Day 12 - Sun 15 Apr 07 - New Zealand
Out of the house at 07:20, and up into the hills heading cross country! First stop was Lake Clearwater we got there nice and early, and there was no one else around. The surface of the lake was so still it was like a mirror, got some great shots of the snow capped Mt.Potts reflected perfectly in the lake.
Back in the 4x4 and headed back to Mt Somer to fill up at a typical outback store. The weather is fab at the moment with clear, clear blue skies. On the way to 'Edoras' we got caught in a sheep drive, with a farmer in a 4x4 pushing his flock down the road. Eventually we just slowly forged our way through a sea of sheep
Lunch was a bread and cheese affair head off the back of the 4x4 on the dry part of a river bed! The river itself was running at a rate of knots, and looked very cold - there were a number of jet boats roaring up and down.
Then is was back on the (gravel) road and up into the hills again, took a pit stop at Lake Lydon, but it turned into a real one as I spotted we had a puncture. After a quick(ish) tire change it was more twisty roads past Castle Rock (a rock formation on the top of a hill that does look like a ruined castle), and Cheeseman Hill up to Arhter's Pass. The highest point we got to was 925m, just the other side of the pass at Otira there's a huge viaduct that carries the road down the gorge at a very steep angle.
There are local Parrots (Kai) that patrol the car parks here, and have little fear of humans. They will even get into cars looking for food.
The weather on the other side of the pass was cloudy, so we decided that it was time to turn back and head for home. On the way back the cloud/mist had started to drop, and was filling the valleys. Quite eery. Stopped off at Darfield for some Fish and Chips, and I nodded off while Trv just drove, and drove.
The landscapes today have been nothing short of spectacular, with massive mountains dusted at the top with snow, it's easy to see why Lord of the Rings was filmed down here, there was little CGI needed!