Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Not Letting The Grass Grow On Your Roof

Usually when we go to Queenstown we stay with Robert's parents, this time we stayed with our son and his partner who are living in Queenstown for the first part of this year.

From the deck of the house they are staying in, you can look over Lake Wakatipu towards Cecil Peak ...

and his brother, Walter Peak. Kā Kamu-a-Hakitekura is the Maori name for both peaks.

'Maori overlanders first came to this area via the valley systems of Southland and Otago in search of food, fibre and stone resources. They hunted the large, flightless moa and they discovered sources of pounamu (greenstone) at the head of Lake Wakatipu. Expeditions into the area continued up until the middle of the 19th century, but permanent settlement was generally limited to seasonal occupation. A few groups stayed two or three years before returning to the coast.
The Gardens Peninsula was the site of a Moari Pa occupied by the people of the Katimamoe tribe. Maori tradition tells of the first woman to swim across Lake Wakatipu -- a distance of some 3km. Hakitekura, daughter of Tuwiriroa, a Katimamoe chief, asked for a kaueti (firestick) and a dry bunch of raupo. She bound them tightly in flax to keep them dry. Early the next morning, determined to out-swim all the girls in the village, she set out across the Lake. Hakitekura navigated by keeping an eye on Cecil and Walter Peaks whose tops, touched by dawn's first light, "twinkled and winked" at her; hence their name Kakamu-a-Hakitekura (the twinklings seen by Hakitekura). She landed on Refuge Point (Te Ahi-a-Hakitekura) and lit a fire, which is why, so the tradition goes, the rocks there are black to this day.
In 1860 William Gilbert Rees and Nicholas Von Tunzelman came to the area to develop its pastoral potential. They burned much of the beech forest and shrubland to open up grazing land. Later, trees such as Douglas fir, larch, sycamore, willow and poplar were planted to "enhance" the "barren" landscape. Fir has been favoured by local conditions and is now rapidly invading the alpine tussock lands. Today, wilding tree control is necessary to protect the natural landscape'. (This information was found on Queenstown Directory and Information Website)

Ready for breakfast Sunday morning.

Chris' job for the next while is with the wilding control that is mentioned in the information above.

Unlike this roof we spotted in Glenorchy, Chris and Jenny will not be staying long enough to let the grass grow on their roof.

This was a section in Glenorchy that Robert's parents used to own and where we as a family, when our sons were small, once pitched our tent. 

From Glenorchy, we drove to the entry to the Routeburn track. At the entry point to the track, there is now a free camping spot run by DOC, NZ's Conservation Department. 
From there we walked through a forest of red beech to Lake Sylvan.

Chris has had experience as a tour guide in this area and knows a lot about the plants and wildlife. I always learn something new. This small sapling is a Celery Pine so called because its celery-shaped leaves smell of pine. 

A keen photographer, Jenny always hears a camera getting ready to take a photo. (Robert and Chris were too busy looking for fish ).

Lake Sylvan contains small native fish and brown trout. The fish were easy to spot in the clear water.

It was peaceful sitting in the mossy shade and listening out for birds. Among the birds we saw, were fantails (piwakawaka), bush robins and the rifleman (titipounamu) which is generally considered NZ's smallest bird). 

Summer moss, as dry as toast.

In order to keep on the right track, we were following the orange plastic pointers.  The blue arrows, on the other hand, indicate where traps are located to catch stoats. If stoats (an animal introduced to New Zealand) were left to do their thing, they (along with cats and rats) would in a very short time annihilate New Zealand's bird population. 

If you are enticed by the idea of  forest walks and / or adventures in a mountain-and-lake resort, you might want to pay a visit to Queenstown, New Zealand. And if you need somewhere to stay that is affordable and welcoming, think about booking in to stay at the hostel Jenny and Chris are running during their stay in Queenstown. Here is the link.


Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

I thought I recognised the views - we used to live at the entrance to the Arawata track in the A frame up the hill. I went searching and I was right it is Sunshine Bay.
When I used to take the children over to Walter Peak on The Earnslaw, my husband used to hold up a large mirror as we came home so we could see him and wave.... and we sued to walk the loop down the track and back home via the beach each day. Great for the legs.

paris parfait said...

What an absolutely gorgeous place! Your son is lucky to spend time there and you are lucky to visit! Thanks for sharing these lovely photos, Kay. And thanks for your thoughtful comment and good wishes; much appreciated. We are hopeful, but it's a long road ahead.

A said...

What a beautiful place -- could stare at your photos for hours.

Kay Cooke said...

Fi - That's so cool! Thanks for telling me about that special memory of yours. It's a special little corner of Queenstown.
Tara - Thank you for your visit and wishing you and D well.
A - Hi! Thanks for your comments. You should come on over! :)

Michelle said...

LOVE your photos! I have just spent a month in New Zealand and it's in credible. I've been to all 7 continents and 33 countries nad this is one of my favorite places!

Clocking Out

 I have been neglecting this blog for some months. I think perhaps I should face facts and accept that it is indeed time to retire this blog...