Wednesday 6 September 2017

Snow Over Ashburton Lakes- Canterbury


So, the conversation the next day went something like this... "Lets pack up a lunch and go for a tiki-tour to find some snow......I know where there's a lot!"

Which is how I found myself  back at the snow covered road to the Ashburton Lakes for the third time in a couple of weeks! There'd been a fair bit of traffic over the road since yesterday, if it had looked like this I might have carried on.

A winter wonderland with snow as far as the eye could see. 

And we were worried the other week when there was a sprinkling of snow on the road between Lake Camp & Lake Clearwater.

Much of Lake Camp was frozen.

Here's a panorama shot of Lake Camp- click to enlarge

The village at Lake Clearwater also looked very different.

And Lake Clearwater looked absolutely spectacular, with just a tiny section yet to freeze.

We had lunch at the picnic table overlooking the lake and village... 

...watching families play in the snow...

...and tourists on this LOTR tour exclaim in amazement at the view and snow when they surrounded our picnic table for a 10 minute break. They couldn't have picked a better day to to do the tour to Mt Sunday. This is the vehicle we saw driving to Mt Sunday's lookout when we travelled to the end of the road.

We watched as a couple of ice walkers crossed the lake in one direction and then make their way back again. We held our breath when they looked to be getting very close to the unfrozen water on far side at one stage (See the tiny black dots dead centre? No? Then click to enlarge!)

I couldn't quite twist David's arm to head to the end of the road again so after lunch we headed back down the road...

...where I convinced him to take the 17km road to Lake Heron, another one of the Ashburton Lakes.

Well, we did have a bit of time up our sleeve and we hadn't been able to fit it in when we visited the Lakes the first time.

We had a short interruption when a NZ Falcon/Karearea flew ahead of us for quite some distance before landing on a fence post. I carefully crept up on him along a farm driveway, while David fielded questions from a lovely old gentleman who stopped to see what we were doing.

And then we carried on through some stunning countryside...

...past untouched paddocks of pristine snow...

...until finally Lake Heron came into sight.

We drove past a couple of cars that could go no further due to an icy section through some trees and then past Arrowsmith Station's Lake Heron camping site which is closed for winter. Which is just as well....brrrrr!!

And on past a fishing hut down in a dip opposite Arrowsmith's farm buildings and Lodge...

...and out onto the edge of the lake again, where David backed the ute into the snow and we sat on the tailgate having a cup of  coffee and taking in the beautiful white and blue landscape spread out in front of us. It wasn't long before another couple of vehicles decided we must have the best view and stopped too...

Once they left, I was able to walk to the edge to take photos of the lake including this 'bad' panorama of the lake- it doesn't have such a pronounced curve in it! Although someone must have liked it because it was 'Explored' on Flickr, my photo sharing website and had over 99,000 views!

More photos of Lake Heron...

Further up the road I spied a whole lot of what I call 'tussock sheep', a weird phenomenon we've seen several times before...

...but none with so much snow weighing them down.

While I took photos, David drove up the road to find a turnaround, unfortunately we didn't have time to drive to the top of the lake.

 We headed back down the road just as this side of the lake disappeared into the shade as the sun dipped behind the mountains behind us.

We had one more stop on the way out at another of the Ashburton Lakes; the Maori Lakes, a series of small lakes and wetlands that form a nature reserve and wildlife refuge. Going by the amount of rocks and broken ice we weren't the first to check them out.

And one last photo, can you see the car on the road across the way? Proving yet again that New Zealand is such a small place, it was driven by a photographer acquaintance of mine, Francis, who we last saw in Arthurs Pass a couple of years ago when he saw our rig parked on the side of the road and stopped to say hello. Today he was out taking photos with his wife and at first wasn't sure it was us because we weren't towing the 5th-wheeler. His suspicions were quickly confirmed though when he saw me get out with my camera!

And that was high country Canterbury, it was time to return to Christchurch.


  1. It's difficult to believe this is in New Zealand, it seems like somewhere else. Beautiful photos, especially those fabulous lakes :)

    1. We think that often Carol; sometimes it is hard to believe we're in NZ, especially when the South Island's scenery is so diverse. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

  2. You did go to Lake Heron! Breathtaking winter scenery! I must come back...


Thank you for taking the time to leave a message, I love reading them! All comments are personally moderated by me and I will post and answer them as soon as possible, Shellie