Lake Dunstan taken from in the car of the road between Cromwell and Alexandra
My sister and I like to go on road trips - we call them roadies. Last month we turned our noses south (usually our preference this being 'home country' for us).
We headed straight for the place where we spent our early childhood.
Te WaeWae Beach and the crumbling clay cliffs of Orepuki
The tide was in when we visited which meant that Monkey Island was an island and not looking like some large abandoned rock.
The sky was a dramatic one but not so clouded over that we couldn't see the snow-topped peaks of the Princess Range backdrop
The sea looked magical in the mid-day light.
After a cup of tea and a scone in the Orepuki Beach Cafe (the building where the cafe is located was once our great aunty Mary's home. It is always a thrill to sit there and recall past times and the history of the house).
From the cafe a favourite tree of mine is clearly visible. I well remember this tree, ravaged over the years by sea-salt laden winds. Behind it, the bush-clad Longwoods range.
This visit was tinged with sadness because our dearly loved Aunty Lorna Lee (who in recent years often accompanied us on our road trips) died in January this year. At the cafe she has left books and records she had of her beloved Orepuki for people to look through. There is also a book or two of mine there.
We visited the cemetery and sought out some of the graves of relatives and ancestors.
It must be one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world.
From there we headed farther inland to spend the night with our brother in Riversdale, on the way exploring more of Southland's hidden gems, with rivers quickly becoming an unfolding motif of the trip.
But more about that another time.