Day 12 was a 4+ hour drive going north to Wanaka, in the Otago region on South Island. Along the way, we stopped at Lake Hayes to sketch. The Māori name is Wai-whaka-ata which translates to “water that reflects”.
A dizzying series of switchbacks on Crown Range Road brought us to a pull off where we sketched a fantastic view. Quick pencil sketches were all I could manage while I recovered from that ride!
A fun stop in Cardrona, a popular ski town, where Cathy donated to a fence of bras! “Bra-drona” hopes that you will make a donation to the NZ Cancer Society.
Bra-drona in Cardrona
A famous tourist attraction in Wanaka is #thatwanakatree, growing in the lake.
Nearby, there were several huge Douglas fir trees needing to be sketched. Only took time for one, and as I sketched, I wondered how old these are.
Day 11 – we retrace some of yesterday’s travels. First order of each day is usually getting lunch and snack food! Miles Better Pies has a cute statue out front.
Miles Better Pies in Te Anau
Stopped along the way to practice clouds, these are the reason for calling New Zealand “Land of the Long Cloud”.
We returned to Mirror Lake, in Fiordland Nat’l. Park, where I may have been the only one in our group who didn’t sketch the calm clear waters.
View at Mirror Lake
Mirror Lake – I wonder how it got the name? 😉
Here we sat and painted in an ancient beech forest next to Gunn Lake. We saw faces in the trees, while parrots and keas sang above and a New Zealand robin visited us. He tried to join me by sitting on my water container, which he tipped over.
ancient beech forest.
Faces in the ancient trees
A slight interruption in our travels while we waited for them to cross the road –
Slight traffic jam
Last stop of the day was in Eglinton River valley with broad horizons to paint.
Day 10 – We head to Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park for a boat ride through the fiord with breathtaking scenery. Luck and sunshine was with us (it’s in a rain forest with annual rainfall of 22 feet) as we first stopped at Mirror Lake on the way, before meeting up with a convoy.
Sections of the only road to Milford Sound were one lane following cyclone damage a few weeks earlier. There was terrible flooding and several hundred people trapped up there. So only buses and 12+ passenger vehicles were allowed in the convoy. We were one of the first vehicles in line, so we had a bit of a wait until the line was complete and we could start up.
I could have spent several days here, in this place called the pot of gold at the end of the road. My sketches don’t do it justice, but you may be able to infer by the quantity, just how much I was enchanted with this place.
On day 7, we drove back to Auckland and caught a flight to Queenstown on the south island. I’m sure I’ll be doing a few sketches from my photos, but didn’t have much time on this busy travel day. Here’s my first view of the South Island.
Landing in Queenstown
And here is a rather quick sketch of nearby mountains at the airport while waiting for our ride.