Lake Mavora and local rare bits!

Lake Mavora at sunsetThis is my last week with some free time, so I decided to make the most of it, use my time well, and visit local places that I haven’t yet been to. We also decided to go on a camping trip at the weekend, our first one in New Zealand.

As part of my fitness attack, I took another walk up Forest Hill, it was a lovely afternoon and I can never get bored of that view. Along with that, as I always say, Anderson Park is stunning, and looks good all year round.

I thought the top of forest hill was as good a place as any for a video update on how I am doing at the moment!

The other places I went were:

  • Omaui / Omaui reserve (a wee hamlet on the Bluff peninsula)
  • Greenpoint reserve and the ship graveyard (Bluff)
  • Bluff Marae
  • Bluff Maritime Museum

Waituna Lagoon is down a long long road, but actually not far. Its a beautiful spot that I will definitely revisit with Mark and go on some of the walks, but when its slightly less windy I think!! The lagoon is separated from the sea by a thin sliver of shingle only. Sometimes, when this moves, the lagoon becomes a lake.

When I went down to Bluff, I stopped off at Awarua bay on the way. This is where I have been advised to swim, if I want to train in open water. It was a beautiful day but the tide was out. It is a shallow bay so best visited at high tide.

From there, I went to Omaui. Beautifully secluded spot on the coast, with its own wee beach, reserve and short walk to a cracking view from a viewing platform at the top of the hill.

Whilst I was there I also had a quick look around the Maritime museum. Of course, being the oldest settlement in New Zealand and on a treacherous stretch of water, there is some real history here, and a lot of ship wrecks! The Queen has even been here!

I also went to locate the Bluff Marae. It was all closed up but I wasn’t sure if it was ok to go into the grounds. So, for fear of offending anyone, I didn’t and stayed at the gates.

Here is a video of my whistle stop tour of Bluff.

The ship graveyard, Greenpoint reserveOn my way out, I went to the Greenpoint reserve where they have ‘ship graveyard’. It used to be an old shipping channel, but the deep channel was very narrow, so many would hit the rocks. On the way back to the car, I managed to catch a fantail. Its a flighty bird so I had to stand in silence and wait for it, hoping the guy I had passed earlier wasn’t coming back any time soon!

On Friday Mark was off work too, so we maxmised on the opportunity to go to Lake Mavora and camp. It is a rather remote place, but stunningly placed in the mountains with lots of tramping tracks and a camp site, so we thought we would give it a go. Almost 40km of gravel track, off the road after Lumsden, and you are rewarded with the view that is the photo at the top of this blog. Utterly breathtaking. There was a photo opportunity everywhere you looked.

We did not know what to expect with NZ camp sites but this one was unmanned. What does that mean? Well, there’s a bollard at the gate, you collect an envelope, put your money in and post it into the slot, keeping a receipt for your car. Can you imagine that working in England? I think not!

The camp site was basically some areas of grass set aside and sign posted. Dotted about were ‘long drop loo’ cabins (well stocked with toilet roll, may I add, and some even had hand sanitiser!) and picnic benches with barbecues for cooking on. You had to build your own fire, and could only collect dead wood from around the area.

IMG_4649So, we pitched our tent on the banks of the river, with the front door looking out onto the shore and the mountains. There was not another soul around and we had the light of the stars and the sound of the birds for company. Utterly fabulous. Mark has always been amazed that I will go camping, being a ‘glamping’ girl, but the ‘return to nature’ approach, no phone signal, it was all just perfect. We built a fire and sat by firelight drinking a beer and eating dinner. Well, he built the fire and I collected the wood – I was banned from touching it after flinging something on wrong that almost put it out! Bedtime a few hours after dark, up at sunrise, perfect. Except for the fact that it was -4 in the night and the tent had ice and frost on it in the morning! Thankfully the sun came out and it soon warmed up again!

We had to go tramping before we left, so after packing up, we left our car by a swing bridge (in English that is a suspension bridge!) and went on a 10km tramp around the south lake. I just cannot describe how beautiful it is around Mavora, it was utterly a pleasure to walk in the area. It was almost a shame that we had to leave. I would definitely like to return and do it again some time this summer.