Sunday, April 19, 2009

Autumn travels: trip to Dunedin, fishing in the Waitaki and a farewell at Awakino Ski Field in North Otago

In Central Otago I always maintain autumn is the best of the seasons with it's settled weather, fewer people and stunning landscapes - in other words a nice time to travel about.

Diamond Lake...

It's about 2 hours drive from home over the Lindis Pass to The Waitaki Ski Club's Awakino Ski Field. This is where I spent my formative mountain years learning not so much to ski, but how to look after myself in mountains in winter.

However these days I don't go back there much, but old friends invited me along this weekend to celebrate the life of my ex sister-in-law Belinda who passed away about 2 years ago up in Nelson. For various reasons many of us never got closure - hence this weekend's get-together.

But I took the long way to get there, via Dunedin. It'll be a year and half away, but it looks like my son may choose the University of Otago to further his studies in science, so I thought it a good idea to spend a day there showing him the campus.

The iconic original building...

I was amazed at the stone work - no straight lines, which must meant the blocks have been hand shaped from what looks like very hard rock...

Presumably a grand-dad keeping an eye on his grand-daughter...

We found it funny and almost Harry Potter'ish how the buildings seem to reflect their purpose when we saw this one - the Center for Innovation...


And a sight I've seen before - thankfully not often. I'm surprised given the odd unsavory Orientation Week that there are still sofas outside student flats that have not been made the subject of bonfires...

After some shopping we then headed up the coast and inland to camp for the night by the Waitaki River for some fishing, but I had more success making this photograph...

On Sat. afternoon we headed up into the St Marys Range and Awakino Ski Field to the lower accommodation hut to have a meal and stay the night in honour of Belinda...

It's a 35 min. walk up a road [snowed over in winter] to the lower rope tow [top left] and day huts...

As the evening was settled my old friend Julie joined Dougal and myself for a climb to an exposed saddle at nearly 6000ft...



The view to the south-east into some of the most remote country in North Otago: The Buster gold diggings on the left, the Kakanui Mountains center and some of the headwaters of the Otematata river on the right...

And to the north from lower down [taken this morning]: looking across the Waitaki river and into the Hakataramea Valley with the Kirkliston Mountains on the left...

I'll cover the farewell to Belinda in a separate post. Meanwhile have a good week dear readers.

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Blogger Ruahines said...

Kia ora Donald,
What a fine trip, a real variety. The campus at Otago looks really amazing. Reminds me of my Alma Mater, a bit, the University of Wisconsin where the original part of the campus is also fine old stone work, and literally drips with history. The building which housed my major was formerly the dormitory of John Muir the great American writer and naturalist. I always found that very cool and sense that same sort of aura in your photos.
Beautiful country up high as well, and reads as if it must have been a very reflective trip. Have a great week my friend!

April 21, 2009 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger Donald said...

Thanks Robb.

John Muir has written some great stuff which would be all the more real since you lived and breathed in the place where he must have formulated a lot of his thoughts. It's a nice energy to hang about in!

Yes, the trip was very reflective in many varied ways. Especially when I took my son to the the hall of residence his mum lived in for awhile. Oddly when having a tour we passed by old year photos in a hallway, and when I looked to see her name, it was her sister's that leapt out a me. I'd forgotten she'd stayed there too, and she was the one mentioned in the latter part of the blog, whose memory we were honouring. Seeing her name literally in a second among hundreds was very surreal!



April 21, 2009 at 1:15 PM  

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