thomas m wilson

New Zealand’s South Island: The View From the Highlands

May 17th, 2007


I flew over from Sydney on an Air New Zealand plane a couple of days ago and looking beneath me I saw the Southern Alps, with their empty, wide, brown valleys, and craggy peaks. A man from flat and olive coloured Western Australia finds himself in tall mountains, and his soul swoops up with the crests of the snow dusted summits. Honestly.

I stayed in Geraldine, a small town at the foot of the moutains, on the first night. The next morning I stepped outside to see giant sequoias growing in the Geraldine camp ground where our wee white cabin stood. The air was cold and crisp, and the air was still and bright. This evening I’m staying in an old farmhouse just outside Twizel, up on a spacious plateau in the moutains. The fire warms the sitting room, but otherwise it is pretty cold in the evenings, if the days are surpringly warm. The land is dry here, after a long dry summer, and not nearly as green as last time I was in New Zealand one November.


The rivers run cold and clear over grey pebbles.


The colour of the water comes from some mineral – silica I think – suspended in the glacial melt.


Light and shadow battle it out.


Tomorrow is my birthday – I’m turning 29 – and I’m happy to say that I’ll be staying at Kinloch Lodge (there is a link to the place on my links page, under places), a beautiful place north of Queenstown. If anybody wants to ring me, you can use the number on my welcome page, or use the number of Kinloch on their web page.

And yes, the view from this rock was pretty good.