Day 22

Sunday 5th June

Got away from Terry Smiths Lookout by 8.25 am. Great spot to stay, nice and quiet as well.  Had a good drive through to Burke and Wills roadhouse. Had morning tea,  fueled up all set for Lawn Hill. A wedgie was across the road but to far. On our next leg we encountered so many things, Bustards,  Emu’s,  Brolgas,  Sea Eagle,  and a Wedge tail Eagle landed on a carcass in front of us and we all but hit it,  I didn’t even get a shot away as I was so flabbergasted thinking we were going to hit it. There were all sorts of birds at the rest stop as well. We arrived at Gregory River just after lunch,  once all set up had a bite to eat down the river, just a beautiful spot, with amazing bird life.  Jack and Alice are on the lower side down by the river, we chose to stay up the top in shade.  Here for two nights,  will be staying here again on our return from Lawn Hill.

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Had Lunch here. lovely spot, the people are new owners and they are so helpful, very friendly.

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BBQ area down the end at the Burke & Wills.

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As we drive off there’s cattle on the road, they have the right of way. We are following that sign.

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Speaks for its self.

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The Termite mounds are getting bigger around this area.

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Road narrows. Glad it hasn’t rained for awhile, very muggy side of the roads when its been wet.

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Off the tar seal for now.

IMG_0607Leichhardt River

Leichhardt River, so nice to see water in some of the creeks and rivers.

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Interesting watching how the foliage changes from time to time.

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Dry river bed.

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The cattle never even moved, they are use to the traffic.

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Good sign.

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Nearly there.

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Savannah way next time.

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We are staying at the National Park.

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This is our morning tea spot. Gregory River. Clean and fast flowing.

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View towards the bridge, we come over this then turn down to here. Lots of room.

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View from our kitchen. In the shade all day, weather was very hot.

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Afternoon tea spot, lots of Kites and other little birds.

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Brolga’s on side of road.

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Kite at the river.

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They have a nest in the large tree just above us.

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Day 18

Wednesday 1st June  Day 18

Well it is raining,  started quiet early after we went to sleep last night. Has rained fairly constant. The land needs this,  as campers it’s fine overnight but nice to fine up now,  well not a lot to do in the rain.  Soaking the clothes to hang out when fine. Had a early tea, cleaned up and retired to the camper.

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Just down the bank from our camp site, looking south. very overcast.

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Looking up the opposite way. This dam is a lot higher than it has been, last year people were camping where the water is.

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Our camp site.

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Very dark skies tonight.

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Beautiful Kite.

Day 18

Friday 29th

Well the winds got up about 3.30 am, by 6.30 am clouds were coming in over the range so worked in nicely that we were planing to move on today. Filled up with water, beautiful drinking water they provide here. We are heading to Elphinestone via the Nebo Rd, or Little Lizzy Rd, what wonderful country side, dry but still so much to see, along the way Jack saw Moonlight Dam Camping sign and radioed to us as to would we like to have morning tea here, of course we would, so off we go, OMG I wondered if we’d ever get there, but when we did it is lovely. very rough 4×4 drive, along a ridge and windy.

IMG_2753  Lake Elphinestone, We camped here for two nights.IMG_2731  Here is a drag line bucket at the entrance of the town Glendon.IMG_2714  Amazing landscape along the way today.IMG_2704  All these Brolgas in the paddock, what a noise they were making, they were a long way away.IMG_2694  Going along the ridge into Moonlight Dam Camping.IMG_2671  Old trough, was once filled by the windmill in background.IMG_2668  Heaps of room for camping.StarStaX_DPP_345-DPP_361_gap_filling  Did star trails at Lake Elphinestone.IMG_2661  Moonlight Dam Camping area, the Dam was only a puddle but large area when there is water.IMG_2653  Little Lizzy Road, heading to Nebo.IMG_2648  Going through a narrow part of Little Lizzy Road.IMG_2642  The animals weren’t as thin as I expected.IMG_2639  Love this shot, the way the road winds, Jack is the wee white dot at the end of the road.IMG_2635 IMG_2632 IMG_2628

Country side where we traveled today.

