This week’s big news is not just about Edward Snowden. It’s also about us being Snowed-in 🙂 We spent a week in the town of Ranfurly trapped by the heavy snow. We had an appointment in Dunedin for day 7 and spent the week wondering if we would be able to make it out when the time came. We did a test drive on day 6 and turned back after a few ks when we saw the condition of the roads. But day 7 dawned bright and sunny, and amid spectacular scenery we finally escaped the siege of Ranfurly. Amazingly within 30ks of Ranfurly (where the snow was a metre deep) the snow disappeared and travel was easy. After our Dunedin appointment we drove on to Cardrona for a final night with Ann and Blyth. Next morning we bade a tearful farewell to them, to Basil and Bebe, and our B&B home in the beautiful Cardrona Valley. The tears would have been heavier except that we are sure we will see them again before long, either on their trip to Europe, or on a return trip to NZ.
[a test drive for the racing Cynos]
[no other tourists or indeed no other people to be seen – all for us]
After leaving Cardrona we drove straight to … Ranfurly, much to the amusement of Bill and Suzy the owners of the backpackers who had just waved us off the previous day. The scenery covered as it was in deep snow was just too good to miss, and we had a few days spare before our house sitting assignment.
[Bill’s beloved winter companions, his curling stones]
After Ranfurly we drove along the East coast, North of Dunedin, to visit the village of Moeraki and see their famous large spherical boulders lying on the beach. We visited them several times – low tide, high tide, calm weather, windy weather etc as Daniel searched for the perfect shot of them. We were staying 40ks away, and one evening he had the idea that a long exposure night shot of them, showing the path of the stars was THE shot to have. So we set off on our mission one evening after dinner, excited about the extraordinary shot just waiting to be taken and for once having plenty of time on our hands to really make sure of the shot. Shortly after we arrived, Daniel realised that the total darkness (so how to frame the shot?), the receding tide (so wet, unstable sand unsuitable for a long exposure), the low tripod, the difficulty of illuminating the boulders with our head torch, and many other factors beyond me, made it an impossible shot. I hadn’t even had time to make it out of the car before he was back in, had turned the car around, and we were on our way home. This is a regular feature of travel with Daniel as he searches for ideal conditions for photography (sigh …). But, as he is forever reminding me, life’s all about the journey not the destination! But back to the boulders – luckily on our first trip there we took a snap with my little camera. Here they are …
[the Moeraki boulders]
We continued up the coast and are now just South of the town of Timaru where we will be housesitting for three weeks. We are really looking forward to having a (nice) base for several weeks, some animals for company, and to not having to repack our rucksacks every few days. At the same time, it is a strange feeling to know that this time tomorrow we will be living in a house we haven’t yet seen, owned by people we haven’t yet met, in a town we haven’t yet visited! Amazing trust by them to hand us the keys and their precious pets and head away for 3 weeks. We only hope we can live up to the expectations!
[Thousands of merino sheep were stranded in the hills after the heavy snow, and farmers and volunteers had to clear paths in the snow to allow the sheep to access food. Others had to be rescued and carried down to lower altitudes.]