The next morning we were up early again and off to start making our way home via the Rainbow Road that goes over Jacks Pass, then through the St James Conservation Valley. By Lake Tennyson and the start of the Clarence River, and up the Island Saddle. This is all on the Molesworth Station. Somewhere after that we then go through onto the Rainbow Station, through Coldwater Creek, then onwards to St Arnaud. It's pretty rough in places and a four wheel drive vehicle is an absolute must.
We didn't get far for our first photoshoot of the morning. Just at the top of Jacks Pass, about 15 mins out of Hanmer Springs. The view was spectacular...
Overlooking the valley floor way below...
I got trevor to take a photo of me doing the tourist jump. At least my feet actually left the ground!!
After mucking round up on the pass we carried on through the St James Conservation valley - really beautiful. There were so many places I wanted to stop and explore but we would never get home!! We did stop at this DOC hut though to take some good photos.. This is the hut for the Fowlers Pass Track. For good keen trampers!
As you can see there was not a cloud in the sky... Very typical of Marlborough summers.
And the hut was patchworked rather cleverly I thought..
The Clarence River, which starts at Lake Tennyson..
The road to Lake Tennyson..
And the lake it self. Gorgeous colour. There was a lovely beach, and apparently a walking track right around it. This is definitely on my bucket list!
Although it was very warm while we were here, it was very cold that morning. Talking to campers along the lakeside, they told us they had woken up with ice in their hair. So even though it was high summer, this is alpine country and still very chilly at night and early morning.
The start of the Clarence River...
And a good keen fisherman....
This is one of many very modern toilets that appear dotted over the Molesworth station at various points. They were very clean too! I was impressed and it takes a lot to impress me when it comes to outdoor loos!
Those mounds of rock in distance are huge. They're graywacke and are around 125-135 million years old. Fairly ancient!
You can't get away from the pylons - such a shame as some of the vistas are amazing, but spoilt by these big man-made metal things..
We arrived at the Island Saddle and Liz and I got out our macro lens and tripods to take images of alpine vegetation. The Molesworth is an area of national ecological signiﬁcance. Over 70 threatened plant species grow here, a quarter of which are acutely threatened. These are mostly herbs and include two native mistletoes, ﬁve daisies, a hairy mountain cress, a buttercup, a gentian, a plantain and a hebe.
This is the Alpine grasshopper waving to us all. I told him he'd be in my blog eventually so he waved for the photo! He's sitting on an Alpine Daisy. To give you an understanding of size, the grasshopper is about half the size of the fingernail on my little finger. Maybe half a centremetre, if that. The Alpine Daisy is really pretty, and tiny as well.
And this is the Alpine Bluebell which is even smaller than the Daisy. Again, very beautiful. I'd really like to get up there with my camera again!
Back in the car. By this time we had lost Trevor and the others as we had dawdled with our cameras for much longer! So Liz, Keith and I just went at our pace. The day had warmed up considerably too. I reckon it was over 30C and possibly much higher. We drove through beautiful mountain valleys like this...
I managed a self portrait... My face was somewhat sunburned!
Here's Liz taking some wonderful photos...
And Keith taking a rest from Rock Climbing and pointing out something interesting to me. (I think I just got him to point to make the photo look more interesting!!)
Our next stop was Coldwater Creek. With the skull on the sign, I felt like I had been transported into some western movie!
A few weeks earlier this whole area was in flood so there was lots of dead vegetation and debris around here.
We had some lunch and I was soooo hot I decided to go and sit on a rock and put my feet into the creek to cool down. Much to Liz's amusement. Amusement because this is a snow fed creek from the mountains, and I am a city girl with no knowledge of these things. I think I managed to keep my feet in the water for all of 3 seconds. If I hadn't taken them out after that, I'm sure they would have turned to ice, then fallen off and shattered! I'm sure Liz has a few photos of me with my face contorted from the sheer iciness of the water. She hasn't shown these to me yet, so hopefully they didn't turn out!
I had my +10 ND filter with me, and the sun was high, so perfect opportunity to stick it on my camera and start taking photos. This is the first and only time the +10 ND filter has worked for me... I was rather pleased with the results. Just can't stand that dead vegetation...
Then onto the Rainbow Station, and we followed the Wairau River...
We stopped to pay the toll and Liz disturbed a possum when she went to the toilet there. The station owners dogs tried to get it, but we staved them off long enough to take a few photos. It was like a stunned mullet so we were able to get a few good ones...
We got home about 8pm - what a fantastic weekend. I can't wait to do it again. Thanks Liz and Keith for inviting me and allowing me to transport rocks home in your vehicle for my garden. (I think I still owe you some rock freight!)