#tbt Off the Beaten Track
With a motorhome or a caravan, you can literally go anywhere; such is the freedom afforded to those who dare. And a few are more daring than others; here are the stories of those who brave the path less travelled.
( #tbt is the ubiquitous- to some- hashtag that means 'throwback'. From time to time, we will publish online some of the most memorable articles from The Motor Caravanner- this is from issue 320 April/May 2016 )
Laurence Belcher (#18105)
“My lifetime’s interest in photography began when my grandfather bought me a Kodak Box Brownie when I was 10-yearsold. I worked for TVNZ for many years before my wife Carol and I made the big move south. We live between Glenorchy and Paradise at the head of Lake Wakatipu and the stunning scenery we have here is just magical for a photographer. It’s often as simple as just pressing the shutter button and the scenery does the rest for you.
“Since moving to Paradise I’ve set up a photo tour business called Paradise Pictures in order to pass on my knowledge to others whilst visiting the many breathtaking locations in the area. Our move to Central Otago has been a fabulous decision. We just love the scenery, the landscape, and also the warmth and friendship of the people.
“For Off the Beaten Track I decided to go in search of the renowned New Zealand artist Grahame Sydney and some of the locations for his stunning landscape paintings of the Maniototo. The Maniototo is a different world. It’s the big open, rugged and empty, landscape that I love: the rolling hills and craggy outcrops; the clear blue skies and the moody storm clouds; the crystal clear waters of the southern rivers and lakes with their sometimes unbelievable colours; the lenticular clouds that we call the ‘Southern Wave’ rolling across the mountain tops from the west.
“Walking through the thyme-covered hills during early summer, with their fragrance filling the air. Feeling the hot dry temperatures of summer and then breathing the cold crisp clear air in the cooler months of the year. Watching the landscape change as the trees turn to yellow and then brown in the autumn, then a totally different look as the first snow covers everything in a white cloth.Tourism Central Otago describes the region as ‘A world of difference’ and it certainly is that and more.”
Our move to Central Otago has been a fabulous decision. We just love the scenery, the landscape, and also the warmth and friendship of the people.
NZMCA member Laurence Belcher’s decision to go in search of the renowned New Zealand artist Grahame Sydney’s locations for his landscape paintings of the Maniototo led to this photo of storm clouds over the Hawkdun Range, in Central Otago. PHOTO BY LAURENCE BELCHER.
How to get here
St Bathans is 60 km north east of Alexandra off SH85 (Alexandra to Ranfurly).
St Bathans originally lay in a small gully. After a decade of mining, Kildare Hill, which enclosed the town on one side, had been flattened and by 1936, as a result of extensive hydraulic mining, there was a lake. The lake bottom was some 40 metres below the town's main street and was filled with mineral enriched water. This is what has given the lake its blue appearance. You can walk a 2km track around Blue Lake.
David Francis (#57628) takes inspiration from Bruce Ansley's book Wild Roads in navigating NZ's tough back roads. READ IT HERE
Jo-anne Mowat and partner Allan Nokes (#62743) discover something precious in Central Otago. READ IT HERE
What does one usually find at the end of a long & dusty metal road? Judith Bishop (#11718) takes a leap of faith to find out. READ IT HERE