May 6, 2017 … to complete the circle

The last place I described was Harihari on ANZAC day.


Lake Kaniere

The next few days after that, we did some exploration of the Lakes to the North of our bush hideaway at Pukekura. Lake Mahinapua, Lake Kaniere and Lake Brunner all offered their own brand of magic. Moody grey weather was the norm, but vitally, there was no wind, especially in the first half of each day.


Lake Mahinapua looking Eastward

The first lake you come to North of the town of Ross is Lake Mahinapua. I have been there before, and was not much impressed, but perhaps that was because a nasty breeze spoiled the surface of the lake in its stillness. This time we got lucky and it was glassy calm, if somewhat bleak and chilly.


Lovely Lake Kaniere on a moody morning

Lake Kaniere (above) was just breathtaking in its beauty. I got lucky in that I arrived moments before someone in a power boat went racing around to ruin the tranquillity of the place. Hard to imagine that for many years this lovely place was home to a huge, noisy  and very ugly gold dredge.

Dorothy Falls

Dorothy Falls near Lake Kaniere

We travelled Eastward along the lake’s Northern shoreline to Dorothy Falls which is tucked in a lovely glade just off the narrow gravel road. It’s not  a huge fall in terms of volume, but it makes up for that with its charm and isolation.


Hokitika Gorge where the Hokitika River emerges from the Southern Alps

From there we went inland to the South a little through Kokotahi and Kowhitirangi to see the startling turquoise water in the Hokitika Gorge. Apparently a combination of South Island schist, greywacke and icy water combine to produce this intense colour.


Lake Brunner dark and brooding

Our last lake while on the West Coast was Lake Brunner. Like the others, it is magical in the right conditions and sometimes a place of dark mystery.

Buller Gorge

Buller Gorge in the rain

And then it was time to move North towards our final Airbnb accommodation on this trip, in Linkwater, on the Queen Charlotte Drive. It’s a long (6.5 hours) haul from Pukekura, made even longer by rain and road works most of the way. Nevertheless this part of the West coast has a  wild beauty no matter what the weather, so I stopped briefly in the Buller Gorge to capture a sense of the place.


Lake Rotoiti in the rain

It was still raining steadily when we paused to eat our picnic lunch (in the car) at Lake Rotoiti near St Arnauds.


Pelorus Sound from the Cullen lookout

From there, the last long haul in our trip was down the Wairau Valley to Renwick, just out of Blenheim, and then up Long Gully beside the Kaituna River to Havelock, and around the many twists of Queen Charlotte Drive to our accommodation on the Mahakipawa Arm of Pelorus Sound.


The cows return to their paddock after milking … they seem to be on autopilot, and just follow the one ahead.

We enjoyed a wonderful restful four days there with mostly fine weather. A side trip to Nelson was enjoyable and I had to sample the wares at “The Mussel Pot” in Havelock which describes itself as “The Mussel Capital of the World”. And then it was time to leave. The morning of our departure was bright and cold with a strong mist on some of the paddocks. How could I resist these cows returning from their morning milking?


A new day in Anakiwa

Just along the road, we encountered the sea again at Anakiwa on the Queen Charlotte Sound. The conditions were stunning and I knew I needed to stop somewhere with a view. A small settlement called “The Grove” provided the perfect viewing spot. I think this shot is my all time favourite.


Golden start to the day

From exactly the same spot, looking to the East, I had to catch the fire of the morning as the sun brought the new day to the Sounds.


Morning mist at the Picton Marina

After a somewhat hazardous 30 minute  journey with multiple sunstrike places on a steep and winding road, we made it to Picton in plenty of time for the ferry. Some wandering around the waterfront and a coffee and scone in a cafe, it was time to say farewell to the South.


Leaving Picton on the Aratere

Despite dire warnings from various friends and rough conditions the previous day, our journey on the Aratere was wonderful.

And so ends our circumnavigation of the South Island. It was a wonderful experience, made all the better for me by the companionship and support of Mary. Our trip was to celebrate her retirement, and though she got some of the walks she wanted, I got the better of the deal with lots of photo-opportunities. She is my greatest treasure.



About wysiwygpurple

Retirement suits me well. I spend much of my time out making pictures, or at home organizing and refining my pictures. This blog provides me with a platform from which I can indulge my passion for improving my photography and at the same time analyze my thoughts about what I have seen, where I have been and what is happening in my life. My images set out to be honest, but that does not mean I have not adjusted them. I use software to display what I saw though the viewfinder to best advantage. My preference is for landscape and nature, and is mostly centred around my hometown of Wellington, New Zealand.
This entry was posted in Adventure, Cook Strait, Lakes, Landscapes, Light, Machinery, Maritime, mountains, sunrise, Weather. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to May 6, 2017 … to complete the circle

  1. brent says:

    i have read your blog Brian and viewed your images and may i say top marks and honours for capturing the treats the south island offers.

  2. DennisW says:

    It will be challenge to do better than the above, but I know you are up for it! ;- )

  3. nzvideos says:

    Some very nice images, Brian. I especially enjoyed Lakes Kaniere and Mahinapua plus Dorothy Falls. I think that your South Island visit has inspired you to find some real keepers. Thanks for sharing.

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