Narnia!

A public holiday for Queen’s birthday on Monday so off we went for a picnic in the mountains. Castle Hill has already featured in this blog but it looked so good I just had to put it in again! A fresh dump of snow over the weekend saw it transform into a winter wonderland (and sledging ramps!) We initially intended to hike up Helicopter Hill but only walked for one hour due to too much snow on the track. Next time we’ll conquer it!

Walk to find ancient Maori drawings

Within the Weka Pass Historic Reserve is a small collection of Maori pictures first investigated in 1876 (although no one can pin point how long they have been there). A fine walk up a steep hill and through large limestone formations. This walk can be found by heading to Waikari (North Canterbury), parking at the Star and Garter pub, crossing the road and heading back on yourself until you see the sign.

http://www.hurunui-gateway.co.nz/maori-rock-art

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Landscape littered with limestone rocks

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The route up (we think!)

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View of Mount Grey

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Thanks for the 1 minute warning 😀

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Lowly tree on a rock

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The wonderful Catlins

One week in the Catlins for some R&R after the rail trail – waterfalls, penguins, beaches, caves! Lovely scenery and, well, you can’t beat penguins! Personal recommendations would be Catlins River Station House for accommodation – a bach out in the wop wops complete with chooks to keep you company, no internet or phone signal to really get away from it all and lovely views of the farm. Lumberjacks cafe and restaurant also comes highly recommended for lunch or dinner.

 

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View from the bach

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House guests!

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Purakanui Bay

 

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The lovely NZ bush

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Cathedral Caves – well worth a visit

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McLean’s Falls

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Slope Point – the most southern point of NZ

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One lowly penguin coming in at Curio Bay!

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Nugget Point

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Sea lions playinging in the ocean

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Jack’s Blowhole

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Jack’s Bay

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Penguins coming in at Roaring Bay

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Awww!

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Hut on the left perfect for spotting penguins!

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Walking on the farm

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BBQ area at the Catlins bach

Day five: Omakau to Clyde

Final day of the rail trail had it all – sunshine, blue skies, fantastic scenery all rounded off with an excellent pub dinner!

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Tiger Hill ganger’s shed – an area used for filming Lord of the Rings

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Autumn colours starting to show

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What used to be the ladies waiting room! 

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Saw a skink!

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Clyde

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True!

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Clutha River

Day four: Oturehua to Omakau

Bit of a chilly start today! Didn’t last too long luckily and it was back to sunshine in the afternoon. Tunnels and bridges were great today…. as was the slice of cake in Ophir at the end of today’s stint 😉

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Ida Valley ganger shed – a welcomed spot in the biting wind!

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Poolburn Viaduct – all completed in 1904 with picks, shovels, horses and man power. An impressive feat!

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Poolburn tunnel number one

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Poolburn tunnel number two

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Coming into Omakau, the final stop for today

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Historic town of Ophir

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Our wee bach – “Ryan’s Cottage” named after the first family who lived there

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A lot of the buildings in Ophir are originals from when it was booming in the mining days

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Ryan’s Cottage – quaint!

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Our little sleepout