Motueka Valley and St. Arnaud


From Abel Tasman National Park, I drove to St. Arnaud via an inland road known as the Moutere Highway which winds through the Motueka Valley and its pine forests, vineyards, and orchards. The area is quite spectacular with mountains, rivers, beaches, and bush. It’s easy to understand why many artists live there. Some of the blends of local architecture include older buildings converted to galleries and cafes. I met several artists and locals who moved to the valley after losing their homes and businesses in the Christchurch earthquake.

St. Arnaud is a small alpine village at the northern end of Lake Rotoiti. I spent the day today hiking around Mt. Robert, Buller River, and Lake Rotoiti – breathtaking vistas and well-groomed hiking trails. Saw a few kiwis – very strange-looking birds! The weather was perfect and the scenery gorgeous. Locals say snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are fantastic in the winter. The owner of the lodge where I’m staying shared some photos from last season.

Tomorrow morning it’s on the road again and I head for the West Coast, Mt. Cook, and the glaciers via Reefton. Since I’m on the move the experience here is New Zealand is much different from Cape Town and South Africa – not complaining but I do think of Cape Town often and miss it very much…

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