A surreal surprise – Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake

Guilt from overindulging at a buffet lunch at The Hermitage pushed me up the track* toward the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake. It was hot, the landscape was barren, overindulgence had turned energy into lethargy ….. and then I saw it – the surreal ice green lake, my guilt had served me well.

The melting Tasman Glacier created the lake, glaciologists predict it will eventually disappear. The glacier flow to the water looks more like an undulating sheet of brown gravel than ice as the glacier is coated with rock and debris. However you can see patches of white on the … Read the rest

A short, steep climb to Astro Cafe, Lake Tekapo

If you’re staying at Lake Tekapo Holiday Park or are visiting Tekapo Springs there are walking tracks nearby that take you to the summit of Mount John, and the glass house style Astro Cafe.

There’s a choice of two tracks – a steep one hour climb, or a longer gradual climb. I chose the one hour track which took 45 minutes with a couple of stops to rest the screaming calf muscles. The first 30 minutes of the walk is shaded by tree cover, the last 15 minutes is exposed*, the trees disappear to reveal the view that makes Astro … Read the rest

Bannockburn Sluicings

If you like unusual landscapes the Bannockburn Sluicings near Cromwell are a rugged collection of cliffs, pinnacles, caves and gullies created by gold sluicing. At Stewart Town you’ll see the remains of a stone house, and an old orchard planted in the early 1900’s that still produces fruit.

Take water and wear sturdy shoes, rabbits will keep you company as you walk the tracks through the ‘badlands’. (Allow two hours, walk information is included in the Walk Cromwell brochure along with Bendigo).

Remains of a stone house and orchard at Stewart Town ………… Read the rest

There are rabbits in them thar hills

I gave up counting rabbits around Bendigo once I hit 50 – they were everywhere. I wasn’t surprised when I read that a pair of rabbits can potentially breed to 12 million in three years!

Rabbits were released in the South Island in the 1850’s, by the late 1800’s they had stripped the land in some parts of Central Otago to such an extent that farms were abandoned. Methods to control the population included harvesting for meat and skins, a rabbit canning factory was opened in Cromwell in 1915, receiving 10,000 carcasses a day was common.

There was a change … Read the rest

Take a walk with words

Take a walk with words to celebrate National Poetry Day …..

Haiku Pathway, Katikati
Sandwiched between Robert Harris Cafe and Hammer Hardware in Katikati you’ll find the main entrance to the Haiku Pathway.The haiku are engraved on boulders along the path that follows Uretara Stream ….

Words on Walls in Napier
Many of Napier’s streets are named after poets, it seems a natural progression to write Words on Walls….

Janet Frame’s words (above) are on the wall in Theatre Lane near The Kitchen Table Cafe and Community Art Space.

Words on Walls is an ongoing project, visit the i-SITE … Read the rest

Seals, Crayfish & Albatross – South Island Wildlife

There are quite a few accessible wildlife colonies in the South Island, some are free, although DOC always appreciates donations to help with upkeep of tracks and facilities.

Fur seals – Tauranga Bay & Cape Foulwind, Westport
A short walk from the car park at Tauranga Bay takes you to a viewing platform to see fur seals. As the name foulwind implies, you may well smell the seals before you see them. A zoom lens helped us get the best photos. For a longer walk, take the Cape Foulwind Walkway. (Seal viewing free)

Fur seals & crayfish – Point Read the rest

Mitchell’s Gully Goldmine and the coastal road south to Punakaiki

At Mitchell’s Gully Goldmine, 20 minutes south of Westport, I received the most concise description of gold extraction I’ve heard yet, it was worth visiting just to hear it.

Mitchell’s Gully is a family owned mine, a sign says it was last worked in 1914, I didn’t get the chance to ask whether the family still chip away at it, I’d be tempted if it was in my backyard.

You can walk around the mine site at your leisure and enter the shafts and tunnels, you also get to hold a heavy handful of gold. Take a torch if you’ve … Read the rest

Weird and wonderful short walks in Takaka

Weird – The Labyrinth, Scott Road
The Labyrinth consists of a maze like pathway through limestone rock formations. Pick up a brochure at the entrance (or Takaka i-SITE), it helps you find formations that to someone look like The Kissing Pigs, a Troll Bridge, Stegosaurus and plenty more. We’re wondering if the person who identified the formations was high on something other than life at the time. Then there’s the smurfs and plastic toys along the way, we’re probably just not imaginative enough. 

We could kind of make out The Indian’s Face, maybe. Still, it’s an unusual attraction worth a … Read the rest