Mt Crichton Loop Track, Queenstown

During a period of hot summer weather, we chose to walk the Mt Crichton Loop Track, not only for its scenic and historical aspects, but also because it provided  shade.  The walk includes river, waterfall, forest, and lake views and passes by historic landmarks. The nine kilometre track took around three hours (including stops) from a minimum altitude of 383 metres to a maximum altitude of 604 metres.  It is accessed from the Mt Crichton carpark, about 11km from Queenstown on the Glenorchy Road.

View of Lake Wakatipu from early on the  track

We completed the track in an anti-clockwise direction. Although the walk is not strenuous, this avoided climbing a few of the steeper hill sections.

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Kepler Track – Brod Bay to Luxmore Hut

The Kepler Track is one of the nine Great Walks of New Zealand.  Situated in Fiordland National Park, in the southwest of the South Island, it is a 60km loop track that has been developed and maintained by the Department of Conservation. Normally it takes three or four days to walk the track, carrying packs.  There are three huts along the way, provided for sleeping.  However sections can be walked as day tramps.

In late November, in warm and sunny conditions, and with our day packs, we completed a section of the walk, from Brod Bay to Luxmore Hut. It is a  tramp of 8.2km (each way) and an altitude gain of 675 metres.  It took us under six hours of walking (return), including some food/water stops and time to admire the views.

Kepler Track map (click to enlarge)

Map source :


Water taxi at Te Anau

We began our day by catching the water taxi at 8.30am. It took us from the township of Te Anau across Lake Te Anau to Brod Bay, a ten minute trip.

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Ancient Clay Cliffs of Omarama

We wandered under the stunning ancient Clay Cliffs, near Omarama, in the Upper Waitaki River Basin, North Otago. Fantastic pinnacles and ravines, formed by natural erosion on the active Ostler Fault, laid down millions of years ago as ocean sediment.  There is a signposted road on State Highway 8, just north of Omarama, to access the Clay Cliffs.  There is an honesty box of $5 per car at the entry gate.

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Skiing Tahoe in spring 2017

After a heavy-snowfall winter, we arrived in Tahoe in mid March for spring skiing.  We based ourselves in South Lake Tahoe and skied mainly at Heavenly Ski Resort but with  visits to  Sierra, North Star and Kirkwood.  There are also other ski fields nearby.

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe, at an altitude of 1897 m (6200 ft), is the largest alpine lake in North America. It straddles the stateline between California and Nevada. (Click any image to enlarge.) Continue reading

Ohinetahi House and Garden

Sir Miles Warren’s house and garden in Governor’s Bay are a delight. With harbour views,  the present garden was begun in 1977 by Sir Miles, though there was a garden created on the some site in 1865 by one of New Zealand’s first botanists, T.H . Potts.  Some of the exotic trees and shrubs he planted still stand on the perimeter of the garden.  Sir Miles Warren is a well-known New Zealand architect, now in his 80’s.  He lives in the house and was working in his garden when we visited.  In 2012 he gifted the house and garden to the people of New Zealand through the Ohinetahi Charitable Trust.

Introduction outside the main house before starting the tour


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