15 December 2017

Picturesque Lake Pukaki

Whenever I see Lake Pukaki I'm in awe of its beauty. Huge snowy peaked mountains provide a stunning backdrop, while the turquoise blue water is truly breath-taking. 

On a day without wind the reflections are amazing.

Lake Pukaki was created by a receding glacier, huge glacial rock blocked the valleys. As it's glacial fed it has a distinctive blue colour, created by glacial flour (finley ground rock particles from the glaciers).
The lake's fed by the braided Tasman River which runs from the Tasman and Hooker Glaciers near Mount Cook. 

When we were staying at Lake Tekapo NZMCA park, Ian McGregor and his wife Vicky called in to meet us. Ian had messaged me in Methven to tell me about Awa Awa Reserve with lots of colourful rhododendrons growing amongst native bush. It was nice meeting up with them. When they heard we were hoping to find a place to stay at Lake Pukaki they suggested driving along Hayman Road,  there're lots of freedom camping spots all along the lakeside.

We found a great spot overlooking the lake - with gorgeous views from every window. If you're reading this Ian & Vicky, thanks for another great recommendation. It's perfect.

Not only do we love it here, the dogs do too. Paddy loves being near the water, although we're careful with how much he's in the water now since he became unwell. The two little dogs absolutely adore being in rabbit country. We've had to put the dog fencing up or we'd lose them down a rabbit hole.

The weather has been incredibly hot and although Lake Pukaki is a glacier fed lake, it hasn't stopped us from having swims to cool off. And we've been kayaking most days, it's pretty special paddling on clear, icy blue water and seeing Mount Cook at the head of the lake.

Other than us being in and on the lake the only other boat we've seen on it is the H2Explore Hovercraft. It seats 10 people plus a pilot. The hovercraft was constructed in Saint Petersburg by a Russian company. 

Using a hovercraft means the riverbed and shoreline won't need any structures as no launching platform is needed. It's the only vessel to travel between water and land without disturbing the natural riverbed.

The day we watched it, it was obvious they were experiencing some mechanical problems. It was making a tremendous noise and although capable of traveling at speeds of up to 70kms, on this particular day it was barely making headway.

Further along Hayman Road (about 500metres) is the Tekapo B Power Station. Huge penstocks come down from the hillside and enter the power station. Lake Pukaki is part of the Waitaki hydroelectric scheme. A canal running from Lake Tekapo feeds water into the power station on Lake Pukaki's eastern shore.

The penstocks carry the water from the canal into the power station. 

Just before the power station there's another road on the right, which leads to the salmon farms. Bernie caught a few salmon and was surprised at the size of some he saw swimming in the canal. I couldn't get a photo because he'd cut them into steaks before he came home. 

Bernie's daughter, Renee, came to stay for a few days. They had a special father/daughter time - kayaking, swimming, bike-riding and catching up. 

The sunrises and sunsets make the beginning and end of days extra special.


The golden hour made the burnt, dried off grass around the rig a rich, golden colour.

I love the moods that the lake and weather bring. From dark, stormy skies to sunshine and people literally dancing for joy!

While we're staying in the area I'll try night photography. This area boasts one of the world's cleanest, driest and darkest skies. Perfect conditions for lots of practise. This photo was taken by resting my camera on a rock (at that stage I couldn't find my tripod, I knew I'd packed it but couldn't remember where!). Not ideal conditions because it was cloudy, so no shots of any stars.


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