Cromwell district then heading to Milford.

Sunday 12th August.

Checked the weather  again and still best to flip the itinerary and go west. Before we left we went up the farm with Liz to bring the sheep down to lower paddocks, the dogs do all the work, thank goodness, very steep country. Was a lot of fun. Said our cheerio’s for now and thanked them very much for everything, such nice people, country folk. It rained most of the way from Omarama, we are staying at the Holiday park, Kingston Motels,  excellent park, we had hot showers and did a wash, changed the cloths and ate, feel like a million dollars now. :) Called into Cromwell on our way thru. Woke at 7.45 am Monday today and we are all set to move. Rained all night, bitterly cold. Tui’s singing in the trees, such a lovely sound. We came thru Lumsden, popped up to my dads grave. Checked out the camping ground to see if Jason was there, the place is owned by a new chap who has changed things and I think it will grow.  We carried on to Lake Manapouri, weather still no good so not wasting money on the boat trip so went onto Te Anau.  Had a cuppa in camper and a bite to eat down by the lake. Heading off to Milford. Stopped at Mirror Lakes no mirror images to windy but still pretty, cloud still low so goodness knows what it’s going to be like at Milford. We stayed the night at a doc’s camp, $5 a head, Deer Flats, just lovely, we tucked into the bushes by the Deer stream to keep out of the wind. Sand flies are still bad. I cooked up a feed to last another two nights, weather trying to clear, one more night may just help for tomorrow, at Milford. We had this wee bird a bush wren hanging about it was so funny. Then 3 bunnies came out of the thickets just before dark, they were playing around and I could see one of the parents way down the road. The chemical long drops at the doc camps are really clean and no smell. Filled up the hotty tonight, its dammmmmmmmmmm cold.

Old Cromwell Town This is Old Cromwell town been preserved, they flooded the actual town and moved what they could to higher ground.

Fruit Town, Cromwell

Cromwell is well known for it’s magnificent fruit. Their dried apricots are my favorite.

Lake Dunstan

Such a tranquil spot, Lake Dunstan was made by the flooding of the Clyde and Clutha rivers for the Dam  at Cromwell.

Omarama and Clay Cliffs.

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.

Clay Cliffs 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.

Clay Cliff Canyon

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.

Lake Benmore and Benmore Dam.

Thursday 9th August.

The night was very cold, winds off Lake Ohau and very low cloud. Got up to a wee bit of blue sky and hope of some fine patches. Took some shots of the morning view and did a walk among the trees along the shore line, really pretty and peaceful. On my way back to camp the clouds started to open up and what a sight, white mountain tops and the blue of the lake, just amazing. We got cleaned up and headed off about 11 am. Heading up towards Lake Benmore and then around to the Dam. The canals along the way are a beautiful sight they are so big and the water is so turquoise.  We stayed at the Wild life reserve free camp. This is just outside of Benmore Dam in one of the arms of the river. Midges not to bad here, but still need the repellent. The weather has turned out not to bad, low cloud but sunshine, so how good is that.

Lake BenmoreReal pretty place Lake Benmore, picnic area’s and camping is allowed. Reflections were beautiful.  Such a quiet and peaceful place BUT the midges were BAD. :( drove us crazy even with repellent on.

Jetty at Lake Benmore

This is the Jetty at Lake Benmore.

Benmore Dam

Bemore Dam

This photo was taken from the bottom of the dam, really a lovely place to visit, lots of history here, my son and I have fished on the banks here before it was totally flooded back in 1987 and it was lovely then.

View from top of Benmore DamThis is the view from the top of Benmore Dam, it is huge.

Still in Lake Tekapo area.

Wednesday 8th August.

