July 19, 2010

Weekend On Ice

I know I've been complaining a lot about the weather and on more than one occasion, I even said I hate winter. That's not entirely true. There is one thing I love about the season, and that is the snow. Last July, when my family came to visit, they had a lot of fun taking pictures of frozen lakes, walking on icy tracks and making snow man. I missed all that cos I was stuck at home, in confinement.

This year, I have made it a point to go see the snow and after weeks of dilly dallying, I finally got to do it yesterday. We initially wanted to go to Mount Cook but figured it'd be too long a journey so we headed to Lake Coleridge instead. 

We started our journey in the late morning, at around 11.00 a.m. It wasn't far from Christchurch so  we weren't worried about the journey at all. When we realised that we had left the map at home, both of us decided to move on without it. "Dear, mau balik pi ambi map?" Hubby asked. I answered "Mmm, nda paya la...Kita adventurous la sikit". Since it was my third trip to the lake and hubby's fourth, I didn't think we'd lose our way.

We headed out of Christchurch through Yaldhurst and after a few minutes of driving we got to the West Coast Road. Hubby said all we needed to do was follow the road signs going to Darfield. So off we went. After about 25 minutes or so, we got to a signposted corner that said Hororata. Hubby thought the name sounded familiar and his gut feeling told him it was the right way. Unfortunately, I had to confuse his sense of directions by saying "Itu pi Mount Cook tu". Hearing this, hubby decided to move on and not take the route.

We drove through the Canterbury Plains, passing the small townships of Darfield and Spingfield. We didn't realise it at that time, but we were actually heading towards Arthur's Pass via Porters Pass. As we got further, the scenery changed and the road became more windy. This didn't bother us cos we got to see the impressive view of the mountains ahead.
On the way to Porters Pass
From Springfield, I noticed that the road began to climb steadily and then narrowly up to Porters Pass. When we got to the top, I could see a magnificent view of the Southern Alps; they were all covered in snow. To our delight, there was a beautiful park just after the steep climb. It was the Korowai–Torlesse Tussockland Park, which covers around 21,000 hectares of high country. We got to roadside and found a nice little spot to park the car. This gave us the chance to do a little bit of sightseeing while the kids were still asleep. The moment I got out, I immediately felt like I was in winter wonderland! Snow dominated the entire place and seeing this, I went a little crazy. I began touching the snow every chance I got and forced hubby to take my photos in various poses. There were also wild birds at the park and they all seemed quite friendly. After  having fun in the snow and  taking heaps of pics, we got back to the car and said goodbye to snowy Tussockland.


We continued our journey to Lake Coleridge, driving happily on the windy road. After an hour or so, I got a little bit worried cos most of the landscapes I saw seemed alien to me. I didn't remember passing through Porter River Bridge or seeing Porter Heights Skifield in our previous trips. So I told hubby about this and asked him whether he remembered those landmarks. He said "Ini la jalan dia tu, mana  ada lagi". That wasn't comforting at all but I figured he was probably right. Soon after that, we approached Castle Hill. The place is easily recognisable by the huge rock formation on the hillside. It  looked  a lot like Stone Henge to me and it definitely had a wow effect on me. If we weren't too occupied on finding the lake, we would have stopped by and taken a few photos. Too bad.  

Castle Hill
Fast forward 90 minutes.

We were still on the road and Lake Coleridge was nowhere in sight. I told hubby we were LOST and begged him to ask for directions. He smiled and said "Tadi dear bilang mau adventure kan" He wasn't worried at all and I was already imagining the worst. We drove for another mile or so before approaching a bridge with the signpost Waimakariri something. Seeing the length of the bridge, I panicked. It was as though we were crossing over to the other side of the world and I feared that the moment we crossed the bridge, we would be eternally lost. I asked hubby whether he remembered seeing the bridge last time and he said YES. I asked him again "Ada ka kamu limpas ni bridge dulu masa sama mummy?" He said "Ada ba!" Then I said "Kalau ada, napa kita nda sampai-sampai ni????"
At the end of the bridge, we got to a huge camping ground where we saw  two 4WDs.  Hubby decided to end my agony by asking for directions. Finally! After five minutes, he got back to the car, smiled at me and said "Sala suda la dear. Ini jalan  pi West Coast".  Oh Crap! We had to do a major U-turn, get back to Porters Pass and cross over Lake Lyndon via Lyndon road to get to Lake Coleridge. I know what my sister is thinking right now "Tu la kamu nda bawa map".

