If you're traveling from South Island's east coast to the west coast (or vice versa), via Arthurs Pass, you'll pass Lake Lyndon. It's a small, high country lake beside SH73, near Porters Pass in Canterbury. On a recent trip to Kumara (West Coast) we decided to stop for a lakeside lunch.
Many travellers stop here to take a break during their journey. The positive online reviews, prove it's a good spot to spend a few hours. With spectacular scenery, picnic tables available, and plenty of grassy areas for picnics, why wouldn't you want to call in.
Being only an hour from Christchurch, this high country lake is handy for fishing and boating. Rainbow trout thrive here, thanks to the dense beds of oxygen-weed. North Canterbury Fish and Game keep Lake Lyndon well stocked with rainbow trout, making it a popular spot for anglers.
Being near the Southern Alps, snow frequently falls to the lake's edge. And, during the colder winter months, when the temperature drops, parts of the lake ice over. The barren landscape, with tussock covered hills, make this picturesque lake appealing through all seasons.
While we were there, cars and campervans were coming and going. People would hop out, stretch their legs, take some photos and either drive off again or stay for a few hours to relax and admire the serene surroundings.
The Acheron River flows from the southern end of Lake Lyndon into the Rakaia River. Not to be confused with the other Acheron River (located in Marlborough), which flows into the Clarence River.
There must have been some heavy deluges of rain recently, because the daisies and blue borage that normally border the lake were mostly under water.
For me, one of the highlights while visiting Lake Lyndon, was seeing Australian Crested Grebes on the lake. These protected water birds are easy to spot with their distinctive crest and chestnut and black cheek frills.
It would have been a bonus to have seen some chicks - the juveniles have black and white striped checks, and are carried around on their parents' backs. Adult grebes lay between five to seven eggs, and use the vegetation around the edge of the lake for nesting (and shelter). Their floating nests are attached to underwater vegetation.
Grebes are excellent swimmers and divers but are particularly clumsy on land. Their legs are set near the rear of their body, which benefit their water activities but the position isn't so helpful when they go ashore.
These birds are also known for elaborate mating displays, they rise vertically out of the water and shake their head about.
Oh, and another thing I discovered about these birds, which I found interesting ... they swallow their feathers, hundreds of them and feed them to their young. The feathers protect their stomach by padding the sharp fish bones, this prevents injury and slows down the digestion process. Nature certainly is amazing!
Although I only caught glimpses of the Crested Grebe, it was enough to pique my curiosity. When we arrived home, I starting reading up about them - now I'm on a mission to get some better photos and discover more about them.
We tossed up whether to spend the night, but in the end decided to carry on. I'd love to visit again during winter to see the snow on the hills. On a day without wind, I imagine the reflections would be amazing.