6.50 am still black outside, sunrises about 7.45 am at the moment. Rained most of the night that I could hear and very cold. Well wasnt long and then I realised that snow was falling onto the windows of the camper, so we went out and it was very steady fall, we could see thru the fog that Mt John had a fair bit of snow  laying on the ground from last night. So we got packed up and went down to the Good Shepherd Church and got heaps of shots, was so awesome. We fuelled up and started heading up to Mt Cook, there was snow everywhere. Got to Mt Cook where the turn off is to go to Tasman Glacier, low cloud and white with snow beautiful sight. It is 2.45 pm by now.The cloud covered Mt Cook but we did the walk up to Tasman Glacier, not a good view due to cloud but did see the icebergs floating in the Tasman lake. We have run into a couple from Tekapo when staying there so was nice to catch up with them. It started to snow heavy while we were up the tops so made a start to get back down to the car park. We then headed to Twizel, had a quick look around and carried onto Lake Ohau. We stayed at the Round Hut Bush Camp, freedom camping. Going to be very cold tonight so we tucked the camper van up under the trees, we are also under a mountain range.

Lake Ohau

Lake Ohau, very cold night but look what we woke up to, magic, and it’s free camping 🙂

Lake Tekapo.

Monday 6th August.

We had a fair bit to do and got away at lunch time. We headed down the coast road towards Temuka and turned onto Highway 8 for Tekapo. The weather is not great at the moment, cold, cloudy but meant to clear. Got some reasonable shots as we arrived into Tekapo of the Good Shepherd Church, then headed to book into the van park there, their prices have gone up, bit exe now at $40 plus $2 showers, bit steep really, but the park is nice, they have thermal hot pools at the end of the park in a new complex, hence the price increase I reckon. Well we got settled into the park, got some tea organised and the weather did start to clear. After tea we went out and checked the sky, ha-ha perfect for star trails, by this time it was 10.30 pm really cold, but had fun.

Got up at 6 am to see if a sunrise was possible and didn’t know what to expect, so we went out to Lillybank heading towards the ski fields and the moon was still in the sky as the twilight was in opposite direction, really beautiful. The sunrise was not fantastic but the prior was. Got back to van park about 10.30 am, had a feed then went out to Lake Alexandrina and Gregory. Got some shots out there, cloud starting to roll in and the rest of the day was foggy.

Snowing at Tekapo

Could not believe how beautiful cold could be, this is taken at the new look out at Tekapo on the main road.

Early Morning Tekapo

Went out to Lillybank road on the way to ski fields and it was pre dawn, time was about 5.45 am, as the sun does not rise until 7.45 am and it had to come up over the mountains to where we were.  Frost on the ground and very cold but no wind as yet.

Lake Tekapo from Lillybank Road

Good Shepherd Church in snow, Tekapo

Good shepherd Church in snow, always wanted to get a photo of this in snow. Magic, while it’s snowing didn’t feel that cold until we got a bit wet.

Christchurch, The beginning of our trip.

Sunday 5th August.

We arrived into Christchurch airport at 11.30 pm, got thru customs etc and was heading out to catch the hotel shuttle and my cousins were there, crazy people, but they came over to hotel and we all had a cuppa and chattered until about 1 am, they left and we got to bed as it was an early start in the morning. Up and off to pick up the camper van that was going to be home for the next 27 days. Once that was all sorted we headed to my cousins and spent two nights with family, setting the camper van up and getting the groceries, a phone, buy some Internet etc. Had a look around at the devastation of the suburbs, really sad to see, just like a war zone, roads are hard to navigate as some are still under repair; some are only one way and single lane and full of big holes.

Time of the earthquake, Chchc

This is just one of the buildings that we saw on our look around Christchurch, it even has the time of the earthquake like it’s frozen in time. The cracks and the gaps in the walls are real bad, so much scaffolding around the city and suburbs for peoples safety.

This is just one of the buildings that we saw on our look around Christchurch, it even has the time of the earthquake like it’s frozen in time. The cracks and the gaps in the walls are real bad, so much scaffolding around the city and suburbs for peoples safety.

Earth Quake Damage