On our last full day in NZ, when we set out to drive to Christchurch and our flight home, the sun was still shining and the poplars were still glowing.
The small town of Seddon features a joint single-lane road-rail bridge spanning the Awatere River, which was in service until 2007, when a new road bridge replaced the road bridge component. The railway line is still in use on the upper level of the old historic bridge.
The saltworks at Lake Grassmere near Seddon provides about half of NZ’s salt requirements.
Seawater from the Pacific Ocean is pumped into Lake Grassmere. Evaporation from sun and wind occurs during summer, then the very salty water is pumped into shallow crystallisation ponds. As salinity increases, crystallised salt forms and is extracted.
The famous pink to purple colour of the crystallisation ponds is caused by natural microscopic green algae that change to pink in the high salt concentration. There are also small pink shrimps in the water that thrive in this salty environment. It has been suggested that the same phenomena gives the Red Sea its name.
While there would have been better viewpoints for photographing the pink water, my driver was becoming a little twitchy about the distance between us and Christchurch (quite a lot) compared with the distance we had travelled so far (not much) so I made do with this rather narrow strip of pink water and off we set again.
We drove along yet more picturesque road, with the Pacific Ocean on our left…..
….. and rugged mountain ranges on our right.
Just north of the seaside town of Kaikoura we stopped to watch some NZ fur seals sunbathing on the rocks.
The name Kaikoura means to eat crayfish, and a couple of young men there were preparing to go diving for crayfish, as they said they were too expensive for them to buy. They said they were permitted to catch six each per day, and were hoping to do that. They also told us the cheapest place to buy crayfish was at some caravans a bit further along the road. We stopped there, but the crayfish there ranged from $49 - $80 each, so we decided they were too expensive for us as well.
The young men told us where to find some seal pups.
Under Mum’s watchful eye.
They were so cute!
We had a picnic lunch in Kaikoura (which did not include crayfish) with the ocean in front of us…..
….. and snow-capped mountains behind us.
It was very restful watching the waves breaking onto the rocks right beside us.
A little further south, I found a picture for the Flickr “Minimalist” theme for the week.
The road – and a railway line - followed the sea, but could be quite rugged in places, with frequent tunnels through the steep rocks.
Then we headed for the hills again.
We continued to see poplars…..
….. and lakes…..
….. and mountains.
This was the last picture I took on our NZ holiday. Navigating took over from photography as we entered Christchurch, and we were surprised at how very busy the traffic was. By the time we negotiated the traffic to our motel, we were happy to have dinner and call it a night after such a beautiful day.
Next morning we set off early for the airport – through heavy rain! We couldn’t believe how lucky we had been to have had such glorious weather for most of our 17 days!
Thank you Pat for such excellent planning, safe driving and endless patience while I took endless pictures. It has been a wonderful holiday.