It was a full day of activity today as we drove further from the West Coast over the rainforested Haast Pass to the dry climate of Central Otago.
As we drove alongside the Haast River we took several opportunities to stop and enjoy the pristine waterfalls such as Thunder Creek Falls and Fantail Falls, each with an interesting history.
This drive affords stunning views of both the southernmost end of the Southern Alps (Ka Tiritiri o te Moana) as well as the mountain ranges of the Mt Aspiring National Park.
The landscape changes dramatically between the West Coast and Central Otago - from rugged shores fringed by coastal green rainforest to hot and arid conditions, which is where we started skirting the shores of Lake Wanaka. Between Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea the landscape is just dynamite!! These azur blue watered lakes are fringed by a mosaic of colourful wildflowers including Sweet Briar bushes - a pink rose type flower, yellow Tree Lupins with a glorious fragrance, and colourful scrub bushes. Higher up the foothills and mountains is the arid looking tussock land - although on closer inspection even these are alive with colour. We couldn't help but stop every five seconds, as all this was backdropped by towering mountains.
Heading into the Christmas holiday season here in New Zealand sees many kiwi families setting up elaborate campsites of several tents and picnic tables enclosed in a makeshift tarpaulin fence in an attempt to fend off wind gusts and to provide some privacy. Kiwi's just love their backyards - it's part of their culture!!
Some are quite large sites on the shores of the lakes and it looks as though they are expecting a substantial gathering of people, probably between the days leading up to christmas until after the new year celebrations. In case some of you are wondering ... it is summer time in New Zealand.
On our way along the road to the renowned ski field Treble Cone (near the town of Wanaka), we watch a couple of paragliders drifting in the air on the thermals and wonder what sort of view they must have from up there with no barriers. Once they'd landed we decided to check them out and ended up booking a paragliding flight for the next day. We seem to be getting more adventurous the older we get - I'd never have considered this 5 years ago!!
We decide to finish the day by driving the Crown Range Road which runs (over the Crown Range) between Wanaka and Queenstown. We pass by beautiful tussock land and the Cardrona River provides the perfect conditions for growing wild lupins in shades of pink, purple, white, and yellow. Once on the Queenstown side of the range, we have a stunning view of the Kawarau River valley, The Remarkables Mountain Range and rows of vineyards below. We stopped off for dinner at a wonderful Thai Restaurant in the historic gold rush village of Arrowtown, before heading back over the range to Wanaka - tomorrow would be an early morning paragliding flight and we needed to get back to camp for the night.
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|Title:||Kiwi Culture In Central Otago
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|Date:||17.12.06 - nzk3s5186 Kiwi Culture in Central Otago|
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