Being a long weekend, we took the chance to head west to visit our son C in Haast, South Westland. On the way we stopped at a picnic spot by Lake Dunstan to have a coffee from the thermos. On the banks the poplars and willows were nearing their peak of autumn colouring.
There is a marked difference between the dry, autumn tinted landscape of Central Otago and the green of the West Coast. Once we reached Makarora, it was only a matter of minutes and we'd gone from brown and umber, to deep jades.
C was away fishing when we arrived, but the owner of the house where he boards made us welcome. C arrived a bit later with crays and blue cod.
Pungas ( a type of giant fern) like these are a common feature on the West Coast.
ABM and I went for a walk down the track to the small bay. It looks idyllic - and is - but the photo doesn't show the sandflies (a bit like midges) that feasted on any exposed flesh (hands and ankles mainly.) We were obviously fresh meat!
These large trees are called kahikateas and are incredible for their hosting of other plants and trees - their tall trunks festooned with vines, roots and berries of other plants and trees. Our walk through a kahikatea forest was an amazing experience. Usually it's birds that impress me, but it turned out to be the trees this time.
Sadly there are fewer and fewer birds because of introduced pests such as stoats, ferrets, possums and rats. C works for DOC who work real hard trying to eradicate these predators.
Tussock is being trained to seek out and lead his owner to protected kiwi in a block of native forest. He's holds a stick in his mouth that he hopes someone will throw for him to fetch. He lives to fetch.
On the way back home it was back into the autumn colours ...
ABM took this photo of the sun as it slipped out of view behind Lake Wanaka.
We spent the night in Cromwell, driving away from there through a misty morning.
A wonderful weekend. C said, come back and stay longer next time. We will. Whitebaiting season sounds like a good plan ...