Sunday, February 25, 2007


Today I picked blackberries by the sea, the Tasman Sea. We have moved to the Southern Westlands where the Haast River comes out into the Tasman Sea having tumbled its way down through Mount Aspiration National Park. The blackberries were delicious, if a little tart, they would benefit from being on the bush another week or so, but what a treat picking blackberries in February!

Yesterday we drove from Dunedin to Cromwell on Lake Dunstan through Central Ortago staying the night at a boutique vineyard - they are due to produce their first wine this year, it looks a promising crop. We liked Cromwell, it has the best historic town precinct we have seen, lovingly restored by Cromwell Historic Society it is car free, hooray! Lake Dunstan feeds one of the hydro electric generating plants scattered about the lakes in the centre of South Island, the town predates this phase of development, going back to the 1860's.

We left Cromwell in sunshine and soon drove into cloud which made weaving through the mountain ranges an ethereal experience. They were different from Mount Cook mountains as they were heavily forested in the National Park - although we couldn't see the 3,000m peak of Mount Aspiring hidden in the cloud.

We headed for Haast Beach, which was like no other beach we have seen - it was covered with driftwood, not your average ocean driftwood though, this was grand scale, big tree stuff. We think they must all be washed down the mountains in the spring flood waters, taken out to sea and then returned to the land by the tides. We walked and walked and got blown to bits in the process. It was hauntingly beautiful, desolate, the ends of the earth.

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