Tuesday, 7 April 2015

A Quiet & Sunny Easter- Part 1

Famous last words…

Before I catch up-to-date on the blogs from the last week or so I wanted to tell you about our Easter. It’s a two part blog but I won’t keep you waiting tool long for the second installment.

Our visit started off well enough, we arrived at the DOC camp at Lake Kaniere on Tuesday well in advance of any campers coming to stay for the Easter holiday weekend. There's no camping allowed along the foreshore but there's plenty of views from up the back.

We had the place to ourselves the first night, we found an ideal area to set up camp; on the top level overlooking a section of the lake and a picturesque island just off shore. It’s a large camp site with multiple grassed levels with large bushes dividing up the various sections.

The lake is stunning, not a breath of wind to cause a ripple anywhere.

Just a few resident ducks including this female Paradise duck with her mate- they swim away the morning and then waddle up to the top level to graze on the grass and sunbath on the rocks near our van.

A male South Island Tomtit (Miromiro) calls our level and the level below his territory. He spends most of his time fighting his reflection in the car mirror. He does laps of his patch, around and around he flies, from tree to rock to picnic table to mirror to van to another tree and back to the mirror. I think he hopes that intruder will be gone by the time he gets back. Poor boy, another car pulls in and straight away he’s fighting that reflection too. His breast is a beautiful golden colour, he’s getting ready for the breeding season when it’ll turn even more golden. North Island tomtits have white breasts.

Then there are the usual suspects, about half a dozen weka, they wander about scavenging for scraps and calling loudly before scurrying off under the bushes chasing each other.

We do a bit of exploring on Wednesday and David inflates the dinghy later in the afternoon. He’s off fishing Thursday morning…

And catches his first perch which is released after he’s taken a photo. There are also salmon in the lake along with brown & rainbow trout. He has a couple of strikes but isn’t able to land any. He tells me that the lake is very dark, an inky blackness from the tannin stained water and it’s also very deep. Up near the top of the lake it’s also very pretty with flax and reeds reflecting in the still water.

On Friday we go exploring in the boat, right to the top where the reflections are. David trolls along the edges and I relax (as much as you can in a 3.5 metre dinghy).

We pass a bus freedom camping on the lake’s edge, they have an inflatable ready to go too. A little further on we see a person sitting on a large wooden seat & another skimming stones across the smooth water. I know there’s a lodge somewhere up near the top of the lake and wonder if they are from there. We later discover that there’s a short walkway down to the beach from the carpark at Dorothy Falls.

We stop on a beach to have lunch but can’t find a suitable log or rock to sit on and the pesky sandflies are annoying us again so we climb back into the boat and sit on the seats to eat lunch, floating just off shore in the peace and solitude…..until a fizz boat roars by. The sandflies still find us but don’t swarm as much as they do onshore. After lunch we move further down the lake and tie up to a fallen log. Directly behind the bush that fringes the lake is the beautiful Lake Kaniere Walkway (and mountain biking track); a 3.5hr 11km walk that follows the lake edge from top to bottom.

The cloud is closing in on the lake by the time we make our way back to the boat ramp and we can see a lot of activity along the foreshore.

There are now three caravans and their associated gazebos, BBQs and tables set up behind us and the level below us is also filling up fast…..

Ok, well it is Easter after all and this is the last chance many will have of going camping this summer. But it does seem rather busy all the same…..

To be continued……

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