Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Winter Has Arrived


Blog posts will be a little intermittent over the next few weeks as we'll have limited connection as we move through Haast Pass and up the West Coast at a snail's pace. Well, I'm hoping it will be a snail's pace but if the weather is anything like it has been the last three weeks, we'll be through there quicker than we think.  It has rained 14 days out of our last 18; we shift and it rains, we shift and it rains, we shift and it snows! 

You'll recall we went to Moke Lake, south of Queenstown a couple of weeks ago. There we had one fine day out of 5 before we decided to move back to Queenstown to wait for a weather change before heading to Glenorchy. Well, it rained for 3 out of 4 days there, luckily we managed to fit Skippers in before it got too muddy and well before the snow that has now fallen.

The day before a forecast fine day, we left for Glenorchy in the pouring rain so we'd be set to go when the sun came out. Which it did, we had 2 fine days out of 5 there and managed to fit in a trip around the lake to Kinloch and to the end of the road where Greenstone/Caples tramping track leaves from. This is the view across the lake from near Kinloch.

We also managed a trip out to Paradise (LOTR famous now) and a walk around Lake Sylvan while the sun shone. I will do blog posts on our Glenorchy activities soon.

But for most of the time it rained and rained and rained some more. We haven't had to top up our tanks with tap water for a few weeks, collecting it off the roof and awning every wet day. While most of the time it rained, we stayed indoors (power and free wi-fi allowed us both to catch up on computer jobs), we did manage to walk the Glenorchy Lagoon walkway. 

Rees River- Routeburn Valley back left, Rees Valley back right
It was pretty dismal and the rain started again not long after we headed out but it was good to get some fresh air into our lungs albeit cold fresh air.

I wanted to capture the wharf shed in the sun but we didn't get back in time. I just managed to shoot it as the sun was going down here.

Finally, the rain just got too much for us and we headed back to the pouring rain! Which meant we didn't get to see any of the beautiful scenery along the lake, there or back.

We were intending to stop at Lake Hayes again for a couple of nights so we could do another road trip that was on our 'to do' list; up the Remarkables ski field road, the one that appears in many of my Queenstown photos, zig-zagging its way up the side of the mountain. But it was torrential rain by the time we drove through the town and we decided that when the rain eventually did stop there was probably going to be a whole lot of snow up there. We'd left our run too late for this trip. Our Indian summer had really come to an end.

After lunch, parked on the edge of a very soggy and miserable Lake Hayes, we carried on through the gorge to Cromwell. And with a howling gale blowing and horizontal rain, we decided it would be more sheltered at the NZMCA Rotary Glen Park, than the more exposed Lowburn just down the road.  Well, it was as miserable as sin there. It rained solid for two whole days, rivers of water flowed through camp, mud coated anything and everything and the cloud and fog pressed down on us in our little hollow. And when there was a break in the cloud we could see the source of the cold; snow on all the nearby ranges. We also decided we're not the only mad buggers 'Out There' either.  

On the third day the sun came out and I'd had enough of Rotary Glen. Did I mention the leaves- great waves of leaves blew across the park with every gust of wind, catching on the fence and then washing over the top, breaking free and tumbling down to gather at the lake edge.

We still had a couple things to do in Cromwell so we shifted to a more settled Lowburn...

...where we had the place to ourselves. Very different to the last few times we've stopped here when it's been bumper to bumper RVs! It was a lovely afternoon- snow all around us, warm sun and calm air...

 ...but look what we awoke to this morning, thick pea soup! A forum friend told me, 'Fog is just clouds too darn lazy to get out of bed' I like it!

It took all morning but eventually the fog rolled back to reveal a reasonable day; it was another couple of hours before it lifted off Cromwell town at the bottom of the lake.

I decided to drive through to Queenstown this afternoon for one last visit before we leave for the West Coast. After all the rain, low cloud and cold temperatures, I wanted to see how much snow had fallen and see if I could get a few photos. I'm please I did, it was lovely to see familiar scenes in a different season. Here's the Crown Range behind Arrowtown- 

Lake Hayes and The Remarkables reflected in an icy pool- we parked here for lunch the other day when it was pouring with rain. We could hardly see the lake.

And this might look familar; the Lower Shotover River with The Remarkables behind... 

I took the same shot 4 weeks ago; there's been a lot of water under the bridge since then.

Upstream, with Coronet Peak on the far left...

And 4four weeks ago, isn't nature a wonderful thing?

And one last photo of Lake Hayes from the other end, looking towards Arrowtown and the Crown Range.

I love the Queenstown area, it's so beautiful with stunning scenery in every direction, it's just a pity it rained so much for us on this, our fourth (or is that 5th?) visit. But still, I managed to squeeze in some great shots and I'm sure we'll be back through here again in the not too distant future. 

It's time to see what the West Coast can throw at us. 


  1. That's remarkable! Can't believe my eyes when I see the Crown Range fully covered in snow. Is this a little early? Likely to have big snow again? Your rainy days pay off finally:)

    1. It is alot of snow, and no its not too early. In fact it's a bit late after our long hot summer, although it is heavier than expected.

  2. Last month when we went up The Remarkables Road, it was almost paved up to the ski field. Ultra easy to go up now if you compare with the previous gravel road.

    1. Yes, I've heard it is. It's now closed unless you have chains because of all the snow. I'll have to wait until summer now, to do that trip.

  3. Fantastic! Lovely pics Zappers... I was looking for help on TA with an intended trip again to NZ again and came across your blog. Keep up the good work!
    SimmoSimmo (fan of Hobbits and L&P! ;)

    1. Hi Tim! I remember you well. That was back in the good old days of TA, when there weren't too many offering up their opinions and 'advice' ;). Glad to see you're returning to the Land of the Long White Cloud. If there are any particular areas you're keen to visit, check out my Flickr photo albums- the link is at the top on the right of the blog. If you see a photo that interests you there'll normally be a blog link in the description where you read all about it. Or just use the search box on the right side too. So what's on the menu this time? Pineapple Lumps, Bluff Oysters and no doubt a fair bit of wine! Thanks for stopping by.


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