Lake Kaniere

Trip Start Oct 01, 2012
Trip End Oct 01, 2015

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Flag of New Zealand  , West Coast,
Thursday, November 14, 2013

We set off straight from work and began our journey over to the west coast; we were heading to a lake house that we'd hired out for the weekend on the banks of Lake Kaniere. The drive through Arthurs pass was as beautiful as ever and within an hour or so wed made it half way where we decided to stop for some dinner.

We met the others in the restaurant and devoured some food – tai even managed to swap his after eating half already for sally’s full meal only to get his back again as she couldn’t finish it so he essentially ate 2 huge dinners…classic tai!

A couple of hours later and we arrived at the lake house – it was HUGE and slept around 30 people, we picked our beds and headed up to the deck to crack open a beer and appreciate the view. We spent the rest of the evening chatting and getting to know everyone.

The following day we woke up and had a bit of a lazy morning while everyone got ready for the day ahead, we had decided to try out a 7hr walk that sally had researched…7 hours – that’s nothing compared to some of the treks we did in South America! Or so we thought.

We parked up the car on the banks of the lake and headed up onto the track, it was the first time we had seen the proper west coast and it was amazing, the trees where covered in vines and leaves all the way from the tips to the floor and any part not covered in leaves was covered in moss, even the floor and the vines that hung down from the canopy above – it was like stepping into a fairy tale. The walk started off well and we were all commenting on how easy it was – we spoke to soon and shortly after the nice easy gradient became a steep clambering hill that we were having to drag ourselves up. Of course neither me nor Tai were dressed for hiking and before long our skinny jeans were starting to become very uncomfortable. After about an hour (maybe 45 minutes but that’s just too embarrassing) we found a clearing where we stopped and had lunch, there was a break in the trees here and we could look out over the lake below. After lunch – most of which ended up tasting like insect repellent we decided we’d conquered enough of this great walk and began to head back down! Although we failed miserably it was still a great morning and a perfect introduction to the west coast. On the way back to the lodge we stopped at a waterfall which was just off the road down an easy track with a duration of 1minute – this is more like it we thought and off we went.

The waterfall was lovely and we were the only ones there – sally and Kim were brave enough to try out the water which was so cold it even looked painful, we hung around here for a while and then decided to head off on another 5minute walk to a creek which turned out just to be the bank of the lake, it was lovely sitting looking out over the water and tai even practised his Maori weaving skills on some nearby leaves – quite impressive – but maybe I’m a little bias! We were soon being eaten alive by sand-flies and decided it was time to head back to the lodge. When we got back we met a couple of the others who told us the boat had broken down on the lake and they were waiting for someone to rescue them, with no phone signal or radio they were just having to wait till they saw someone and hopefully get their attention, Corde and tai being the hero’s went off to see if they could help, while sally and I relaxed with a beer!

After an hour or so the panic was over as they apparently managed to get it restarted and were back in the lodge. That evening we had a big group dinner and managed to drink the place dry whilst playing card and board games – including our new favourite – balderdash!

The next day we awoke with slightly sore heads and only made it out of bed at around midday, we had a very small breakfast and someone mentioned walking down to the lake and going for a swim. We quickly got dressed and headed off with them expecting to be back in half an hour; Corde decided to stay behind and have a "responsible lunch" and meet us down there later. The track we followed was just as beautiful as the previous day just this time to our delight it was a little flatter. Still it took us around an hour to reach the lake and with no water we were all gasping by the time we arrived which was probably due to dehydration after the night before and the fact we were walking through the jungle in jumpers!

On the bank of the lake was a small little beach and again we were the only people around, we all got into our swimming stuff and quickly ran into the lake – it was freezing to the point where you lose your breath, but it was really invigorating and after a while we got used to the cold. The Lake is about 200m deep and so when you look down all you see if your legs and then nothing but black – it was quite eerie. Me and sally were the last ones in, the others were already warming themselves on the beach, we decided to go for a swim and were chatting about how we want to do more wild swimming and how we were really getting into this outdoor lifestyle, we were even contemplating buying some clothes from Kathmandu in preparation for our next adventure, then all of a sudden sally screamed that something was biting her, I can’t remember what happened next as there was a bit of a panic and adrenalin took over but I think I left her to fight the unknown monster alone as I frantically swam back to shore, getting out of the lake wasn’t as easy as I though as when I tried to stand up the rocks on the floor cut into my feet making me fall over and begin flailing around on the lake edge, cutting my knee in the process as the others looked on with bemusement. With our heads held low we returned to where everyone was sitting and began to question our future in the great outdoors. We dried off and then began the hour walk back and by the time we reached the house at 5pm we were starving and sat down to some pre dinner snacks and a game of periodic table top trumps!

Seeing as wed managed to polish off all the beers the previous night the boys went off in search of some more, they found a local pub and managed to buy the majority of their stock from them. We had another group dinner followed my some amazing homemade crème bruless and mini kiwi Pavlovas. With full bellies we all retired to the sofas and played charades for the rest of the evening

The following day was the last day – we got up and spent a couple of hours cleaning the house and packing up the cars before heading off to the lake, Anna – the girl who had brought the boat wanted to give it one last go in the water and although slight dubious, me, tai, sally and Corde all went with her, it started without a hitch and off we went over the other side where you were allowed to pick up some speed. Corde decided he was going to give water skiing a go, however after 3 failed attempts and with 2 arms nearly out of their sockets he was back on the boat, tai was up next and opted for some knee boarding, on his second attempt he was off and flying along behind us, me and sally just couldn’t stop laughing as he just wouldn’t crack a smile as he was concentrating so hard, after a while Anna made a signal that he was about to go over some waves but tai though she was waving and so waved but which unfortunately meant he lost his balance and tumbled into the water. Next up me and sally decided to try out the biscuit – basically a donut but without the hole and you lay on your stomach. Talking of stomachs mine is still hurting from laughing so much, hanging on for dear life as we slid across the water neither myself nor sally could control our hysterical fits of giggles as we bounced and bumped around all over the place, at one point we caught some air and I landed on top of sally who managed to hold on still as I screamed, I’m sorry I’m sorry whilst still laughing!

It was over in a flash and then Anna put us to shame with someone legged water skiing and wake boarding, we all had a few more goes on the biscuit, tai – being tai managed to remain calm and collected as Anna got thrown off and skimmed along the water on their go. It was so much fun and we were all buzzing as we got the boat out of the lake and headed off to a nearby town of hokitika to grab some lunch before headed back to Christchurch.

Hokitika is a small little place on the coast with a high street lined with little cafes and shops selling jade as well as a sock machine museum - to our dissapointment we couldnt seem to find the entrance so wasnt able to visit, we found a little garden café and had some lovely food, none of us wanting to admit the weekend was finally drawing to a close. We said our good byes and were back on the road before we knew it. It had been a great weekend and we both fell in love with the west coast, now we just have to work out how to save enough money to get ourselves a boat!
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Alison on

Did you ever find if a relation of the Loch Ness monster was doing the biting?

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