I'll skip the U-turn details okay?

On the way to Porters Pass, we came across a partly frozen lake called Lake Pearson. We stopped by for a little picnic cos all of us were hungry. It was freezing cold and windy but the view was nice.

Picnic site

Rice, fried eggs and fried dace for lunch
After the late lunch, we continued our journey to Lake Coleridge. The short cut via Lyndon Road was closed, due to heavy snow so we had to take the long way via Hororata. That's right. The route that we passed by earlier in the journey.

Fast forward 60 km ah...

We finally made it! Yay! It was already 3.30 p.m. by the time we got there but that was okay. We came across this spot and this time I came prepared.  As you can see, the fences are heavily adorned with used undergarments. I don't know who started the wacky tradition but I think it's cool. I took out my used bra and panties and began tying them on the barb wire fence. Hubby pun ikut ikut and tied his blue underwear next to mine. Hehehe.

After putting our marks on the fences, we continued our journey to the great lake. Another 10 minutes  on  graveled road brought us there. The lake was just as beautiful as I remembered it from my previous trip but at this time of the year, the water's frozen. Hubby and Alden threw stones onto the frozen surface and they all bounced and skidded across the lake. Alden enjoyed this a lot and did it over and over again. I found it awesome too especially when hubby threw a huge rock and the ice still won't break. That was really fun.

Alden and Dada
Makan ice

Me having a bite :)

Alden in awe

A heart-shaped piece of ice
We only spent half an hour at the lake but it was worth the journey. On the way home, hubby and I talked about our little trip, the accidental detour and the fun we had in the snow. In the end both us realised that we got exactly what we bargained for; a little bit of adventure! If we hadn't gotten lost, we wouldn't have passed Springfield,  Tousseland Park, Castle Hill, Lake Pearson, Broken River, Cave Stream, Cragieburn Forest Park and Bealey Spur. I guess being lost wasn't so bad after all. 

* To give you an idea of how far we went, here's a map of Arthur's Pass and Lake Coleridge. We almost reached Arthur's Pass National Park.



Caroline said...

how typical! hahhahaa.. remind me to hold the map when taking trips with u guys..

Kay Ayim said...

haha liz..u finally left ur trademark on that fence..did u write ur name on it???!!.. anyway so caaantiik la d place where u got lost..korowai...mcm tpt Lords of the rings..haha..

Mimi said...

Oh my! The view is to die for, especially the snow capped mountains.. Macam di set Sounds of Music pula... hehehe..

JIPP said...

the view with the snow-capped mountain, it is just so wow. Tapi semua pun santik2. I really wanna do some hiking in NZ but definitely not in winter. I've got problem with freezing temperature. hehe.

Lizeewong said...

Carol-Typical eh??? Hmmm...It wasn't ENTIRELY my fault kan? :P

Kay-Yes I did! Puas hati sia Kay. You must do it too when you get here Oct!

Mimi-Iya..It was breathtaking :)

Jipp- Winter's the perfect time to visit Jipp!

chegu carol said...

punya siok tingu all the pictures. very breath taking views. even kamurang punya 'lost experience' pun siok ni mo baca hehehe

Cath J said...

spectacular view!!!! and pretty mama... ^_^

TheWanderingSumandak...... said...

hahahaha! Moi, used bra and panties? lol, i thought I saw granny panties in the pic :P used underwears aside, lordy..the view is gorgeous!

Lizeewong said...

Kay - Hehehe...Thanks...Kalau pakai c Alvin punya SLR lagi lawa tu gambar :)

Cath - Thanks moi...Mummy dia yg excited ba tu

Mandak - Yeah the view was breathtaking :)