Archives for posts with tag: South Island

We are now well and truly into Spring in Central Otago, the snow is melting on the tops and the weather has become a little more unsettled as Winter and Summer battle it out between themselves. Fortunately we know Summer will be the victor. But credit due to Winter as it blessed us with huge dumpings of snow on the mountains, which gave us the opportunity to learn how to ski.

So, at the beginning of July with ski passes in hand for Cardrona ski field, and a little bit of gusto we started weekly treks up “The Mountain” as the locals call it. Mrs. E has never skied before and I have only done it a few times, so we were effectively learning from scratch. At first, it was really tough. There was tiredness and bruises, together with belly laughs and moments of thrill when we managed to stay up on our feet. It was a delight watching Mrs. E progress from a petrified jelly-legged beginner to a very competent skier. I never forget the day when she just “got it” and was going up and doing the slope like a yo yo – I just couldn’t keep up. It was lovely to see her having the time of her life.

We got to become good beginner skiers, skiing well on green runs and being a little bit scared of the blue runs. But, by jove we did it – we can now ski!

We are looking forward to Summer, but Winter has become our new best friend.

See you on the slopes again soon!

p.s. I love this photo of Mrs. E with friends Pri and Jo – happy times !

Liz and Priya and co

More pics below:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


The other day I decided to go for a “fell run” up Isthmus Peak. After all, I’ve done lots of fell running in the UK and I haven’t lost too much fitness right? Ah – WRONG.
Isthmus Peak is about 10 miles up the road from where we live, on the North West Corner of Lake Hawea. We can see it from our house and it just looked like all the other mountains. And that is the problem, all of the other mountains are BIG and I keep on forgetting that.

I set off from the lakeside and ran around Glen Dene station (a large farm), up a gentle incline to the West of the station. I was feeling in pretty top form at this point. “Easy, easy, E-A-S-Y”, I’m thinking to myself. And then, I hit the incline… running, turned to jogging, which turned to hand walking (hands on thighs, walking as fast as possible – not walking on my hands!), which quickly turned to a slow walk with an occasional run on section that had a more gentle incline. I started to give myself a bit of a hard time for being so SLOW. I wasn’t really taking in the height of the mountain and the incline. At one point I think I could have turned back, particularly as I knew I had a time limit as we had church later that day. However, something in me wanted to keep on going to check out the view from Isthmus Peak.

Once I had reached what seemed to be the first big summit, and which turned out to be the first of several blind summits, I bumped into the first hoomans of the day, who told me the summit was probably about 20 minutes run away, which it was. This spurred me on. On the way I passed the sign for the summit which indicated the height of the summit was in fact 1395 metres, bigger than Ben Nevis! This made me felt better, and together with a last minute endorphin rush and a lovely ridge run to the summit, I flew (almost literally) to the top. I took a few more cheesy photos and had my lunch at the summit, and took a picture of my Kendal mint cake (I don’t actually eat it, it is there for emergencies, besides it is too precious – thank you Julie and Hilary for your donations).
And then I ran down. The descent was hard work on the steep decline, but I got down pretty quickly.

This was great walk/run/run-walk/fell run/mountain walk – call it what you will.

On the way, I saw:
1. Cows about 2,000 feet up and higher
2. Those hard core merino sheep again
3. A stag – but I deleted the photo…
4. Cute, hardy alpine plants
5. A non-English speaking European couple who gave me puzzled looks
6. Views, views and more amazing views
7. Lake Wanaka
5. Lake Hawea
9. Hawea township
10. Tussock (lots of)

I also found some extra willpower, which I pulled out of the bag to keep me going.
“’‘Twas fun”, I thought when I was back in my bed at the end of the day…
“Never again”, I thought part way up…

Next time you’re down, let’s DO IT! (We will walk though…)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Long-standing friends invited over us to their holiday cottage in St. Arnaud for the week. They always make us feel at home and part of the family…

“What? You’re in a completely new country, you’re still trying to make friends never mind having long-standing family friends!”, that’s what you’re thinking… right? However, that’s what it genuinely felt like when we stayed in David and Pru Clarke’s bach at St. Arnaud, just on the shores of Lake Rotoiti.

If I’m completely honest, I chose it because it seemed a little cheaper than other bachs, it was near a lake, and it had a woodburning stove. We didn’t know what to expect, but in many aspects this place was a little gem!

The bach is nestled on the shores of Lake Rotoiti, which has crystal clear waters and is skirted by lush beech forests. The St. Arnaud ranges and Mt. Robert dominating the landscape wherever you cast your eyes. There are a network of tracks through the beech forests, which are rich in honeydew – a food source for kākāriki (parakeet), kākā (forest parrot), tūī and korimako (bellbird). Even the elusive kiwi can be found here. In short, this is paradise – heaven on earth.

The bach itself was pretty much what it said on the tin, “a cosy cottage” as advertised on the book-a-bach website. I’m not great with history, but this place must have been pretty old (built in the 1930s to 1950s?), and fortunately nothing seemed to have changed from when it was first built. The photos below speak for themselves, but the wooden floors, traditional country kitchen, and dark wood panelling made you feel like you were stepping back in time to when prior generations of the Clarke family came here on summer retreats. There was a bach log book, which told of fun- and adventure-filled family holidays. Books, jigsaws (see Liz diligently working on one), and games were all freely available to peruse through, play with, and enjoy. Our most favourite item in the bach was the log burning stove. The Spaniel worshipped it, we revered it. It made the cold winter nights cosy and warm.

If I’m being honest, I did have my first bout of homesickness here, when I realised I couldn’t share the magic of this place with family. That felt a little sad, so this post is for all family and friends – check out the pics, perhaps you can come and stay here with us when you pop over? I am sure Dave and Pru would make you feel VERY welcome…

Thanks Dave and Pru

This slideshow requires JavaScript.