Te Wahipounamu South West New Zealand World Heritage Area – a true treasure of mountains, bush, beaches and forest

This area of New Zealand’s remote and rugged South Westland is truly worthy of World Heritage status bestowed sometime ago by UNESCO. It extends south from the Cook River to Fiordland and encompasses the Franz and Fox Glaciers – 2.6 million-hectares in total.

One of the benefits of living in the Wanaka area is it is very close to this amazingly diverse landscape, and this selection is from a quick trip to the Jackson and Cascade rivers area in Nov. 2017

South Westland beach at sunset


Red Hills South Westland


Martyr Saddle South Westland


Lichen South Westland


Sub alpine lichen South Westland


Ellery River South Westland


Ellery River South Westland


Ellery River South Westland


South Westland Beach at sunset


The Young Australian Waterwheel

When gold was discovered in Bannockburn near Cromwell in 1862 it was not soon before enterprising miners climbed higher up the Carrick Range behind the alluvial workings, to look for the quartz reefs that fed the terraces below, that are now sluiced away.

By 1876, based on good returns and the knowledge that more water would soon be available to drive the stampers by waterwheel, there were soon five batteries in these higher areas. However the reef then petered out gradually and mining had ceased by 1898.

The restored wheel, the second largest in the Southern Hemisphere apparently [the largest being the Old Mill Wheel in Oamaru], now stands alone, as the stamper battery it was driving was moved across the valley, where it still sits today reasonably well preserved, and relatively difficult of access.

Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

Clever use by the miners of long ago of an existing rock…
Young Australian waterwheel accommodation on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

Lake Dunstan and Cromwell from the saddle above the gully where the waterwheel sits...
Cromwell from the Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

Looking back at the crest of the Carrick Range. A 4wd road from Duffers Saddle on the left, can just be seen…
The Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

The water race that turned the waterwheel is still in use today for irrigation. The damaged fluming in this photo once directed water from it down the steep Adams Gully to the right where there are remains of the 5 stamper battery as mentioned above…
The Carrick Range water race, Central Otago


 

The Adams Gully stamper and gold processing plant remains. Note the fluming as mentioned above, up the gully…
Adams Gully stamper battery on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


To access the waterwheel: there are quite a few web sites hosted by various organisations that list directions – just Google “Carrick Range waterwheel”. Most of them list two ways: climb up from Bannockburn on foot, bike or 4wd, or drive to the top of nearby Duffers Saddle and then walk, bike or 4wd along and down to the site. The former I’d not recommend, and it’s certainly not a track for a soft 4wd such as a Subaru or Rav



 

The largest waterwheel in the Southern Hemisphere, the Old Mill Wheel in Oamaru under restoration as of Oct. 2017. This wheel weighs in at 50 ton, which would probably make the Young Australian about 35…
Oamaru Old Mill Waterwheel restoration

 


What is a stamper battery >>

Some little known Lake Hawea and Wanaka history of gold mining back in the 1880’s

As tourists when we tick the boxes on the must-visit places it can be a bit of a rush. Then it’s easy to overlook other rushes accommodated by the past.

Close to Wanaka and on the very busy road beside Lake Hawea that goes to Haast and South Westland it’s easy to rush by a little creek on the left called Craigburn, and it’s accompanying Dept of Conservation interpretation board, which alerts us to some history of gold mining endeavours upstream back around 1880, mainly in a tributary called Long Gully.

Now days called the Matatiaho Conservation Area it once sported 200 miners, three stores and a butchery, but this development was not long lived as the hope of finding the source of the gold in the very rugged and deeply incised headwaters upstream came to nought. Sadly little evidence of this has survived.

Flowering kanuka and lupins as seen from the DOC track, with a backdrop of Lake Hawea…
Craigburn


About an hour in, the track comes to an end as it drops into seclusion down by the river at some signage, and a small gate in a deer fence…
Craigburn 2


Hunters [permit required] usually frequent the rugged country further to the west [through above mentioned small gate], and to the much steeper southern areas including Mt Burke…
Craigburn 4


Craigburn 3


Lupins by the carpark…
Craigburn 5

Redwoods at Wanaka Station Park

How do you assimilate such immense, ancient, stately, mysterious and powerful redwood trees into language?

