Lake Ruataniwha to Geraldine


Lake Pukaki, WOW!

From the mountains almost to the coast. Today isn’t long, driving wise but I will want to stop and take photos of the various landscapes.

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Lake Pukaki is beautiful place for photography on a sunny day with no wind! It’s the largest of three roughly parallel alpine lakes, the others are Lakes Tekapo and Ohau. All three lakes were created when the terminal moraines of receding glaciers blocked their respective valleys, forming moraine-dammed lakes. The glacial feed to the lakes gives them a distinctive blue colour, created by glacial flour, the extremely finely ground rock particles from the glaciers. Lake Pukaki covers an area of 178.7 km², and the surface elevation of the lake normally ranges from 518.2 to 532 metres above sea level.

Charlie A6-3

Hell-skiing on the Tasman Glacier Note: This is not me 🙂

Dasha and I climbed to view the Tasman Glacier that feeds this lake.It wasn’t the best of days, weather wise (or for me expending large amounts of energy 😉 ), but well worth it. It is a much more spectacular glacier to view than Fox and Franz Joseph, as you look down on much of it, whereas with the other two you stand below them looking up.


Sir Peter Jackson chose this part of the Southern Alps as the setting for ‘Lake-town’ in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

On to Lake Tekapo, the most touristy place we went to. It’s tiny but famous, for the church of the Good Shepherd (such an appropriate name). and the statue of the sheep dog.

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Dasha managed a sneaky photo (not this one) – no photos allowed 🙂

In the 19th century, Scottish shepherds came to work on the pastoral runs of the eastern South Island. The high country could not have been farmed successfully without the border collies they brought with them. To honour these ‘canine Scots’, a statue of a collie has been raised at Lake Tekapo.


We looked at the tourists shops, queued for lunch and I saw some lovely sheep statues.

The landscape changed dramatically after Burkes Pass, leaving the McKenzie Country behind.


St Patrick’s church at Burkes Pass.

At Fairly it’s a left turn onto SH79 to Geraldine but I want to stop and look at Fairlie. I remember driving through, it was so pretty.


There is a statue to James Mckenzie, a New Zealand outlaw who has become one of the country’s most enduring folk heroes. A shepherd of Scottish origin, he emigrated to Australia in about 1849, arriving in Melbourne where he purchased a team of bullocks for carrying goods to the gold-diggings. He managed to save £1,000 and moved on to New Zealand. In March 1855 Mckenzie was caught stealing 1,000 sheep from Levels Station, north of Timaru. McKenzie’s rustling helper was his faithful Dog “Friday”. The Mackenzie basin would have been a perfect place to hide these sheep, if only the sheep didn’t leave tracks for the shepherd and his two Maori boys to follow. After escaping his accusers, he walked 160 kilometres (100 miles) to Lyttelton, where he was caught by the police and subsequently sentenced to five years hard labour after being found guilty by a Lyttelton Supreme Court jury. He escaped from prison on at least two occasions, in May and June 1855, neither escape lasting more than three days, after which he was placed in irons and closely watched. In September 1855, the Christchurch resident magistrate investigated Mckenzie’s case and found serious flaws in the police inquiry and trial. Mckenzie was given an unconditional pardon on 11 January 1856 after spending only nine months in prison. After being freed, Mckenzie sailed for Australia but nothing certain is known of his later life.


It’s about 35 minutes to Geraldine, where I’ll stay with a friend, the only time I’m being social on my travels 🙂

6 thoughts on “Lake Ruataniwha to Geraldine

  1. This was such a spectacular part of our journey. Mt Cook and the Tasman Glacier were so beautiful even though it was windy and cloudy. Lake Tekapo had a statue of a thar to commemorate the introduction of this lovely animal into NZ. They soon became pests and their numbers are now control. When you hit Geraldine, give your friend a hug and kiss from me and make some popcorn for the middle child in my name!

    Liked by 1 person

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