South Island meanderings…November 2017 (Part 1) Springfield-Lake Lyndon-Lake Georgina-Lake Colleridge-Methven

02 Nov – After spending a couple of glorious days at the Kowai Pass Domain near Springfield, we packed up and drove back to Darfield for a few supplies.  Then headed south along SH77 to Glentunnel and from there to the nearby Springfield Domain, along the banks of the Selwyn River.

The Domain is a popular family camping area and whilst it lists the fees as $6pp/night we couldn’t find any donation box.  On speaking with a ‘local’ camper he advised the area has been ‘free’ for quite some time – possibly because the River has been ‘polluted’ for some years (same as further downstream near Lake Ellesmere).  Currently, however, the river is clear and flowing swiftly after being flushed through with floodwaters a few months ago.

Someones musings!

Evidence of recent floods

Large trees line most of the riverbank which aren’t ‘friendly’ if you want to get satellite reception for TV or sun on your solar panels, but there are a couple of areas at the beginning and end of the road that are more open.  We even managed to receive some Internet service at times, albeit a bit slow.

We had intended to stop there for a few nights, but Neville had the hankering to head west again up Arthurs Pass Road as far as Lake Lyndon and then drive down to Lake Coleridge along the ‘dry-weather’ Lyndon Road.  As the weather forecast was predicting rain in a couple of days we decided to ‘do it now’ before it became wet.

Our map showed the road as being 4WD only, however, a couple we’d met at the Kowai Pass Domain in Springfield, told us the road was currently in pretty good condition and they’d just driven their bus over it without any issues.  Our motorhome is a little shorter and has better ground clearance than their bus so we reckoned we’d be ‘sweet’

The road followed the shoreline of Lake Lyndon for a while…

Lake Lyndon Lodge across the water at the south end of the lake

As we left Lake Lyndon behind we traced the Acheron River which meandered along a wide deep valley while the road skirted around the hillside affording us some fabulous elevated views of the river flats and the mountains beyond.

View over the Rakaia River Valley and the Mt Hutt Ranges

The road then turns towards Lake Coleridge around Mt Barker to intersect with Harper Road that goes to the north-western end of Lake Coleridge.  We stopped on a rise and took some photos of the very ‘blue’ lake just coming into view.

At that point we looked at one another and said “where were the steep and narrow” bits of the road that the sign at the beginning warned of?  We didn’t drive up any great hills and there was only one place where it would have been a bit of a squeeze to pass another vehicle of our size. OK…in winter it would be a different story as the road gets snowed under…but at this time of the year it was a good scenic drive and not half as bad as some places we have been to that didn’t have any road warnings.

But…our beautifully cleaned motorhome was now plastered in dust and looked like it hadn’t been washed for months!  So much for all our work while at Riverlands making it look nice and ‘sparkly’…grrr!

As it was near lunchtime we figured Lake Georgina, being only 4kms further along the Harper Road, would be a nice place to ‘eat with a view’.

When we got to the Lake we were not surprised to spy the bus belonging to the people we’d chatted to back in Springfield, so we pulled up behind them to say hello.  They were camped up, fishing rods at the ready, waiting for the fishing season to open up in two days time.

We whiled away the afternoon ‘solving the World’s problems’ and then it got too late for us to move on, so we stopped there for the night.   It was a bit rocky as the wind buffeted us around overnight but there were no serious gusts.

All calm over Lake Georgina next morning
View of the mountains beyond

Over breakfast next morning we observed a steady stream of vehicles towing caravans and an assortment of boats up the road past us…no doubt going to claim their favourite spots around Lake Coleridge in readiness for the fishing opening day.

We packed up and said our goodbyes to Dorita and Phil and headed back and on to Lake Coleridge Village.   There we made use of the POP that we stayed in on our last visit.  This time instead of having to dodge cow-pats in the paddock we were entertained by the antics of a ‘flock’ of lambs living there.  Very cute!

Walked around the river walkway the next morning to stretch our legs. Again, like our last visit here, we enjoyed the scenic views up and down the Rakaia River and the mountain ranges beyond.

Spillway water meeting the melt waters of the Rakaia River
View across the braided riverbed towards the Palmer Ranges
Downstream and the Mt Hutt Range in the background

Tore ourselves away from the view and started back, following the spillway river towards the Power Station.

A lot of Lake Coleridge water coming down the river from the Power Station
Penstocks just coming into view

This time the little bridge over the spillway was not blocked by a locked gate so we wandered over to explore, wondering where the vehicle track went to. Seems it just follows the river upstream but nearer the spillway river we came across some concrete ponds of a fish farm.  One of the ponds was drained empty but the other one still looked operational. However, ‘the jury is out’ on that one as we didn’t see any fish rippling the water surfaces and there wasn’t much equipment lying around.  Maybe it was up-and-running on our last visit which could explain the locked gate…otherwise canny people with a rod may have had access to an easy fish for tea!

Fish farm

Walked back past the Power Station and stopped to take a few more photos.

There were some workmen around and the door at the bottom was open so managed to get a peep inside the turbine room.

We drove off late morning – back to the Rakaia Gorge and thence to Methven.

Once there we topped up our supplies and shouted ourselves a nice lunch at a Cafe’ with a difference, “Primo E Secundo”.  It was really an antique/2nd hand shop…lots of things to look at while waiting for your meal to arrive…old photos & magazines, antique furniture, a teapot collectors mecca…you name it and it was there (somewhere).  It was more like a museum!

Drove south along SH77 to Staveley and continued on to the Bowyers Stream Rest Area for a couple of nights.  It’s right beside the highway, but it quietens down at night and it’s a convenient stopover.  One night it got quite cold and next morning we weren’t surprised to see a fresh dusting of snow on the nearby hill.

To be continued…………….


2 thoughts on “South Island meanderings…November 2017 (Part 1) Springfield-Lake Lyndon-Lake Georgina-Lake Colleridge-Methven

  1. Katrina January 12, 2018 / 7:55 pm

    Love reading your blogs and looking at your photos. Great photography and fantastic writing. Thanks for sharing.


    • Neville and Barbara January 26, 2018 / 4:00 am

      Thanks Katrina – I’ve just been reading your blog on Ophir. We have just come around through Middlemarch, Ranfurly and Omakau to Alexandra. I was very interested to go and see the Historic Bridge again…seeing as last July it was severely damaged by the Southland floods and the whole bridge was lying in the water and all the suspension cables were no-where to be seen. I got a very pleasant surprise to see it has all been repaired again. One of those things that I thought would take a lot longer to get fixed.

      Hi again please ignore my bridge comments…Neville is telling me I have my bridges mixed up…the one that got damaged was actually near Middlemarch not the one at Ophir….but in my defence they do look very similar. lol.


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