayed here all day... But back to the canals
and another day fishing...

Late afternoon I went back to Ohau B and the NZMCA park.
Had a fish both sides of the canal here until it got too cold and dark...
And suddenly everything turned red... A spectacular sunset.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Twizel - Ohau C Canal...

 The big bit of blue is Lake Benmore where Ohau C canal
runs out after going through two power stations
and passing another salmon farm.

 It's 12km further along the canals from Ohau B...
The network of canals is quite confusing, I needed to
refer to maps all the time. Everything is flat and long
and more or less straight...

 Here I am parked at Ohau C... I spent most of two days here...
Beautiful days in the sun with no wind...

 The beautiful snowy mountains and Mt Cook
beside me - about 50km away...

 This is the power station dam. The grating in the middle
section is where the water runs through with an incredible 
current when it's turned on. Either side of the grates and 
up and down the sides of the canal were all popular
places to fish. It was the weekend so lots of 
people came and went.

 The scenery is just stunning...

 The stillness created amazing reflections...
I came back here briefly on Monday morning. It was a howling
warm nor-west wind and a totally different place. The water was
whipped into churning waves. Forget fishing, the rod just about
blew out of my hands!

 The top of the power station dam... Fishing both ends of 
the right hand side. When a salmon was caught the fisher person
needed to walk along to the end and down onto the
canal bank to bring the salmon into the edge to be netted.
Quite a skill. I didn't catch one so haven't tried that yet!

 Looking over the top of the huge water pipes to the end
of the canal where it flows into  Lake Benmore - the
yellow trees on the right hand side is a camping area
where I spent the night.

 The power station from the lower side, photo taken
the next morning...

 My first day at Ohau C ended with more beautiful reflections
as the evening shadows gathered...

And a gentle sunset... Time to go and park for the night.