Ran out of dry road

Sorry I haven't been posting. My iPad and Ray's blog don't get on. Anyway, enough of the technical stuff, when we left off, we were stuck in Haast in freezing wet weather. Fortunately, it didn't let up, so we booked a bus to Wanaka, cancelling our next stop over the Haast Pass at Makarora. We were umming and aahing about staying there when we received an email to tell us that the cafe would be closed on Monday night. After checking out the food supplies at the local Haast shop, we decided we couldn't stand another night of cheese and bikkies, and so finished our bike ride at Haast. I was so pleased that we did. The climb to Haast Pass in the rain would have been a nightmare, and we had another 30kms after that to ride into Makarora, which consists of bare fields and deer. If only the hunters were still with us, we could have shot one for dinner.

Rachel kindly met us in Wanaka, where it was still raining heavily, and took us up the hill to the most wonderful house. It is set in parkland with 360 degree views. Tuesday dawned fine and clear so Ray, Rachel, Jimmy and Abi (who is apparently a natural at skiing) went up the mountain to ski, whilst Rosie and I walked down the hill to play in the parks and drink cofffee. Rosie is such a sophisticate, but really she was after the marshmallows that accompanied her hot chocolate. Ray only broke one rib skiing, but he's still good for riding.

The weather has been stunning and the view out the lounge, over the lake to the snow capped mountains is also stunning. We went for a short ride yesterday, which proved to be a little longer due to Ray's map reading skills, to the Outlet, which is the start of the Clutha River. Today we went about 35 kms to Hawea Lake. On the way we went along the river track - big mistake. I don't know why we would think that NZ tracks would improve along a river. Big rocks, sneaky little hills, gravel etc were not my idea of fun. However, we had a great coffee over looking the lake. It was fabulous. We decided to take the highway home, which saved our marriage and about 45 minutes.

The troops have arrived back from the slopes and we are now enjoying a glass of wine for Alex's birthday and just enjoying the view over the lake. I'm sure Ray will provide you with some pics.


Is that a gap in the clouds I see?  Don't tell me it's going to fine up and we could have ridden  over the Haast Pass. The weather cleared up for a while but the road itself was pretty narrow, curvy and steep and may have been quite dangerous on bikes. Does it sound like I am trying to make excuses for myself? Quite possibly, although it may take some psychoanalysis to find out.


One of many waterfalls to be seen whilst travelling up to the Haast Pass. The bus had stopped a little way up to allow for drivers to swap buses, which gave us time to walk the 5 minutes to this one. Numerous waterfalls could be seen from the bus. It does demonstrate how steep the valley walls are on the way to the top of the pass.

Cloudy Haast to Makarora

Once we crossed the top into the lakes country, we came upon the top end of Lake Wanaka, the second longest lake on the south island at around 80klms long.

Rose Statue

Rose demonstrating her statue technique. What was most impressive was her jump from the ground to reach this point.

Apple Blossom

The blossoms are stunning along with the weather, here in Wanaka. There was a line of these trees at a local park just at the bottom of the hill where our lodgings were. It was beautiful out in the sun but once you get into the shade or it is windy, it is freezing cold. Tops around 8 deg.

The Strachan Pisasale Family

James, Rachel and the girls with me on our way down to the town centre. Although the weather was great in Wanaka, at Cardrona where the skiing action takes place, there were 50klm/hr winds and -5 deg max. So today is walking day.

The Pisasale Family Rachel and James

In the old days, James may have been identified as down on his luck, having to wear jeans with holes in them. Now the faux homeless look is ubiquitous.

Dogs in Lake Wanaka

A couple of German Shepherds enjoying a "bracing" swim in Lake Wanaka. I don't know the temperature of the water, but I would say it would be something between 10 deg and frozen.

Rachel and completed puzzle

I am not sure of the attraction of jigsaw puzzles but everyone got involved in piecing together this scene of Bruges (Belgium} from the seventies. My contribution was to place one piece in the correct position.  Rachel was obviously very happy with her contribution. The owners of the house are obviously fans of 1970's games and publications. Other titles on hand were Family Book of Hobbies (try stamp collecting, creating a dark room, or rock collecting) or the game, Connections (New Zealand's new family board game - of the 80s)

Hawea River

Taken from a special foot/cycle bridge going across the Hawea River. Although you can clearly see the rocks at the bottom of the river, it is at least 50cm deep and flowing very fast. It is incredibly clear.

Bridge over Hawea River

A view of Hawea Flats. You may be able to make out a couple of poles in the middle of the picture (there are two tracks leading to that point). This is the bridge from which the previous photo was taken. It was a simple suspension structure with pretty basic engineering. It would be no exaggeration to say that you could probably build it with stuff you bought from the local Mitre 10 store.  It is less than 1 metre wide with cyclone wire for the sides and some 50mm pipe acting as a rail and a binder to hold the whole thing together.

Hawea River Start

We made it to the end of the river, but alas it is not wild at all as the  whole thing is completely controlled to ensure that they generate electicity at the right time. They use Lake Hawea as a topping up mechanism for Lake Wanaka from which the Clutha River flows. There are two large hydro stations on the Clutha River, so it uses quite a bit of water. Lake Hawea generally empties somewhat during winter, but the snow melt in spring/summer will take it back to optimal levels.

NZ Sparrow at Lake Hawea

I talked Brenda into riding up a short steep hill and round a sharp bend was a hotel with a cafe. Our perfect spot on the verandah overlooking Lake Hawea was obviously appreciated by the local wildlife, in this case a small sparrow like bird.

Back Deck view over Lake Wanaka

We thought the view from the verandah of the Lake Hawea Hotel was great, but the view across Lake Wanaka from the back from our house was pretty good as well



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