It seems to be as much of a challenge as capturing their essence in a photo!

Their existence is their very presence or vice versa – no “soft” wood here, but the voice of patience and endurance.

They come from a humble seed no bigger than one from an apple to achieve prodigious ages and dimensions of up to 120 meters tall, with a width of several at the base. And they continue to flourish in a history of up to 160 million years in the making, and going back 20 million years in their present range.

They probably had dinosaurs scratching their trunks!

California’s North Coast is the most well known location in the world that provides an environment they like – one underscored by cool, moist air created by the Pacific Ocean keeping the trees continually damp, even during summer droughts. And yet here they are in New Zealand, and in Wanaka we don’t have a lot of damp moist air!

Theories continue to develop as to why they grow so old and tall, but proof remains elusive. The trees can reach ages of 2000 years and regularly reach 600 years.

Powered by the leaves’ diffusion of water, water-to-water molecular bonds in the trees’ sapwood drags the moisture upwards – and to move thousands of litres maybe even in a day to such a height is quite a feat. During the summer, this transpiration apparently causes redwood stems to shrink and swell with the cycles of day and night.

Here a recent picture of one of the entry way to a magical place hosting some redwoods, Wanaka Station Park…

Redwood at Wanaka Station Park

Wanaka Station was a large sheep station In the late 19th century covering land from the head of Lake Wanaka to the nearby Cardrona Valley.

The foundations remain of original homestead which it seems burned down twice, and these and the land has been preserved as a park, which includes beautiful mature fruit trees and giant redwoods. More latterly many other species such as rhododendron have become established…

Wanaka Station park

A Sunday walk – the Gladstone Track, Lake Hawea

The relatively new Gladstone Track along the Lake Hawea foreshore turned out to be much more delightful walk than I thought. Apparently the name came from a proposed settlement many many years ago, that never eventuated.

Also Johns Creek was not named after someone called John, but after a family by that name.

Click any thumbnail to display the gallery…

An early launching of Wanaka Images and Photography

I’ve had this site for a while – it languished perhaps because of timing. After all timing is everything in all things!

Having got my eco site Southern Light to where I wanted it yesterday, I turned my attention to this one.

It needed a look consistent with the aims, so setting it up came well before populating it with good visual content.

Which was just as well as I had no idea FaceBook would be tracking it every time I posted an article or image. The intention was to upload content then release it in the wild in a few weeks.

Consequently the project is launched!

Serendipitously at the same time [today] I’ve just been interviewed by a skilled journalist with the Central Otago News[paper], so along with my back ground pertaining to conservation and the environment I slipped in a mention of Wanaka Images…

… and so its open for business!

It’s a WordPress Multi-site which means any interested person can have their own web site within it, e.g. wanakaimages.com/mysite

Start your own journal blog site, or web site to promote the area, your photography, or business for the introductory offer of $NZ 5.00/month +GST payable in advance. Set up is free.

Also author/photographers, who don’t want a site and the work of maintaining same, are welcome to publish relevant articles/photos for free within wanakaimages.com/my_article_whatever_its_name. These will be moderated to ensure content is appropriate.

Mail me Donald don@southernlight.co.nz to get started

The “tree” today…

Wanaka tree today

When the rain clears on Lake Wanaka magic is revealed

A couple of evenings ago a soft cold rain seemed set in, but then a few light patches appeared to support a rainbow in the north, so I rushed off to face that direction.

Meanwhile the clearance continued and looking west; well I followed my eyes.

On arrival near the famous Wanaka lake tree another excited photographer, who was rushing about, shouted out as he pointed, “is that the lonely tree?’

I gave him a thumbs up and off we scurried.

After getting this image on the fly, I lent him my tripod which seemed to surprise him – maybe they don’t do that sort of thing in Hong Kong!