1 December 2017

Lake Alexandrina - MacKenzie Country

5am - the alarm went off. Here we are on one long holiday and I'm getting up earlier than I did when I was working. But it's easy getting out of bed knowing I'm off to take photos of the sunrise.
Last night I'd driven to Lake McGregor to capture the sunsetting and this morning I wanted to see Lake Alexandrina as the sun was coming up. The light at the start of the day and end of the day is beautiful - little wonder it's called 'The Golden Hour'.

I wanted to take Oakly with me and he was keen to come, but I  had to leave him behind as Lake Alexandrina is a DOC area that doesn't allow dogs.
I took a brief detour passed the 'Church of the Good Shepherd' to see if anyone was there at that hour. They were - at least a dozen people with cameras and tripods, waiting for the first glimpses of sunlight.
Getting to Lake Alexandrina is along the same road I drove last night - heading south/west from Lake Tekapo there's a sign indicating to turn right towards the Mt John observatory. 

After 10 kilometres, I turned off Godley Peaks Road, onto a gravel road leading to Lake McGregor (and then 500 metres further on is Lake Alexandrina).

Lake McGregor was a soft pinky grey colour, with barely a ripple.

There wasn't a soul in sight at Lake McGregor's DOC camping ground. I counted about 30 campers.

A small section of gravel road had been sealed up the incline over the hill.

Just over the hill's summit, Lake Alexandrina appeared. I was surprised how close the two lakes were.

Another surprise were the holiday homes at the edge of the lake and the caravans on either side of the stream flowing from Lake Alexandrina into Lake McGregor.

I walked along the lake's edge, enjoying the peacefulness and watching the colour changing as the sun rose.

Lake Alexandrina is long and narrow. It's a very deep and cold lake which is spring fed.

It's a popular spot for fishing, large brown and rainbow trout have been caught and the occasional salmon.

Several row boats were tucked in amongst the grass on the lake shore.

The endangered Australian Crested Grebe made a few appearances - each time keeping its distance.

As I wandered over the hill between the two lakes, a handful of rabbits darted away and a few startled merino sheep moved aside to let me pass. The sheep sounded like they were being slaughtered as they bleated to each other. 

The little lambs were funny looking with their long legs and saggy skin.

Before long the sun was up and was casting a golden glow over the willows bordering Lake McGregor.

The only person I saw was a hopeful fisherman out on the lake making the most of the still morning.

Also making the most of the early morning solitude was a mother duck and her eight ducklings.

Walking back to the ute I noticed two campers who'd found a picturesque spot to stay beside the stream.

And near Lake Alexandrina on either side of the outflow stream were clusters of caravans. They looked abandoned and were still locked up waiting for the busy summer season ahead. 

I wondered if one of the campers had perhaps set their pet rabbit free? This little ginger bunny was nibbling on grass beside another wild rabbit. It's colouring was so different to the others I'd seen in the area.

A narrow, wooden footbridge crossed the stream, close to where I'd parked the ute.

Reflections started appearing in the water and it looked like we were in for another scorcher day.

It was time to head home ... back passed Lake McGregor again.

Another quick stop to watch some geese grazing.

There was so much honking as they took off!

The view over the basin was beautiful - the temperature was warm and getting warmer by the minute. And there wasn't a breath of wind.

Sweet briar which grows wild throughout the McKenzie district filled the air with the most divine smell. Looking just like an old world rose.

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