Last week we had the opportunity to stay at Montrose High Country, a lodge on the Rakaia River in Canterbury. Only a couple of nights, not nearly enough time to explore this area. But here are some initial impressions. The lodge is tucked in under the northern slopes of Mt Hutt, a popular ski field.
Several small streams run down into the river, a good source of pure water for a salmon hatchery on the property.
The views in the opposite direction are impressive:
In the distance a small herd of deer grazing quietly on the river flats:
From the lodge you look out onto the northern bank of the Rakaia River, with eroding cliffs show layers of glacial debris:
I’d love to go back and have another shot at these. For example:
The lodge itself was a great place for us to relax, especially my wife who had spent the previous three days at a meeting in Wellington. Freezing outside, but a good fire:
I was out before dawn both mornings, further up the valley. It was below zero but rewarding, for example this shot looking towards the Rolleston Range with Lake Coleridge behind the hills on the right:
I was especially interested in the road along the south bank, which goes for perhaps 50 km into Glenfalloch Station. For the past couple of years this was the regular winter drive to and from work for my son, who worked as a guide for Methven Heli-ski. A bit different from your usual commute!
A bit further up the valley, we look south towards the Ragged Range. The heli-skiers go a little beyond the hills to the left in this picture, mainly in the Arrowsmith Range.
The whole area is just breathtaking: wonderful vistas and clear air, except perhaps for a brief moment when you meet these on the road:
(PS I heard on the radio today that many of the roads we travelled have been closed due to snowfalls – we were lucky with the weather!)