Mt Aspiring National Park
The idea was to drive directly to Queenstown afterwards, my next stop. Later it comes to mind that I have enough time and could as well visit Mt Aspiring National Park. There is a ski area with nice views and who knows what else I can find there. It’s still early in the morning and clouded, so the light will be soft enough.
I do not like to take hitch hikers with me but this time I make an exception for a cute blond from Neurenberg. Hanna is her name. She is walking with a small backpack and shorts and lifts her thumb. I assume she has the intention of going here somewhere local, because this road has a dead end in the park.
Hanna has just finished school and has been in New Zealand for the last two months. She hasn’t been on the North Island and wants to know everything about it. She will stay until july-august and has decided to visit only one country and not see for instance Australia as well. She thinks that you can only learn what a country is like if you have been there for at least 6 months. After her return she wants to study psychology in The Netherlands. So in between she has to learn speaking Dutch as well.
She intends to go to Roys Peak just outside the village and asks me where I am going. I tell here that I am going to the Treble Cone Skifield for a couple of photographs and that she can as well join if she wants. I can drop her off at Roys Peak when going back, but can do that as well now. I don’t care. She is in doubt for a bit and asks how long the detour will take. She worries about the 6 hour walk to climb 1578 meter Roys Peak. Well that’s nothing to doubt about I tell her. For such a walk it’s much better to start immediately than first do something else.
My guess is she is quite surprised about the distance from the village, that appears to be well over 7 kilometers when we arrive. All together she has started a walk + climb of about 30 kilometers!!! They are afraid of nothing, these girls. What age she would be? 18 maybe 19 and she just jumps into the car with a stranger and starts climbing a mountain if it’s nothing. At the start of the trail we talk for a bit and then split ways.
A bit further down the road I notice a nice natural composition of trees and water that I shoot quickly.
A group of people is parapenting in the ski area. The area itself appears to be closed during weekends and holidays. Too bad. That’s why I decide to continue to Raspberry Flat. 27 kilometers via a gravel road.
After a while I see a grassland with a herd of deer, several hundreds there are. I get out of the car carefully and setup my tripod. When I look up I see all deer grouping and walking away from me.
From hundreds of meters around they gather. Driven close to each other by a couple of large males.
When I stay still for a while they all approach slowly but still careful.
When I move for only a little bit, the whole herd turns around and starts running away from me. We play this game a couple of times until I’m fed up with it.
I continue on this road until I encounter a sign with Deep Fords and 4WD. Here it ends then. In this area I shoot a couple of nice photographs. Not exactly what I’m looking for but good enough to take home.
Back in Wanaka I continue to Bendigo. Here are the remains of an old mining village dating back to 1870. The road towards it is very steep and gravel. It soon gets so steep that I’m getting serious doubts whether it’s sensible to continue. Only the first gear keeps me driving. The road is full with holes and gullies and is getting extremely narrow. ’Where is this going? This isn’t a 4WD road right?’ Doubt is rising fast. But would it have been a 4WD road then there would have been a sign, so I guess it’s alright to continue.
Somewhat later I encounter oncoming traffic, a normal passenger car as well. Luckily the ’road’ is a bit wider here so we can pass easily. After another couple of kilometers I arrive at a small parking area with some other cars. Tough little road.
There a couple of unshielded vertical mining shafts in this area so for safety reasons one has better stay on the trails. The first shaft is No. 2 Shaft and is 178 meters deep. When I throw in a large boulder I can count for 3.5 seconds before it hits the bottom with a dull thud.
For a minute I am playing with the thought to float the camera on tripod above the shaft to photographs the depth but I drop the thought after consideration. With only 1 camera in the bag I don’t want to run the risk that something comes loose. This shaft is well protected with a mesh of horizontal iron bars so you can’t drop in accidently. Somewhat further is No. 1 Shaft that is less deep.
These are old remains of small houses.
The ore used to be carried upwards and was then squashed to sand. Mercury then was used to filter the gold from the sand.
The whole mountain is full of horizontal and vertical shafts. All of them are unsafe to enter.
Maps, Charts & Downloads
GPS Map with color coded altitude information
Color coded distance/altitude chart
Download the original gpx file gpx file here.