I had a great sleep, it rained and the weather was cool. 27 degrees celsius on Tuesday, 21 Wednesday and 14 today :( Alexandra and Central Otago have the hottest summer, and coldest winter temperatures in New Zealand.
I got diesel in Alexandra, stopped by the old bridge and took photos and on to Clyde.
I felt sad thinking about all the history that was lost with the creation of the lake behind the completed dam. I do remember that apricot growers lost orchards too and were, I think, relocated. New Zealand has young history but it is rich in recent colonisation. The buildings that remain in Clyde are in stone as there were no trees but plenty of stone and the Scottish settlers were skilled in this form of construction. I may be totally wrong in thinking it reminded them a little of home.
Walking among the buildings that remained from the dam construction is taking a step back into time.
During construction, the adjacent rock was discovered to be microfractured, because of an earthquake fault running underneath the dam site. The dam was redesigned, losing a sluice channel and cutting its generation capacity from 612 MW to 464 MW. A slip joint was built into the dam to accommodate 1–2 metres of potential ground movement!
I was expecting to drive through Cromwell but the road bypassed it. I had many stops thus far so didn’t detour, I can catch to on the way back to the coast. I also missed the Bendigo Bakehouse, another for next time.
The countryside was changing to rolling, the type I like, fertile and great for sheep and dairy.
The Linda Pass was an easy rise to 971 meters (3200 feet). I stopped at the lookout and was not amused to see several well dressed, older men, overseas tourists, publicly urinating then one stubbing out his cigarette and leaving it there, in front of me.
As I wound down through the pass the multicoloured lupins became more frequent and the sun came out. I stopped for photos (and a poor selfie) and also stopped at Omarama to take a photo of the ram.
It was an easy drive to Twizel and I went on on past the turnoff as the mountains were gorgeous; Mt Cook/Aorangi was nearly perfect. And there was blue sky and sunshine!
It was great to see it from the other side, I hadn’t seen the mountain, New Zealand’s highest, since Lake Matheson on the West Coast. I stopped for photos on the side of the road and had a close shave with a bus. I was well over the outside line but another bus was coming the other way. Eek. I can’t understand why they haven’t put a decent and safe pullover there, there is plenty of room. No doubt there is a good reason. On to Lake Pukaki, perfect, with just a slight breeze rippling the water.
You can see why I am so fond of this area, why I came back.
After getting a few supplies, I settled in to Lake Ruataniwha Motor Camp, had a crayfish dinner and went for a walk along the lake. The hills behind, as expected, were greener than in April and the lake was higher.
A two hour drive had taken me 7 hours 🙂 , a most enjoyable day.