(Day 4 of our trip was definitely a day for Black and White photography with lots of cloud and drizzle)
Woken up by the wind howling down the lake, and looking outside there was a thick layer of high cloud covering the sky, but it looked like there was an opening / end to the cloud to the north so we donned our necessary "lake photography gear" (gumboots / waders) and walked back towards Tekapo village to see if we could catch a glimpse of the sun rise. Sadly it was not to be, but Lake Tekapo under a Nor'westerly Arch is still an inpressive sight.
Back to camp about 9am for some breakfast. Packed up the van, did the first empty tanks / fill other tanks for the trip and then headed off at 10.
The plan was to head to Mt Cook for our next night, but the forecast was for gale force winds in the mountains so, being flexible travelers with no bookings, we decided a detour down the Waitaki River to Oamaru for our next night and then heading into Central Otago after that would be a good idea.
Driving south from Tekapo in winter is a bit of a surreal experience; looking left there is a massive flat brown plain with some rounded hills in the distance, but looking right there is the mass of the Southern Alps with craggy peaks and snow. And then you go through a series of low hills and Lake Pukaki with Mt Cook in the distance comes into view.
On this day the clouds were forming crazy shapes over the alps, and thankfully Mt Cook was reasonably clear of cloud. We pulled onto the road that heads up the eastern side of Lake Pukaki looking for a spot to stop and shoot from, and found somewhere to get down to the waters edge.
We carried on over the Pukaki dam and then turned off onto the road alongside the hydro canal which transfers water between Lakes Pukaki and Ruataniwha. We stopped for a few photos of the rain over the mountains of the Black Hills on the west side of Lake Pukaki, then carried on to Lake Ruataniwha and then back past Twizel to the main road.
We turned south again and drove through to Omarama., stopping for diesel and to by some warm clothes. Turning onto SH 83 we drove along the side of Lake Benmore and then down the Waitaki River valley. We stopped for lunch at Kurow, in a cafe with a few photos of Riche McCaw on the walls (a local hero apparently)
Carried on to Duntroon to have a look at the St Martins Church (looking a little worse for wear and locked up), a quick tour around the town then turned off the main road and headed in through the limestone gorges and valleys south of the Waitaki Valley, and through to Enfield (for another church stop) and on to Weston. We turned south from Weston to check out our expected camp for the night at Kakanui; a stunning spot overlooking a long sandy beach.
We headed into Oamaru to have a look around the historic area (after a low bridge required a detour) and out to the port area. Back to the free camp site (run by the local Council) at Kakanui at about 5 (no sunset to see tonight) and parked up for the night