Looking south toward Parkiri Beach

Nick Lowe

The area of the South Island we traversed in the summer of 2013.

Watering some plants

We covered the area from Godley Glacier (at the top) to Ophir (at the bottom).

Due to bad weather, we hadn’t travelled over all the country we wanted to last year. So once again, we organised the Naked Overlanders’ four wheel drive trip. Again this year we started at Geraldine’s South Canterbury Sun Club. Here we met up with Possum. Other North Islanders were going to join us after Nick had completed the Coast to Coast run during the weekend.
Watering some plantsOn Saturday morning, several vehicles and members of S.C.S.C. joined us to head west from the club grounds to Orari Gorge Station, just a few kilometres away. The first seven km through the station to the old bridge is a public road, but in disrepair and not able to be crossed. It is now farm track. We had to go up Andrews Stream before crossing over and coming down alongside the Orari River, to drive through to Blue Mountain station. During a stop close to the river three of us clambered down for a very refreshing swim.
After lunch at a hut up a side gully, we drove down toward Lake Opuha. On this trip permission has to be obtained from both stations, as there are locked gates. After another refreshing swim by a brave few, the S.C.S.C members left to go back to Geraldine. Now down to three vehicles, we headed for the south side of Lake Tekapo were we found a glorious spot for nude freedom camping beside Lake McGregor, which also borders the shore of Lake Tekapo.
Watering some plantsWith another glorious day we were looking forward to exploring new country. Possum started out under the bonnet of his Landy but problems were quickly solved.
This time we travelled west through Glenmore Station and up the Cass valley, passing several tarns (glacial lakes, some of which were quite large) up the valley to Waterfall Hut. Here, an earthquake had opened up the hillside, resulting in spectacular waterfalls. After lunch we meandered up the riverbed toward the head of this scenic valley.
Watering some plants Mick had to go back to work when we got back to camp. Next day, after packing up, we went back to Tekapo to meet Nick and Wendy and their passengers, Patrick and Catherine; as well as Max and Kathy with their shiny Queen Street 4WD.
Finally, after several unsuccessful attempts due to bad weather, I was taking a nude group up to the Godley Glacier!
Watering some plantsFrom Tekapo we drove up the north side of the lake to the Macaulay River. On the way, Possum was the first casualty with a flat tyre; but with no spare, he just kept going!
After passing the Lilybank Station Lodge and homestead we stopped for photos by a signpost. We then spotted the loss of Max’s personalised RAPERE number plate. A bit further on he had to use insulation tape to hold parts of his vehicle together and we hadn’t yet started on the real rough stuff!
Slowly, we worked our way through washed out tracks, into the heart of the Southern Alps. Sixty two kilometres from Tekapo we finally reached Red Stag hut. Patrick and Catherine tented; Possum slept on top of his vehicle. The rest of us slept in the hut, which was furnished with two sets of three level bunks.
The next day started with a double: a flat battery and tire in one vehicle. That sorted, out we bounced a further Watering some plantstwo kilometres up the valley, to McKinnon Stream. With the going getting too rough for the vehicles, it was walking for the next four kilometres. Always up for a challenge, Nick went back for his vehicle, drove further up, then we saw him carrying his kayak to the glacier lake. On the way back out, Max lost his spoiler. With plastic bits falling off, it was slowly turning into a proper 4WD.
Watering some plantsBack down by by Lilybank, Possum had his second flat tyre. Thankfully it wasn’t at the top end of the valley! However, this meant a trip to Tekapo and back to get him mobile again, so Max was able to get his spare fixed. Then it was home to Mt Menzies.
Next day we went up to the Kurow (TV) translator. Much to Possum’s joy a Toyota was stopped there with its bonnet up. Here, we had lunch with the most spectacular views of the Waitaki and Hakataramea valleys and across North Otago. Having left their Queen St 4WD behind, Max and Kathy were pleased to be passengers as we headed into very steep and challenging 4WD conditions. Possum ended up in his element, managing to shoot a couple of wallabies.
Once packed up the next day, it was back to Omarama. After a look around the clay cliffs we carried on to the eastern side of the Omarama saddle. Looking north was a most spectacular view of the MacKenzie country, across the lakes to Mt Cook. During this trip Wendy was in the driver’s seat while Nick was biking over to Central Otago. Then Kathy tried some 4WDriving.
Watering some plants At St Bathans we set up camp at the domain. Back at the Vulcan Hotel later that night, Patrick met a guy he had been to school with, who also used to play tennis with my wife, Shirley. “It’s a small world.”
In the morning we went back to this quaint, historic hotel. In town there were signs of life: a dog crossed the road. Joined by more naturists, the owners were happy to let us to spend some time on a photo shoot and coffee; and also to have a look around Blue Lake. From here we went down to Ophir which is said to be both the coldest and hottest place in New Zealand. While taking photos there, a policeman pulled up; but only ensure we’d asked the publican for permission.
Watering some plants
Just north of Cromwell, we went through Northburn Station. From Lake Dunstan at a height of 200 metres, we drove up Champaign Gully with a very rapid ascent to Leaning Rock, 1647 metres up the Dunstan Mountains. With spectacular views of Central Otago and the cooler temperatures up here, some braved the moment to get nude for some scenic photos. Watering some plantsTravelling along the Dunstan Mountains, it was a good thing Wendy had a computer with a topographical map for confirmation we were heading the right way. At Thompsons Track we turned north, toward Tarras, before heading west to Lowburn where Alpine Lakes Naturist Club members were celebrating its 21st birthday. This was a nice, social way to spend our last evening together. After such a fantastic week it was sad to see the grubby Queen St jeep minus some parts and the NUDIST Toyota Surf; head north to the Picton ferry in the morning.
The rest of our day was spent at Bendigo Station with several people from ALNC, enjoying an interesting nudist exploration of the historic goldfields. That evening the Alpine Lakes members put on a fantastic meal, catering to fifty people for their club’s birthday; at which we also heard some interesting speeches.
Next morning photos were taken for our various clubs, then after lunch we visited the old Cromwell town; a nostalgic end to our Naked Overlanders’ trip.

Will Fraser (Article & photos) from Mt Menzies