Central Otago

It’s been a lazy week moving through the wonderful scenery of Otago. Steep mountains covered in low brown  tussock and grasses.

We left Glenorchy at the north end of Lake Wakatipu and travelled down to Queenstown where we filled up with diesel and emptied our black and grey water tanks in a busy petrol station. Took a bit of maneuvering the caravan to accomplish this task and managed to get a toot from another motorist who was a bit nervous we might put a dent in his vehicle.

Onwards to Arrowtown where we spent the night. Arrowtown is another old gold town. Very picturesque. Judy took a long walk around the meuseum while I sat nursing my tired and stiff body. Afterwards we had a nice coffee. I was still suffering from carrying that rucksack up the Routeburn Track. Fortunately I’m now fully recovered.

Next day it was off to Cromwell through the Kawarau Gorge. The river flowing swiftly far below us on our right hand side. Part way through is a small hydro electric power station getting its water from the Roaring Meg 10 metre dam. There is an excellent viewing platform where the station and Kawarau River can be seen.

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The power station is on the right with the water from the Roaring Meg going through it and into the Kawarau River. Above the station is a dead forest of Wilding Pines. These pines were planted innocently on farms ect for wind protection ect and the seeds have been quickly spread over vast areas and become a major problem displacing the native tussock, unique herbs, and grasses. And also the insects, lizards, and birds that thrive in the native flora. They are also a threat of wildfires. There are local groups intent on ridding the country of this invasive weed. The pines were first evident to us on the hillsides of the Marlborough Sounds when we came through on the ferry. Large areas had been poisoned but even larger areas were very healthy.

We continued on following the Kawarau River until it flowed into the Dunstan Lake, formed by the Hydro Electric Dam at Clyde. once known as Dunstan. The Kawarau merges with the Clutha River in the lake at Cromwell. We stayed in the NZMCA Park in Cromwell for three nights and explored Cromwell and the surrounding towns and areas. Judy was born here so we visited the maternity home, now a retirement village. Her father was raised on an orchard down the Cromwell Gorge up to the age of five in 1916, when a sudden wall of water thundered down from the heights above on a cloudless day while they were sitting eating their lunch and completely destroyed the house and orchard. Judy’s father remembers standing on the veranda as the flood roared past and through the house. He remembered the piano being washed out the front door to be lost in the Clutha. We have a photo at home of a rock, the size of a small car, inside the house. So we visited the museum at Clyde where they have some information on it. We also took a trip over to Alexandra and to Roxborough where we stocked up on a huge box on apricots. I think I’m nearly done with apricots.

Wednesday we set off for Lake Wanaka. Headed round the lake to Glendhu Bay  where we found a delightful camping ground and spot right down by the waters edge. There has been only a faint breeze blowing at times and the lake is so still and beautiful. We have decided to stay another night. Judy went in for a swim after we arrived. Several other campers have also been swimming but not myself. Looks nice but I have convinced myself it’s probably very chilly. I’m happy watching the swimmers, little swirls on the surface from fish and some little pied shags diving for the same fish.

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Judy swimming in Lake Wanaka

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View down the Glendu Beach.

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Moonrise over Lake Wanaka seen from our caravan.

3 thoughts on “Central Otago

  1. You’ve got to the really stunning country now. Cliff. If you get a chance try a night or two at the Lowburn lakeside park on Lake Dunstan on the way back to Cromwell. About 3kms north of Cromwell town on the way to Wanaka.
    It’s totally free and has a block of toilets. There’s also beautiful fresh spring water via standard tap fitting available to campers at the Lowburn community hall.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Bill, Yes we looked in there and were going to shift from the NZMCA Site but in the end didn’t. If we go that way we will. Heard the NZMCA have another site coming on. Don’t know the truth of that. Cliff.

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