It started raining some time early in the morning. Now, several hours later having driven through the Haast Pass to the West Coast township of Haast, it seemed to be getting harder. I parked by the Haast Bridge, ate lunch in the car and went for a walk beside the river before starting the drive back to Makarora. On the way, I stopped at Thunder Creek Falls.
The falls are an impressive 28 metres high and the recent heavy rain had left the river level high and the falls heavy with water. By the time I reached the viewing platform for the falls, the rain had gotten harder, heavier, was coming in sideways and for some reason I had only brought an fairly ineffective umbrella.
As I once again followed the Haast River along State Highway 6 (the Haast Pass-Makarora Road), it was at a place called Greenstone Creek that I decided that the rain wasn’t going to stop anytime soon. By the time I got to a place called Harris and Glitterburn Creek I noticed the rain seemed to be getting harder and at Roy’s Creek the river levels seemed a lot higher than earlier. Still, I pressed on back to Makarora, past waterfalls that had names such as Depot, Roaring Billy, Thunder, Diana and Fantail before the steep ascent through the top of the Haast Pass. It was then that the rain turned to snow. Not more than three hours earlier the same road had been covered in nothing more than rain. Now, it was covered in snow, thick mountain snow with large snowflakes that were settling quickly on the ground. Just before the summit of the pass I reached several vans that had stopped and at the summit itself, under the trees a gathering of vans and four-wheels drives were celebrating the winter snowfall with a liquid afternoon tea. Not being able to resist, I stopped for a bit and enjoyed the thick, new fallen snow that covered the pass. It almost seemed impossible to believe that this was the same place I’d driven through, earlier in the day. Late in the afternoon as I arrived back in Makarora the valley was surrounded with snow while beyond the mountains the sun was starting to set. It was all rather pretty.
This is the Sugerloaf Stream that flows through the Routeburn Track in Mount Aspiring National Park. The park was established in 1964 and covers 3,562 square kilometres. Not only is the Routeburn Track part of the National Park but there’s also tramping and hiking options that include the Rees-Dart circuit, Gillespie Pass circuit and The Mātukituki Valley.
… from a Small City. My daily musings from Ōtepoti to get you inspired. Read the blog, view the photos, embrace the creativity.
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