For over one hundred years now across South Canterbury the traveller is greeted with rich pastoral land, shelter belts, green pleasant valleys and rippling crystal clear streams. When he reaches the top of Burkes Pass he is confronted with a landscape as different as it is dramatic. The Mackenzie high country is a vast inland basin, noted not only for its merinos and tussock but for its lakes; Tekapo, Pukaki, and Ohau and its adjacent mountains and the unique flora and fauna and snow. A pleasant alternative scenic route through the Mackenzie is along the road following the Tekapo Canal, which provides water to Tekapo B power station in Lake Pukaki. Turn right at Maryburn and continue all the way to Lake Pukaki. Not recommended in windy weather or if there is icy road conditions. Another alternative route to Pukaki is the Braemar Rd, shingle but has scenery, pick it up just north of Tekapo after the Godley Peak road on the right. Do take the side trip Godley Peak road down to Mt. John and Lakes Alexandrina and McGregor for some good bird watching.
Timaru Herald 30/08/2014
Black stilts, or kaki, are in the same critically endangered category as kakapo and takahe, but can readily be seen in the wild. Kaki had been seen occasionally in the bays around Lake Tekapo township and on the greens at the Cairns golf course. As of February 2014 there were 131 adults and 20 juveniles known to the Department of Conservation. DOC wants to increase the profile on this iconic Canterbury icon [red and black]. Kaki are restricted to the braided rivers and wetlands of the Mackenzie Basin, South Canterbury. Kaki have been intensively managed since 1981, when their population declined to a low of just 23 birds. By 2000, wild adult kaki numbers had increased to 31, and in Sept. 2012 there were 60. DOC's captive breeding centre, near Twizel, plays an important role in the kaki recovery programme. "Despite 20 years of intensive conservation efforts, this species remains the most threatened wading bird in the world. Kaki are listed as nationally critical in the DOC threat ranking. The annual release of captive reared birds, taken as eggs from wild and and captive pairs, in combination with predator control, has prevented it from becoming extinct in the wild. If DOC stopped managing them, they would be extinct in eight years. Thirty birds from the Isaac Conservation Trust and 22 birds from Twizel will be released into the wild. Fifty-two kaki will also be released into the Tasman River.
Black Swans - Lake Alexandrina
Tasman Valley Rd.
South CanterburyGenWeb Project Home Page
The land here dominates. Everything is on a macro scale. Hills are mountains, rivers are raging torrents, the wind is a dervish, and the sky contains the whole universe. Even this time of year, snow lurks at the top of the highest peaks and clouds roll down to cover the ridges and tops. wrote strathmorepark in January 2014
Press, 17 May 1910, Page 8
The Mackenzie plains are somewhat peculiarly environed. They are almost completely surrounded by hills, the result being that the snow lies longer on them than on the hills, and to this extent growth is retarded. It is further interfered with by the scorching nor- westers, which burn up everything in their track. It is noteworthy, however, that wherever shelter and water are obtainable good results are got from the soil. At Mr Matheson's Simon's Pass station, for instance, there are excellent paddocks of cocksfoot that have Keen down for over twenty years. Again, there is a rabbiter's hut with a cultivation patch which is on the hillside, about 150 ft above the plain, where fruit of all kinds is raised, grapes are grown in the open, and potatoes and tomatoes grow well. The analyses of soil taken from the plains show that it is not lacking in the essentials for plant life, and, generally but for their exposure to climatic extremes, for the absence of shelter, and of sufficient rainfall, there appears on reason why this country should be deteriorating into a state of uselessness. The plains comprise an area of thousands of acres, and the importance of finding a solution to the problem of their depletion of vegetation is apparent.