This month had us travelling and enjoying more of the Mackenzie Country area before making our way back up through Fairlie and to Christchurch where we took a day trip up to Kaikoura. As always with New Zealand the weather has been extremely changeable this month; bitterly cold with snow on the ground one day and t-shirts a few days later.
It certainly got a bit chilly parked up by Lake Ohau with a few days of bitterly cold winds and constant grey low cloud, dramatic, but not human or camera friendly! You do have to have days like that though to really appreciate the beauty you are presented with when the clouds finally lift and the sun starts to shine.
As well as the plentiful walking opportunities we have also taken ourselves along back roads we've not ventured down in previous trips. This meant the long and spectacular road from Tekapo to Mount Cook on the eastern side of Lake Pukaki. Wow, what a beautiful drive that is along, seemingly, endless gravel roads with views that just keep getting better. Rounding the final corner and seeing the lake is always breathtaking which we have done many times, however, coming around a different corner for a different view for the first time was amazing. We have a few 'favourite picnic spots' but this new view down the lake to Mt Cook was nothing short of spectacular :-)
One of the highlights for the month was a very early start to get walking around Lake Tekapo and up to the Mt John Observatory. It's one of those walks where the higher you get the better the view is. On this occasion we decided to walk along the lake first and then down into the village through the trees. Starting the walk in fog was eerie, but, did make for some great photographic opportunities and I really had to remind myself to keep moving as I was supposed to be getting up the hill before it became too hot. It does make for a great loop walk, however, the trudge up or down through the trees is pretty boring so next time I'll go up via the lake and back down the same way.......get to enjoy the stunning views twice, perfect ;-)
As always here are a few pictures for you to enjoy of our most recent travels. Can't quite believe but the next time I write here it will be at the start of 2018, wow, where did that year ago. Hope you have a very enjoyable Christmas and a great new year.

Sunrise at Lake that is a pretty view just 20 meters from your front door!

Typical tussock grass found around Mackenzie Country giving it its distinct look. Lake Ohau is in the background.

Water flows along a river on one of our walks around Lake Ohau

The dejected look on the face of this worker pretty much sums up the cold, nasty and grey weather we had for a few days around Lake Ohau

After days of constant gloom the clouds gradually start to break up.

A lonely cloud drifts in over the snow capped hills surrounding us

The backroads around Fairlie revealed a myriad of well kept paddocks and buildings

Must be the time of year but every day seemed to have its own spectacular cloud formation

Irishmans Creek has a very famous structure on the main road which there must be several million photos of. This hut is also part of Irishmans Creek and was used back in the early 1900's by the workers creating the roads.

Parent keeping a watchful eye on the young ones

The view from our new 'favourite picnic spot'......the list keeps getting longer ;-)

Another area I will need to come back is the northern end of Lake Tekapo. Absolutely stunning here on a clear night.

Whenever we are in Fairlie I am fascinated by Lake Opuha which is only about 10 minutes out of town. This particular morning there was not a breath of wind which resulted in a mirror finish on this huge expanse of water.

It really didn't look like much as we crossed the bridge but this small river gave quite a few photo opportunities

Misty morning at Lake Tekapo was super eerie!

Just too funny so had to include this one :-D

Looking back down Lake Tekapo to Mt John for the start of a stunning night of astro photography

Sometimes, just sometimes, telegraph poles work well in an image.....the rest of the time I just curse them for getting in the way

Through a tunnel under the road to the river beyond

We're back on the farm, wow they've grown and still as curious as ever!

Slightly mad street performer at a town street fair in Rangiora

Another street performer, this time impressing the locals with his card tricks

A troupe of belly dancers came up from Christchurch to add some colour to the festivities 

With the coastal road under repair we had to take an inland route to Kaikoura, I was very happy when this view presented itself.

Great to be on the coastal walk again around Kaikoura and, from talking with the locals, it seems they are gradually getting back on their feet with the tourist trade picking up again.

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