At Lake Coleridge

Lake Coleridge
 As a native of the English Lake District, I just had to visit Lake Coleridge  - a spectacular stretch of water in the mountains of South Island New Zealand.  It was named in 1848 after nephews of the poet surveyed the area for settlement.  It's Mauri name is Whakamatua and it's situated within sight of Mt Hutt.  You can see the mountains rising towards you out of the flat Canterbury Plain as you drive out of Christchurch.

It was a scorching day, bouncing the hire car (don't tell them!) down gravel tracks that generate a trail of dust.   Down and round, through the mountains until an impossibly blue lake began to glare through the gaps. 

It was very windy and there were real waves smashing on the shore.  Apart from a few wader birds, we had it all to ourselves.

We also stopped at Rakaia Gorge, where the river narrows and becomes very deep.  We had this to ourselves too.
The 'narrow' version of the river!

Rivers in New Zealand can be a mile wide channel of gravel, flood debris and threads of that glacial blue that is startling and somehow almost artificial.  They are not tame, peaceful affairs as they are in England, but wild torrents even in summer, blitzing their way through the banks of gravel and rock.  In spate they must be genuinely awesome!
One of New Zealand's big rivers.

We went for a short walk around the shore-line (all we could take in the 30+ heat) and then I sat beside the lake for a couple of hours, feeling very peaceful and very lucky to be there.  The world, however bad things are economically and politically, is so stunningly beautiful.
One of Lake Coleridge's lagoons.


  1. Oh lovely! I haven't explored this area enough myself - and I live in this country. Thank you for your post - it inspires me to go. I think you'd enjoy Laurence Fearnley's The Hut Builder. See you in Wellington (-:


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