Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Perfect Day in the West

Lake Kaniere, West Coast. August 2009. Ajr
I'm a little short on time this morning, so I'm bringing you some pleasing scenic shots from the West Coast. I've never been a huge fan of the West Coast of the South Island - for a start there is the foul, constantly wet weather; but I have to say all that was blown into the wind over the last few days. I spent three days in Hokitika and every one of them was brilliantly warm and sunny. I drove 19 kilometres inland from the coast on Sunday - for the first time ever - and came upon Lake Kaniere. As you can see from the photos here, it was perfect tourist-snap weather.
Lake Kaniere, West Coast August 2009. Ajr Lake Kaniere is the second largest of the West Coast lakes after Lake Brunner. It's eight kilometres long and two kilometres wide and is 195 metres deep. I drove through the Kaniere Scenic Reserve - fern-filled, dark, mossy, mysterious - intent upon driving right around the perimeter of the lake. The road turned to gravel and became narrower by the minute and as I wound around each bend, I felt like I was driving into a film set from 'Lord of the Rings.' I was just thinking how awful it would be to break down in the middle of this remote, silent, slightly forbidding area, when I rounded a narrow bend and came face to face with a mass of fallen trees blocking the road. My heart sank. I'm not good with heights and given that the road fell away, straight into the lake on one side and into a wide, muddy 'gutter' on the other, I wondered how I would ever get out. I sat there for a few minutes, hoping some miracle might happen, that I might be rescued by some gallant bushman but in the end there was nothing for it but to try and turn the car around myself. I broke into a sweat and about 36 tiny turning movements later, I was facing back the way I came. I must say I felt rather intrepid and I glowed with pride as I headed back to civilisation. Small things like that please me I've decided. One thing is for sure though, I won't be trying to circumnavigate Lake Kaniere again any time soon!

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