 

Day 3

Thursday 14th

Woke to a beautiful day so we had breakfast, cleaned up and Don got the tarp up over the camper, so now we are secured for the rains. The dam/lake is low but still lots of water. We have toilets, cold showers and trees. Very uneven ground as it is all just paddocks,so you get what you can. Lots of people with boats, blow up canoes and rubber ducks.  Don and Jack went rowing several times. I got tea all prepared early so didnt matter about the weather. A chap called around to all the sites, hes getting a delivery service up and running and was asking about what we might want. Gets the stock from Monto and keeps his delivery fees low. His email for info is womble_91@hotmail.com Jamie Harris is his name. He owns the 4×4 shop in town. We went for a big walk around all the bays, so big. Havent been to the wier yet. Had chicken tonight with veggies all in one pot. Don had a big fall today, thought he’d knocked himself out for a second, but he dented his head at the forehead by the hair line, got the bleeding stopped and put a cross plaster on it. Hes ended up with a very big bruise on his leg at the top. Weather does not know what it’s doing but its overcast and windy.  Not as cold tonight with the cloud cover.

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Day 2

Monday 23rd

I awoke to the sounds of many Kookaburra’s, such a great sound, then all the other birds started. Birds like wrens, the wee Honey eaters and the Crimson Rosella’s.

Got up at 6 am made a cuppa and just sat back and listened, the sounds were great.

Had breakfast then cleaned up, went for a bit of a walk and saw our neighbours, had a bit of a hello and wondered back, had morning tea.

We then took a drive up to the rainforest, just lovely, did one of the walks, called Sylvester Lookout, very steep.
It was nice and cool in the rainforest, we came home had lunch and then the heat got up again, but we have a wee breeze.

Went and mucked around with the birds here taking photos, got fire wood etc, was a nice relaxing afternoon.

Kingfisher

Azure Kingfisher, we found that this is one of the spots he fishes from.

Look out walk What a lovely walk, very steep, heaps of birds, all very high in the canopy, but the view at the look out was very hazy but must be amazing on a clear day, worth the effort.

Rain forest under growth. This is rain forest under growth, and the smell is so nice, all the different forest scents.

IMG_3943  This is a White Napped Honey Eater, have not seen one of these before, they are very pretty.IMG_3962  Don over the other side of creek.IMG_3987  Nankeen Night Heron.IMG_3991  They had been harrowing the paddock.IMG_3992  The old gate. Still worked though.IMG_4001 Female Bower visiting us, they are so nosy when they get use to you being around.

Back to Christchurch. Homeward Bound.

Wednesday through to Saturday, the end of a wonderful holiday.

Woke to a lovely sunny day, white frost on the ground so pretty. We did all our bits and cleaned up before heading to Christchurch.  On the drive towards Christchurch I have noticed how early all the blossoms are out, and bunches of Daffadills on the side of roads and in farmers paddocks really a lovely sight. We arrived at my cousins place at 2.30 pm so for the next couple of days we will be visiting hospital, cleaning camper and emptying and refilling everything before taking it back on Friday. Friday night all my whanau came around and we had a feed together, was great catching up with those that could make it.

Heading into Christchurch

This was taken while we were driving, heading back to my cousins place in Christchurch.

Saturday 4th

Was a rough flight home as a front was heading from Australia towards the west coast of NZ, all is well, we got home. Was a great holiday, look forward to the next trip.

Moeriki Boulders.

Tuesday 28th August.

Down at the boulders very early, very cold but no wind or rain so yipppeee. Well the sunrise was nothing to yippee about but still got some ok shots, practised with the 400 ND filter to fog the water. Get to carried away I ended up with sea water in my ski boots just to get the right shot, as one does, so painful when the water is like ice, so headed back up the track to camper, had brekky and then started to rinse the salt water off tripod and boots, did a wash and did a run out to the bird hide up at the light house at Moeriki  what a lovely drive thru the farmlands. Got to the bird hide thinking this was going to be a waste of time, and being 3 pm BUT, what a surprise, only there for a very short time and saw a yellow eyed penguin coming out of the water, then another, they only have a short stroll up a sandy patch past the Hooker sea lions and into the cover, but the conservation have made all these little A frame as houses for them and they use them so neat. We where just sitting there very quietly and all of a sudden heard a penguin call right under the window, so it was just about to close, so beautiful we just sat there watching it, he knew we were there, but stayed very quiet and only whispered. In this small area we saw, the penguins, Hooker sea loins on the rocks, Molly hawks, wax eyes and green-eyed spotted shags, I really thought it was a waste of time, so you can imagine how thrilled we were, was worth the climb down, but now we have to climb back out. When we got back to camp the washing was dried so now we can hit the road.. Saw a Mopoke on the side of road on some road kill, most unusual this time of day and in sun. It was getting late so decided we would pull of at the next camping or free spot, at St Andrew’s old show grounds there were camping signs so in we go, well what a neat place, just like a paddock with some power, suits us. $15 a night powered. Now 5. 20 pm tired so much excitement. Have just found out my cousin has been taken to hospital for heart attack so we will be going straight thru to Christchurch tomorrow.

