Sometimes you just need to pick a random spot on the map and simply stop for awhile.
Needing a break from our 5-hour drive from the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki to the town of Blenheim, we decided to make a pit-stop at Nelson Lakes National Park. We had driven along windy mountain roads and seen breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. Now we wanted to stretch our legs amongst that beauty!
The national park covers 102,000 hectares, including steep mountains, vast forested valleys and two alpine lakes. We stopped at the smaller Lake Rotoiti, located just a short distance off the highway in the tiny village of St. Arnaud. We popped into the information center to see what type of hikes were available. Luckily, there are several short nature walks as well as 3-to-5-day backcountry tramping trails in the park and around the lakes. (Interestingly, hiking is known as tramping in NZ.)
Since we didn’t have a lot of time, we chose a fairly easy 1-hour hike/tramp on the peninsula, closest to the info center, which took us along Kerr Bay and through a forested area. (Here’s a map of the walking trails.)
|Our tramping trail along Lake Rotoiti.|
Lake Rotoiti and its more famous neighbor, Lake Rotorua, were created by volcanic eruptions about 240,000 years ago. The lakes are known as small waters and large waters, respectively, in the Maori language. These crystal clear “crater lakes” are home to the Southern Alps in New Zealand.
You could almost use the lake as a mirror – that’s how pure and flawless the water was!
As we walked along the lakeside, I also imagined how peaceful it would have been to take a kayak out on the lake’s waters. If only we had more time! Or to pitch a tent nearby and look up at the starry skies at night.
Alas, we had just enough time to enjoy our hike and make it before closing at our first winery in Marlborough, which will be a story for another post!
|Before we arrived at Lake Rotoiti, we stopped in the nearby town of Murchison and had lunch at the Vault Cafe. I had a delicious BLAT sandwich on gluten-free bread.|