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On the Road Again

Sunday 22nd November 2015

sunny 18 °C

I am becoming acutely aware of how near we are to the end of our travels and how few days we have left in New Zealand. Apart from one night near Christchurch airport, Lake Coleridge where we are going today is our penultimate destination. The journey was going to take us just under three hours and having said goodbye to Ban we were soon on our way. Once out of the Town we headed south to Fairlie and then through Burke's Pass skirting round the mountains that lie to the east of Tekapo.

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Once we reached the town of Geraldine we were ready for a break and so we stopped at a farm shop and cafe just out of the town for coffee. It had some great supplies in the shop but as we were having meals provided at the bed and breakfast in Lake Constance we didn't need to get any groceries. The road then turned northeastwards until we reached the southern slopes of Mount Hutt,

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the south islands premier skiing resort. As we had some time to spare we drove off the main highway to try to have a closer look at the mountain but the road quickly turned to gravel and so we turned round and went back. I understand that access to the mountain is problematic in the winter earning the mountain the nickname of Mount Shutt. By this time we were were approaching the Rakaia River and gorge of the same name. There are two bridges that span the river and we stopped for a short while to look at the view.

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The second of the bridges looked quite old and was undergoing some much needed repairs. There was a very steep winding gravel road that went off the the left just after the bridge but instead we continued straight on for a few more miles before taking the easier Lake Coleridge Road. About half way up to where we were going to be staying there is a golf course and hotel called the Terrance Downs Resort that I had looked at when doing our bookings but had rejected for the cheaper and more secluded Lake Constance Lodge. We decided to stop off en-route and have a cup of tea before driving the final few miles to the Lodge. Once we arrived we met our very nice hosts Dean and Toni and Dean showed us around and gave us a choice of rooms. Once we had settled in a had a cup of tea and slice of cake made by Toni, we went off to explore. The Lodge was the single men's quarters for the hydro electric power station just a few yards away. This was completed in 1914 and was built to generate electricity for Christchurch. It is powered by a number of intakes from Lake Coleridge and the water then discharges into the Rakaia River. It was fascinating snooping around and seeing the huge intake pipes coming down the hillside and then exploring the wide braided river.

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The Lodge still has the feel of a hostel whilst having the creature comforts of a nice bed and breakfast. There is a lot of information on the walls about the building's past and Dean and Toni have also introduced lots of extras to appeal to the tourist and corporate markets such as pitch and putt golf and a hot tub (neither of which we ended up using). Once we had finished exploring we had just enough time to go and freshen up before a great meal of lamb shanks followed by a panna cotta all prepared by Toni.

Posted by Gill's Travels 20:49 Archived in New Zealand

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