The turn off to the Lake, depending which direction you are coming from is ...
If you are coming from Culverden and heading south, the turnoff is on the right hand side just past the historic Hurunui Hotel.
If you are driving from Christchurch and heading north, the turnoff is on your left at Waikari, then drive through to Hawarden and turnoff to 'Lake Sumner'.
The first part of the road is tarseal where you'll travel past diary farms.
Further on, the road turns to gravel. It's a well maintained road and suitable for 2WDs as far as Lake Taylor - to continue on from Lake Taylor, you'll need a 4WD.
We were surprised with the traffic we met. I stopped counting after we pulled over to let 20 or more vehicles past.
Some station horses grazing in a roadside paddock were enjoying the warm spring sunshine.
The road, which can be narrow in places, winds beside the Waitohi River and twists it's way up Jack's Saddle (500metres).
Near the summit, the view overlooking the Hurunui River was spectacular.
Driving down the vegetation changed to manuka, and some native bush.
After crossing a small, wooden bridge we stopped to have lunch and let the dogs have a run around (yes, dogs are allowed - we checked).
Paddy being forever hopeful that he could have a swim - but it was too swift.
|Surveyors Stream flowing into the Hurunui River.|
Around the bend of the river some kayakers and rafters paddled through. It's a grade 3 river with a nearby sign suggesting it takes 3 hours to kayak to the Balmoral Irrigation inlet or 8 hours to the Hurunui Bridge.
Further on there were places on the side of the road where cars were parked, perhaps their owners were fishing, on a day tramp or maybe staying overnight in one of the many DOC huts.
Merino are a breed of sheep known for having some of the finest and softest wool. They have crimped fleece and the males have curled horns. Even though Merinos look grey, their fleece is bright white just underneath.
Merinos are a resilient breed and can be farmed in the South Island's high country. The natural characteristics of their wool keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
One paddock had over a dozen massive bulls grazing, I asked Bernie to stop so I could get a photo of them. They are such a majestic animal.
Hereford and Angus bulls - popular for beef and resilience in harsher environments.
After driving for an hour we arrived at Lake Taylor. A chilly nor-wester was blowing a gale. We stayed long enough to take a couple of photos and to let the dogs have a run. The wind was so strong it blew Paddy's ears out horizontally.
It would be a great place to spend a few days, as I'm sure this camper was doing. There was no sign of anyone - perhaps he/she was out fishing. Lake Taylor is known to be good for fishing.
On the drive home there was much less traffic. Just time to enjoy the stunning scenery.
The riverbanks were lined with wild kowhai.
We stopped and watched some more kayakers on the way back. There were also several cars parked in various parking coves along the river. The Hurunui River has Chinook Salmon and brown trout - the season is all year round with a limit of 2 salmon and 2 trout.
The dogs loved checking out the scenery, the smells and animals.
The cows were as interested in us as we were in them. This one was feasting on the spring flowering rapeseed. Rapeseed is a bright yellow flowering member of the mustard or cabbage family grown here as a break crop for cows. It can also be used for vegetable oil and biodiesel.
Hereford cattle are a beef cattle breed, widely used in many different climates, primarily for meat production. The Heredford's temperament is more docile than other cattle breeds making them easier to handle.
I'm not surprised the wind was so chilly with the scatterings of snow on the mountains.
To get home we took a detour through Hawarden and Waikari. The dogs were pleased to be home and the rest of the evening was spent relaxing.
The day finished with a gorgeous sunset - a nice end to our stay at Balmoral.