Transported to Middle Earth (Part One)- Mt Sunday(611m)

“On a Mish” #106 Transported to Middle Earth (Part One). Mt Sunday(611m). Hakatere Conservation Park. 17.7.2017. As you round a small corner on the Hakatere / Mount Potts Road and get your first view of the Rangitata Valley you can understand why Sir Peter Jackson knew this area would be used in all of the Lord of the Rings movies. The grand mountain scene deep in Hakatere Conservation Park became ‘Edoras’ during the filming of the three movies…

A huge majority of the visitors to the area beyond Lake Clearwater Village come to hike and enjoy the views on the Mt Sunday Track. The easy mini mountain track is not only enjoyable due to the world class vistas, but also because it was featured so much throughout the trilogy that it is instantly recognizable to the diehard fans of the films. Just like Te Awa Whakatipu Dart River, as soon as you see the sight you are transported to Middle Earth.

I have memories of visiting the place when I was younger and although the area has some incredible mountains around it, I fondly remember hiking with my Whanau over taking in the grandeur on display. I wanted to repeat the experience with my 6-year-old nephew, Benji and 1-year-old niece, Beffie, with the hope it will persuade them into enjoying the outdoors just like their old uncle.

Sunrise at Lake Clearwater

The 2017 winter was a cold one for the Hakatere / Ashburton Lakes Area. Cold enough to freeze most of Lake Clearwater and all of Lake Camp. The lake used to freeze a lot more in the past, so it was a treat for us to see in the times when a good freeze is rare.

Before getting to the Mt Sunday Track, we had the opportunity to spend a night at Lake Clearwater Village. It was awesome to be able to stop in and not rush our mish as we just had to explore the slippery snowy surroundings. Unless you drive up to a ski field, it is getting harder and harder to find snow to play in. We managed to find some snow on a small hill to slide down, and there were many laughs as we took in the incredible winter environment.

The sun slowly disappeared behind the icy giants west of the village and with the temperatures plummeting we retreated to the warmth of the cosy crib. The team spent an enjoyable night nice and toasty beside the roaring fire in the small house nestled right in the middle of the village. We are lucky to be able to use the place thanks to very close family friends, and because I normally visit the place by myself, I was extra cautious about any mess. It would be a disaster if I was told I couldn’t use the crib anymore!

Early-ish the next morning I was stoking the fire while the team slowly woke up. A sunrise of brilliant colour indicated that it was going to be a great day! Mt Sunday(611m) is about 20 minutes from the village, and during the drive we all witnessed the famous view of Mt Sunday and the Rangitata Valley which hit Sir Peter Jackson like a ton of beautiful bricks of beauty…

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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