Moeraki Boulders

This photo was taken before the sun rose, the light was unbelievable, this is a wonderland.

Moeriki Boulders

These children look quiet small as the boulders are very large.

Off to the Albatross Colony.

Monday 27th August.

8.40 am and on the road again heading to Dunedin, going to the Albatross colony. Wow, what a shock heading into Dunedin and out to the Otago Peninsula, traffic, hate it, we have been bush to long, but called into see the Lanarch Castle, not impressed, you have to pay even to go into the gardens so we got out of there. Went to Sandfly Bay, sea lions were laying on the beach, the wind was sooooo strong and sooooooooooooo bitterly cold we chose not to go down the hill to the beach only stayed at the lookout. Very overcast as well. By the time we walked back to the camper it was drizzling and felt like sleet, bbbbbrrrrrrrr. When we got to Taiaroa Heads the winds haven’t changed, lovely drive around the water’s edge, which is the harbour of Dunedin. They are doing a lot of alterations to the walk ways as there has been some slips. But we still went where we could, got to see a couple of juvenile albatross’ soaring in the air above the light house. Saw Green eyed spotted Shags, they are really pretty and have some very funny antic’s, so did a couple of short video’s with my camera. We have just heard that there is storm warnings out for the area, no wonder it’s so windy and cold. It’s pouring with rain on the west coast, just been speaking with my sister-in-law. Went up to the Lodge Cafe and had a bit to eat, what a view on a nice day. Off we go, could not tolerate the traffic once we got back onto the road into Dunedin, so made the decision to high tale it to no 1 highway. Head to Moeriki Boulders. Got to the camping grounds, really nice place, $29 powered site, went to get some shots of the boulders before sunset, pretty dark but gave us the pre look before we come back pre dawn. We made a decision to head back onto Christchurch  after here rather than go Omarama way. We thought we saw lightning, but was speaking to the owner and it’s called Fire storm like auroras, real pretty.

Rolling Hills Otago

This is on the road out to the Otago peninsula, lovely steep rolling green hills.

Green eyed spotted shag

This Green Eyed Spotted Shag was really giving me a show with all sorts of dances trying to attract a mate.

Penguins at Roaring Bay.

Saturday 25th August.

We were up before the alarm 5.30 am as I could hear the Penguins calling, when we got down there they were already on the move, but luck has it they moved as slow this morning as they did last night so we got to sit and just watch and listen, 2 1/2 hours later the sunrise which is at 7.45 am was no good, to much cloud but it’s not windy so not to cold. Real honour to sit and watch these beautiful creatures. Back at camp 9 am for brekky. Walked around the camp and check it all out, this place is awesome and has so much character, toilets are made of split pine and corrugated iron, showers and kitchen are made inside big concrete water tanks and all unisex. Lovely paintings on the outside. On our way to McLean falls we saw a sign saying  the smallest Niagara Falls, so we turned off to take a look, bit of a joke really maybe great in the wet season, but they are saying they are NZ Niagara Falls, nothing like it. It was interesting though along the river banks there are like little cribs along side on the banks and the whitebait fishermen stay in them when the whitebait are running. We did the walk into Maclean Falls, about a 20 min walk each way, takes us longer as there is so many photo’s to take, such a lovely spot. Got back to the camper at 2.30 pm and had lunch at the car park. Carried onto Purakanunui Falls, these     are beautiful. Got to Nugget Point, the drive in is beautiful, saw Penguins at Roaring Bay but it got a bit dark so will get down first thing in the morning, we are free camping in the car park at Nugget Point. Big day today.

