Thursday, 1 March 2012

First snow this year!

We were in some doubt as to whether we could get going this morning as there had been extremely heavy rainfall overnight. Most of us had sunk a good half an inch in the soft ground. Careful manoeuvring and we were off the grassed area onto gravel without causing damage.

We were up and away earlier than the rest of the gang as we wanted to visit Timaru before heading inland. We said our farewells to Geoff and Eileen who were parting company with us to head back north due to work commitments. We were told of a short cut into Timaru and we were there in under half an hour. As we approached the Port of Timaru we spotted a couple of parking area’s and worked out how to get into them.

We finished up parking alongside the Caroline Bay gardens and Sound Shell. We spent a good hour or so exploring the gardens which are a credit to the local authorities with of course the usual help of volunteers and the Lions Club. The walk through the bird aviary was an unusual attraction with many Parrots, Parakeets, Cockatiels and the usual Budgerigars.On the ground were a pair of Pheasants and some Quail.

Caroline Bay gardens walk through aviary.Caroline Bay gardens walk through aviary.Timaru's walk through aviary at Caroline Bay.Golden Pheasant in the aviary.Caroline Bay gardens walk through aviary.Just having a snooze.Lift from the gardens up to the town level at Timaru.Lift from the gardens up to the town level at Timaru.Caroline Bay Sound Shell.Caroline Bay Sound Shell.Whalers pot at Caroline Bay gardens.Whalers pot at Caroline Bay gardens.Caroline Bay beach and sand dunes.Caroline Bay beach and sand dunes.Fountain at Caroline Bay gardens.Fountain at Caroline Bay gardens.Other councils could look at this.Other councils could look at this.

After inspecting the whole area pretty thoroughly we set off for Lake Tekapo. We called into a service station for LPG and petrol but they couldn’t supply the latter as they were changing suppliers but they did give us a very deal of $25 for a 9kg fill of LPG, that’s cheap. However not far along the road we found a Shell service station for petrol for the generator. We eventually met up with the rest of the gang at the Church of the Good Shepherd at Tekapo where we had lunch and spent some time taking photo’s. We were surprised by the amount of snow on the mountains only to be told by a local that it wasn’t there yesterday. How about that, a special delivery just for our benefit. After a wander around town we made enquiries about places to park overnight and were given directions.

Church of the Good Shepherd, Tekapo.Church of the Good Shepherd, Tekapo.The view across the altar in the Church of the Good Shepherd, Tekapo.The famous view across the altar in the Church of the Good Shepherd, Tekapo.Memorial to the dogs that make farming the McKenzie country possible.Memorial to the dogs that make farming the McKenzie country possible.Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps.Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps.Hydro Electricity canal from Lake Tekapo.Hydro Electricity Canal from Lake Tekapo.McKenzie country with the Tekapo River.McKenzie Country with the Tekapo River.

Following these directions led to a bit of consternation because as we turned off the main road the first sign stated private road/road closed. However we carried on until we reached the top of a steep hill. By this time we had lost track of the other two who were ahead of us so we called them on the 2 way radio to see if in fact they were on the same road. It transpired we were but at the bottom of the hill was a bridge over the Tekapo Hydro Electricity Canal. As Robin and Geoff had both got over it we assumed it safe for us to follow. Once again there was another road closed sign but we opted to push on. On out right we had the fast flowing and very deep canal and on our left the road dropped away quite steeply in places down to the Tekapo river and the plains of the McKenzie Country. This was all a bit perturbing to Dot who wanted to go back but there was nowhere to turn around. Eventually we reached the end of the road where the road was indeed closed. There was a gravel track down to the river bed which Geoff took his 4 wheel drive and caravan down to check out the parking but found it hard going coming back out. Needless to say there was no point in our attempting such a venture. However there was a flat area of land just a little further on where we were all able to park up off the road.

It’s absolutely fabulous sitting here on a sunny but cool evening looking across the McKenzie Country towards the mountains with the tops freshly covered in the first snow of winter. The clouds are rolling back and as we are only several kilometres as the crow flies from the Mt John Observatory which studies the night skies, we could be in for a spectacular night.

Real rough camping alongside the Tekapo canal.Real rough camping alongside the Tekapo Canal.IMG_5866Our camp with Mt John and its conservatory in the distance.

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