Day 5 of our trip was New Year’s Day. We had a leisurely morning with our friends in Twizel, including a late breakfast eaten on the lawn in the warm sunshine (little did we know that was almost the last sunshine we would see for a week!), and then got on our way down the road sometime around noon. We headed south; our goal was to reach the home of other friends in Dunedin. Up until this point, we were retracing routes we had driven other times, but this day everything was new. We drove through a lot of very dry country, broken with lakes here and there that stretched for miles along the road; I am guessing they were all man-made, for generating electricity.
See those clouds coming in? The first hour or two that we were on the road the weather was nice. It was cloudy, but that kept it from being too hot. Then, the heavens opened, and it started pouring! When we finally stopped to eat lunch (around 3:00), it was pouring so hard that we pulled into an empty carpark and pulled the vans up so that the sliding doors were facing each other. Esther and I made sandwiches in our van and then radioed to the other van to open a window so we could pass the plates through. We were so fogged up inside that we couldn’t see each other, but if we opened a window we got drenched quickly!
This was one of the few times that Little Miss rode in our van. The girls enjoyed reading books together.
We saw a sign for the Aviemore Hydro Station and made a quick decision to have a look. First, we crossed the river on the road that goes over the dam, and had a look down from the top.
Then, we drove back across. See the tracks on the sides of the road? It looked like a crane goes on those, and can open the trapdoors in the middle, probably for servicing the power plant.
Then, we looked at the power station from the bottom.
This was a very interesting feature. A fish ladder led to a spawning stream—a man-made channel duplicating the conditions in the wild in which trout lay their eggs. The spawning stream doubles back on itself; it’s apparently a kilometer long altogether.
I grabbed this photo of a ram in the paddock beside the drive down to the power station. My boys saw me taking the photo and called on the radio to inform me that it was a merino. I was impressed by the horns!
An interesting planting of trees we saw on a hillside, after it started raining.
One thing I really wanted to see was the Moeraki Boulders. It was drizzling, but not hard, so we stopped when we reached them, and walked about 10 minutes down the beach to see the famous sight.
These boulders are concretions, formed by something rolling around in sediments and building up layer after layer.
Simon, me, Mr. Sweetie, Elijah
Mr. Diligence, Mr. Sweetie and Little Miss
Then, it started raining harder, and we were already late for tea with our friends in Dunedin, so we hurried back to the vans as fast as we could.