Saturday 11th August.
Well I woke early and got up, Liz was up so we had a cuppa. The fire was going and the room was lovely and warm, took me back to the Atiamuri days sitting around a big fire with frost outside. Looking outside I knew we were not going to see the cliffs, so when Don got up we got organised and did the drive to Ahuriri Valley, it is only 28 km but took us nearly 6 hours, it’s so beautiful. Not a cloud in the sky, unbelievable. Had lunch at the wetlands conservation reserve in the valley. Then we realised it was 2.30 pm already and we haven’t even got out yet. Went to the Merino Cafe for a cuppa and there was Crofty as his friends call him (Simon) and Liz with some friends, so we said after we had finished that we would meet them back at the farm. After tea Liz and Simon wanted to see some shots of the Valley. Got to bed at 9.30 pm feeling pretty tired now that I’ve eaten and warmed up. The weather was showing that it was clearing on the west coast and down Fiordland and getting wetter on the east coast so with Simon’s advise as to what he would do we are flipping the itinerary and heading to Fiordland in the morning.
This is an amazing place, the valley is huge, photo’s just don’t show the vastness of it all. We felt so small in the realm of things, every hill we went over there was another breath taking view.
We were privileged to be able to go onto this station and get these amazing shots, spent ages here.
Friday 10th August.
Woke to a big frost so white it looked like snow, at 3.25 am not a cloud in the sky, to cold to get out and do star trails so back to bed. We had brekky, cleaned up and off to Omarama. Meeting a friend Simon at the pub car park at 1.30 pm. So after refueling etc. and had a bit to eat, Simon arrived. It’s only 5 deg outside at 1 pm. but sunny, the wind is shocking, we chattered and then headed up to Clay Cliffs as we have permission to go there, before heading to the farm, in that short time the sun had gone down over the mountain range which put shadow onto the cliffs, I was so cheesed of, but we walked up to the chasm and it is beautiful. Not a lot of luck here so headed back to the farm and we are staying in the farm-house with Liz and Simon, great hospitality and great conversations. I had tea already prepared for us so we ate at 6 pm as Simon and Liz have their main meal at lunch time and have a light tea. Got to bed after seeing the weather forecast, not looking good for tomorrow at the cliffs. We will see. But Liz made the suggestion that we go take a look up the Ahuriri Valley as it will be clear that side of the range if it’s fog and cloud this side.
This is Clay Cliffs from the main Road, which a fair distance, lighting was not good as we were facing the sun going down and lots of cloud cover.
This is what I call the Clay Cliffs Canyon, it doesn’t look like it but this is very steep from where I’m standing, climbing up inside it was a bit scary I might add, but I did it. Lighting was bad as the sun had gone and the dark clouds were forming so hence the white out in the sky.