Lower Falls, McClean

These falls are the Lower McClean’s falls.

Kotukutuku, Fuchsia Native Tree

These trees are just so colourful, they are called Kotukutuku or Fuchsia Native Tree.

Purakaunui Falls

Sunday 26th

Rained most of the night but woke to the sun shinning. We walked out to the Nugget Point Light house, quiet step in places and it was very early so not to warm, it’s only 2 km return, amazing rock formations out at the point. We had brekky and hit the road. Drove along the coast to Kaka Point, called into the van park to fill up with water, ran into a young couple that we had been talking to at Penguin Cove, they said it’s so nice here, only $27 a night for power so will remember that for future, kitchen was big and very homely. The bird life, they had all sorts. Took some photo’s of the Balclutha bridge, got some food from New World and filled up, we are heading for Mosgiel. Arrived at the Mosgiel Show grounds, they have a wee camping ground here and it’s really lovely, small, $27 for powered which is pretty standard, but the washing machines, dryers and showers are free, kitchen has  everything for one to use, the shower is like having a massage, wonderful place, here I caught up with my nephew. Did a big wash, cook up for the next few days and used their showers, so feel pretty normal again.

Nigget Point Lighthouse.

Up half an hour before sun up and as we headed to the lighthouse the golden glow was awesome and the lighting was magic, worth the effort.

Heading to the Bluff.

Thursday 23rd August.

Up earlier this morning and had our breakfast, cleaned up and hit the road. Had a few stops along the way to Haast, did some water falls, but not a lot of water flowing at the moment, we have noticed all the lake levels are low, the locals are saying the it’s been real poor with snow levels and even though they get a lot of rain, the amount of snow melts really does help the dam levels. We have clear skies, stopped at Lake Hawea and had lunch down at the lake, it really is a magic spot. Saw Rocky Range and called into Butchers Dam and Lake Dunstan has lovely reflections it’s on the way to Cromwell, in the Roxborough area. Stayed at Miller’s flat camp ground, $14 each, nice clean spot, bit run down, the owners are lovely.

Lake Dunstan

Lake Dunstan and it’s lovely reflections. Smoke from fire in the background adds to the moodiness of the scene.

Lake Hawea

This is the view as we headed over the Haast Pass and heading towards Wanaka.

Friday 24th

Woke to a frost, even the water out of the hose in the tap is hanging out by about 10 inch and is frozen. 8.14 am and ready to hit the road, did all the dumps and refills once we broke the ice up. Called into Gore, town of the country music, NZ’s Tamworth. They also boast trout. We had a good run down to Invercargill, called into see my Dads grave at Lumsden. Didn’t stop in Invercargill carried on down to the Bluff, I really liked it there, very windy and very cold, coming straight up from the Antarctic. It had very low clouds but could still see Stewart Island. Was very hard taking photo’s at the look out due to the wind, nearly blows you over. Saw interesting things, like chocks in paddocks with sheep and or cows all happy together. Had a feed of fish & Chips and it them down at the wharf. Left the bluff about 1 pm and started for the Catlins. To get to Curio Bay we made a wrong turn and ended up 28 km out of our way but got to see some nice country side along the way, when we got to the causeway and saw the sign to go over to the Tiwai smelting then I realised we had come the wrong way. No worries, turned around and got back on track and got to Curio camp grounds at about 4.30 pm. Took photo’s on our way in and what a great place. Got the camera’s and went straight down to the Penguins, we have been told that they head back up out of the water into their nesting place at about 4.30 pm onward until dark so will sit it out. Of course the sun has gone behind of the hills so the bay is in shadow and quiet dark due to the cloudy weather,  but we saw 10 Penguins, love there calls, but I was amazed at how slow they came up the beach and over the rock, I assumed they would leave the water and rush up to their hide away, but they took nearly 1 1/2 hours, by this time it was really to dark to get decent shots,  now a few spits of rain so headed back to the camper, will be down here 1st shooting light and wait, bbbrrrrrrrrrrr it will be cold.

HMS Wreck, Bluff

Came across this boat HMS was all we could read, certainly seen better days. This is not far from an old boat house at the Bluff.