Lake Pearson to Lake Camp, Canterbury
Up at 7:30am after a disturbed sleep: a southern change cam through around 12:30am with strong winds and rain. The van rocked around for a bit until the wind died away.
Donned the waders and wandered outside to see what the possibilities were for shooting the sunrise, to be greeted with low thick cloud and a stiff, cool wind. After standing on the shore of the lake for a while looking for any sign of the sun, we headed back to the warmth of the van for some breakfast.
We packed up the van and hit the road about 9:30, drove back towards Castle Hill to have a look at the Cave Stream reserve (where a small stream has carved a large, 600m long tunnel through the limestone). The cave is walkable so I was tempted to test the waders, but decided against with rain starting to fall.
Carried on driving back past Castle Hill and back over Porter's Pass, turning off just past Sheffield, towards Glentunnel, then onto the Inland Scenic Route, dropping down to cross the Rakaia River, then on into Methven for a coffee and cake (at a café / Sri Lankan restaurant). Did a bit more shopping (things we missed yesterday). Methven was pretty quiet as the ski season hadn't started at the nearby My Hutt skifield.
Left Methven and drove out to the little village of Barrhill to look at the old country church there (church detours are a bit of a feature of road trips for us). Had a look around St John's Church,a concrete church built in 1876, including a look around the inside (it is nice to visit country churches around New Zealand and to often find them unlocked)
Back on the road then out through Lauriston and Ashburton Forks, and then on to Mt Somers. Quick top up of diesel, at about 2pm, and eat a couple of sandwiches for lunch, then we followed the Ashburton River northwest up towards the Ashburton Lakes.
The sealed road stopped at Hakatere and from there on the gravel road was pretty rough (especially in a campervan where everything rattles). 10kms along this road took us to Lakes Camp and Clearwater. Lake Clearwater is the larger of the two and the little village of mainly fishing baches sits between Lake Clearwater and Camp. Quick look around the village and then back to the south end of Lake Camp where there is another free DOC campsite in amongst pine and willow trees, with views out over Lake Camp. The lake level seemed a bit low at the time (presumably due to it being the start of winter and not having much rainfall recently).
Found a spot we liked at about 4pm, and parked up. Very quiet little spot with lots of open space and a single long drop toilet.
We went for a bit of a walk around the end of the lake for sunset, but no sight of the cloud clearing at all.
Had a very quiet evening in the camp, no other vans in, which was very peaceful. Another stunning spot for a camping site.
NOTE: the photos in this post are from the next day, when the weather had completely changed...