Monday, 24 July 2017

Lake Opuha Reflections

Catch-up, mid June 
A blog short on words, long on photos!

Lake Tekapo township on a very cold and frosty early winter's morning. 

After a very cold night at Lake Pukaki we had an even colder night at the NZMCA Park in Lake Tekapo. It was -5c outside at 9am, a very cold and miserable morning when the sun isn't shining!

I crunched my way through the frost laden grass to the lake. The dozens of water puddles dimpled across the rocky mud flats were frozen solid. 

In the other direction, looking towards the Southern Alps, the mist rose from the warmer lake water. Black Swans & Canada Geese huddled together in groups along the shoreline.

We had stayed hitched up once again so as soon as we had the van ship-shape we pulled out, heading north and taking it very carefully over Burkes Pass in case of black ice. We had another lake to visit, one we hadn't stayed at before but had passed nearby many times, on our way into and out of the MacKenzie Basin.

Lake Opuha is a 700 hectare man made lake built as an irrigation reservoir for the surrounding farmland in the Fairlie basin. The lake is located 12kms from Fairlie and is very popular in the summer for fishing, boating and watersports. There are three freedom camping areas located around of the lake.  

We checked each one out and decided on the Hayes Road camp at the top of the lake. We were once again the only silly buggers camping and had the place to ourselves.

It was very cold and very still outside- perfect for some winter reflections on the lake. (Remember to click the photos to enlarge them.)

The Two Thumb Range separates Lake Opuha from Lake Tekapo.

The sun made a brief appearance through a gap in the darkening clouds, just as it was due to disappear behind the mountains.

The new autumn grass on the  hills across the lake turned a beautiful emerald green in the golden glow.

The golden hour, that hour before the sun sets has the most perfect light for photography.

It's too hard to choose, I love them all!

Half an hour later the setting sun turned the cloud formation above into an amazing ripple of white, gold and grey.

 And then it was gone. A perfect reward for enduring a very cold day. 


  1. Its certainly a photogenic lake when its calm with reflections. Great pics.

    1. Thanks Alan, I think it would be lovely in the middle of winter too, surrounded by snow.

  2. Hi Shellie,
    I am enjoying your blogs; particularly the one about the trip up the Ahuriri valley. So much so, I am planning a trip up there in my bus to explore the area during late winter (aug 2017). Just watching the weather and the roads to avoid getting stranded by a snow dump while up the valley. Have you visited there during winter? I see you are not to far away even now. Any thoughts on the best source of local road conditions in the valley? The hunting lodge perhaps?
    Thanks for the photos. Love them.

    1. Hi Steve, glad you're enjoying the blogs. I think you'll just have to play it by ear and see what the weather is up to just before you intend to go. I'd imagine it will be covered with snow at the moment, especially after the last weeks of snow, it's at the bottom of the Lindis Pass so if you hear the Pass is closed or there's a snow watch for it you'll know the Valley will be similar. I would think the road would be 4WD or chains only if there's heavy snow still on the ground. I know I stuck my nose down the road a couple of winters ago when I was looking for snow photo opportunities and could only go 50 or so metres before it became too slippery. You could try the lodge for information, I just follow numerous weather sites and Facebook pages. Good luck!


Thanks for taking the time to comment, it's much appreciated.