Why stick with one knitting project when you can have two going at the same time? Actually, I’ve got a third, but I haven't started that one yet, can’t be too greedy, can I. I've been knitting away on my second project from time to time for a change in pace. This one is a little boy’s baby/toddler jumper, using up some spare wool I had at home. Because it is small, I’m knitting the back and front at the same time. I’m almost at the front neck shaping so I’ll work on them separately from now on. Robin did ask me why I was knitting these two colours together. The answer, because I want to use up the odds and ends of my wool.
Little boy’s jumper
We are still enjoying our South Island holiday, stopping here and there for a few nights, and having a good look around. Moving on to Twizel, we stopped at another “photo stop” sign overlooking Lake Pukaki. These stops showcase some amazing views, so much better to stop safely for photos in an off road area, rather than try to get a shot out of a moving vehicle. This one had a huge car park, plenty of room for those towing caravans, and there were cars, campers and another caravan ahead of us. Just look at that glorious view, with Mt Cook (Aorangi the cloud piercer) looking back at us across the lake.
View across Lake Pukaki
In the afternoon we stopped at High Country Salmon café for a drink, what a busy place, heaving with visitors. Many of them were purchasing fish food to feed the salmon in the pools, this was a real favourite with children. After my coffee I helped out the local economy and bought some salmon from the fish shop to take back to the caravan. Have I mentioned just how much I love both fresh and smoked salmon?
High Country Salmon
The next morning we packed a picnic lunch and set off to see the clay cliffs near Omarama, up a long dusty drive on an unsealed road to reach the car park. The cliffs are on private land protected under QE2 Covenant, and there is a charge of $5 per car to go in the honesty box as you proceed through the gate. The information board explains that these eroded cliffs are formed by the active Osler fault line which continually exposes the clay and gravel cliffs. Wind and rain has eroded into the canyon walls, producing gravel debris which has been washed out during flash floods. The debris has accumulated in alluvial fans that slope down to the Ahuriri River.
The clay cliffs of Omarama
It was a stinking hot day, and crowds of people were slapping on sunscreen, hats, and setting off up the track. After a good look around, and taking some pictures, we returned to the car with the windows wound down, and ate our picnic lunch. But not before we asked one of the friendly visitors to take our photo for us in front of the info board. I’m sure I heard him mention “how cute” – we are a bit old for cute, I would have thought!
In front of the clay cliffs
We were reasonably close to the settlement of Omarama so decided to drive though and check it out. This place seems to be thriving, the Wrinkly Rams café was full of customers, they offer a Merino sheep shearing show as well, and we noticed plenty of other cafes and pubs doing very well too. No wonder the sign for Omarama features a Merino ram. Merino wool is a bit pricy but wonderful to knit with, and is used in high end knitwear.
Omarama town sign
The next day took us up and over the Lindis Pass which links the Mackenzie Basin with Central Otago, crossing a saddle between the valleys of the Lindis and Ahuriri Rivers at an altitude of 971m. Stopping at this sign at the top, we were now in Central Otago.
At the top of the pass
At Cromwell I just had to take a photo of the famous fruit sign, the huge 1.7 tonne apple, pear, nectarine and apricot landmark, designed by Otto Muller and completed in November 1989. Cromwell has a well-earned reputation as the fruit bowl of New Zealand. The ideal climate makes Cromwell’s cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums sought-after by high-end export markets, supermarkets, and visitors who call in to buy from the local growers. As we did, buying a box of delicious peaches, and a bag of new seasons apples, then queuing up with other eager customers to buy a “real fruit” ice-cream. Absolutely delicious – there is nothing better than an ice-cream on a hot sunny day!
Giant fruit sculpture in Cromwell
We had a big bag of laundry to do too, so off we went to find the local laundromat. Round and round and round it went, al last it was done. Holiday or not, some chores still need attending to.
Always plenty of this to do
Time to move on again the next morning, to head down to Lumsden, starting with a drive through the steep and winding Kawerau Gorge. There is a new bridge across the gorge now, built in 1963, but the old historic 1880 bridge has found a new life when the bridge became the site of the world's first commercial bungy jump. A.J. Hackett set up operation on the bridge in 1988, with people testing their limits by leaping from the equivalent of a 10-storey building held safe by just a giant elastic band around their ankles. No, not us, we are not that crazy!
We drove alongside beautiful Lake Wakatipu for some time – the name means “place where the demon lies”. According to Maori legend the curiously shaped lake was created when a giant demon captured the daughter of a Maori chief and took her to his home in the mountains. After struggling against a strong north-easterly wind, the demon lay down with his head near Glenorchy, his knees at Queenstown, and his feet at Kingston. The girl’s lover crept up to sleeping demon and set it on fire, and its body burnt deep into the earth. All that remained was the beating heart within a gigantic trench which gradually filled with water to form an enormous lake in the shape of the demon. We pulled off the road at a photo stop to capture some snaps of this beautiful lake.
Lumsden, our stop for the night, used to be a major railway junction with lines departing to all four points of the compass. Sadly those days are long gone now. The railway station is now preserved as a tourist information centre, and there are some heritage trains on display. Lumsden welcomes freedom campers and the railway station offers free parking for caravans and motor homes, sinks available for dish washing, toilets, fresh water and a dump station.
Who doesn't love an old train
Set up in the former station waiting room was “Five Finger Crafts”, a cooperative craft shop stacked full of all sorts of interesting things. Yarn, knitted hats, scarves and socks, crochet, baby dresses and bibs, woodwork and even painted stones! I purchased some home made jam, and hand made chocolates.
Craft shop at the station
Poor Gemma got into a bit of strife at the cap. She was minding her own business, happily outside on her lead, underneath the caravan in thee shade, when I heard a lot of hissing and growling going on. There are two cats running loose from the bus next door who obviously got close and upset her, so I gathered her up and took her inside our van. According to the rules,cats as well as dogs must be on leads outside. It took Gemma a while to settle down, and I was upset that she couldn't enjoy the sunshine in peace outdoors, because others don't abide by the rules.
Robin comforting Gemma