Saturday, 27 June 2015

On the Road to the Snow- MacKenzie Country

Another interruption to the time line....

Yesterday I drove all the way to Tekapo to check out the big snow dump that fell just over a week ago. I was hoping the hoar frost that had been reported mid week might have stayed around but it looks like it's well gone. But still what a wonderful sight all that snow is. Here's a small selection of photos I took along the way.

Approaching Lindis Pass summit-

Of the cars that were on the road, two thirds were rental cars and motorhomes- some with no worries about pulling off the road into the snow and ice even when an abandoned car was in full view.

Lindis Pass Summit with the road cutting down through the centre, it's all downhill from here. 

Approaching Omarama where overnight temperatures fell to a bone chilling -21c last Tuesday night.

Another snow covered church! I'm on a roll. Actually I was very nearly on a slip-slide.....I stepped out of the car and onto a big sheet of ice and I just about went arse over kite. Tricky, I learn fast though- step on the powder snow and you're ok, step in the slush and you'll have wet feet, step on compacted snow that's turned to ice and you're a gonna.

I wonder if you can work out what is making these icicles on the fence? You'll have to wait for another blog post before you find out.

The Ohau B Canal camp where we were parked up just a few weeks ago.

There's no way anybody can get into the park at the moment, under the thick snow is ice and at the entrance, it's very slippery and compacted. And no, I didn't drive over all this, I backed the ute into a space off the canal road which has been graded.

Looking down the canal, there were even a couple of fisherman on the edge trying their luck. 

And here's a picture postcard, the old Iron Bridge (seen in the last post) now surrounded in snow. It was a little late in the day and the bridge is in shadow, tomorrow I'll stop again and get it without the shade. 

I couldn't go past the Mt Cook lookout without taking another shot (and the clearest view of the three visits).

Aoraki Mt Cook, Lake Pukaki and snow covered rocks.

Really, it's a wonder there aren't more accidents, the lookout carpark was covered in snow, slush and ice and yet most people just roared in, not slowing down at all, drove on right to the end and half 'slid' into a park. The cautious ones (me and one other) drove in and parked near the exit. Even getting out of the car was a mission, a sheet of ice again. I had to sidle around the back of the ute holding onto the edge all the way.

The snow is getting thicker, the outlook prettier....

Irishman Creek again, this time under snow

Ah-oh....road stop ahead. Just past the Tekapo Golf Course (try finding a golf ball in this lot) the road was down to one lane through this shaded section where it was mostly grit and slush but starting to ice up again as the temperature dropped in the late afternoon, -4c on the car temperature gauge.

While waiting for our turn to move, I got out to take a photo of the cars lined up and the river below. It wasn't until I heard voices that I realised these goons were calling for me to take a photo of them. Friends of Prince Harry perhaps....

We crawled the last 5 kilometres into Tekapo, the road was icing over quite quickly and still there were cars heading in the opposite direction with a long way to go before they were clear of the snow. In fact as I took the photo of the Omarama Church, the road sign for those heading south over the Lindis changed from 'Winter Driving Conditioins- Extreme Caution' to  'Chains Required'- I wonder how many have been forced to stop in Omarama for the night.

Who would have thought I'd have been back here so soon- Tekapo's The Church of the Good Shepherd......still with a bus load of tourists swarming over it.

A sunny day ahead and I'm looking forward to slowly making my way back to Omarama where I'll spend tonight. This adventure is all about exploring the South Island in all the different seasons, and that is what I'm doing, 'Out There' enjoying it!

And just a disclaimer- all photos that look like they were taken from a vehicle were taken while said vehicle was stopped, albeit in the middle of the road. There was such little traffic on the road that this was quite possible without endangering anyone or any vehicle. OK......David, Mum. Dad, Rachel.....?

PS to my followers, apologies for the extra emails, I had a hiccup with the posting!


  1. Great to see you out and about in the snow , pretty cold in Canterbury as well, went to Lake Coleridge today for work, still need 4WD , 500mm snow still on ground in some places i go

    1. Doesn't it look spectacular! I love it. Probably no so good if you have live with it or work in it though. I didn't trust my 4WD too much, didn't want to get stuck out in the wops without a handyman about ;)

  2. Brrrrrrrr.
    The icicles on the fence...are from the condensation from the heater/air conditioner, or fridge outlet, from a certain 5th wheeler parked near to the fence?
    Glad I'm not their...too dangerous in my present golfing...they have day glow hi vis balls for this very occasion and hip flasks were invented for these very conditions...maybe.

    1. Very good Jimu, but no not from the 5th-wheeler- no way we could have been parked up in that. We'd have been there for the duration! Those glow hi vis gold balls would need to leave a stain on the snow as they entered it so you'd know where to head to. No glow half a metre under! :)


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