Trip Report South Canterbury

soza

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Having spent the last couple of months settling in to our new home and surroundings i thought it would be nice to show off some photos of what Canterbury has to offer. We havent ventured more than a couple of hours from Geraldine but found some amazing places. Winter is almost on us and im looking forward to trying a few new ski hills and posting some trip reports.

Lake Tekapo.
Wow, the colour of that water. I will never forget that first glimpse as you drive over from Fairlie..... Breathtaking.
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soza

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Mount Peel

Right on our doorstep. Some lovely walks and a monster full day slog up little peel. Still planning on making the trek over from little to big peel.... Just psyching myself up for it.
Mt peel village has a great little cafe/bar that hosts a lot of the local muso talent. Also home to a DOCs camp site with a few on ste cabins, well worth a stop if your passing through.
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soza

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The coast.

To be honest it was a bit of a let down after moving from NSW. But what it lacks in white squeeky sand, bath water temps and rolling surf it makes up for in lack of people.
As for the surf i have seen the few reefs and points work all be it fickle in nature but yet to see anyone out. The local seals and amount of kelp havent done much to intice me either. About 90mins south is Campbells bay and more like what we are used too in Aus... Next summer will be spending a bit of time down here in a beach bach.
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soza

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Kakanui looks to be the closest fun wave, just past oamaru. Saying that im working bang opposite patiti point and seen it break a few times but never seen anyone out. Having been landlocked the last 5 years im a little reluctant to give it a go. I was hoping for a mellow type sumner wave to play on. Will definitely take the board when we get down to Dunedin.​
 

soza

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All the planets aligned this weekend and everyone came out of the wood work. Nice little wave in the bay and the points were firing
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soza

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More pics from the local area...
 

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sbm

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Rangitata river... A raft ride down the river rapids is also on the to do list

Do it. Whitewater kayaking is the closest feeling to bottomless powder skiing I've experienced. Rafting is a bit more disconnected but still a blast.

Screw the surfing, get a second-hand creeking kayak (Waka Kai'tuna or Blisstic Mystic, both Kiwi designed!) and a latex gasket drytop or drysuit, find the local river kayaking club, don't look back.

I've drifted out of whitewater paddling here in Aus (being the land of droughts and flooding rains, there's either no river paddling, or sketchy flooded river paddling twice a year) but NZ is a world class destination for it.
 
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soza

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First official trip report of the season...

Headed up to Mount Hutt on Wednesday to pick the season passes up and give the access road a check. Was a little worried about the road up after things i had read but really its nothing to be too anxious about. A mountain road is a mountain road and your going to get huge drop offs and amazing views be it in the alps, Australia, NZ or Nepal. In comparison to Aussie roads i would liken the drive up to Hutt as similar to Hotham.... But a hell of a lot shorter, 15 minutes drive straight up beats any 40 minute of winding up and down. As its unseeled and short you can stick to the 40km limit and not feel the urge as you do in Australia to get the foot down and tackle it like a world class rally driver. Overall it felt safer than the complacency of driving Aussie accesd roads hundreds of times in the past. Plus its free! No national park fees and if you want you can get the bus for 20 bucks return.

First thing we are greeted with was a huge empty car park and a cute kea parrot hobbling about, we were one of about 30 cars this day. Picked up the passes, seems all the hire stuff, lift passes and cafe are in the same area and only meters from the two main lifts. Six seater was on wind hold this day and although it was bright and sunny it was quite nippy in the SWesterly. Plus you seemed to be in the shade of the mountain most of the day so thermals and different lenses for the goggles were on the list for the next visit.
The mrs and i managed about a dozen runs down highway and Broadway, both nice easy runs, couldnt really venture off the groomed runs as it was icy and in some parts rock bare due to wind. Turned out a perfect day to break off the cobwebs, blast down some empty runs and test the gear out. Home to car park took 1 hour 10 minutes and a nice easy drive.
After seeing the mountain up close i am excited about the long lift accessed runs on offer but also the potential for some serious lines on south face down to the towers chair and out on rakaia saddle.
Just need some proper snow now.
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soza

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Back up to Hutt yesterday with my son for his first trip of the season.
Car park was almost full with a lot more people on the slopes since Wednesday. Still plenty of room on the runs due to summit six turning. Had to stick to groomers again and Broadway became a bit of a bottleneck and churned up to moguls by just after lunch. Real impressed with summit six.... Fast and easy offload. Both son and i loved the long runs from summit six... You certainly dont get those kind of calf burners in Australia. Spectacular views from virgin mile.
Great day, cant wait to get back.... Hopefully a midweek mission this week

Youtube clip...



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soza

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Car overheated on the way up last weekend, half way up to be honest so had to turn around and give it a miss. Figured rather then mess about with a 3 grand subbie shopped around for something newer and trader her in. all set to go up to Hutt yesterday but no go with the wind but managed to get up today once the road was cleared at about 11am. About 15cm of fresh...heavy and damp but still nice to see the mountain in a fresh white coat. Snowed on and off all day, bit of a white out up top but mid to bottom runs were nice and not many people on the hill.




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soza

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Mount Dobson

Headed up on Saturday as the mountain opened for the first time this season on Friday. Love the place already!
Amazing views on the way up and only an hour from home. Quite an easy drive up although it does seem more exposed than Hutt due to no barriers be it man made or earth/snow works. Even stopping for photos on the way up it only took 20 mins. The field has everything you need...gear hire, toilets and cafe serving Fairlie bakehouse pies!. The whole place sits in the sun and picnics by the car are the way to go. Everyone is super friendly and the place just has this nice chill vibe.
We had a mixed bag with the weather, cloud came in making vis poor and it even puked snow for a bit but cleared up in the arvo as the sun broke through. Without the snow making and grooming capabilities of Hutt hidden rocks lurked off the groomers but the temptation of soft dry fresh had everyone cutting lines all over the mountain.....and in the flat light and falling snow you often had no choice but to just plough into it.
Cant wait to get back here once we get another big dump on this base.
The whole basin provides so many options. Kids poma gives long wide runs to learn on, T bar gives access to satisfy most people on its own then you have the triple opening up a bowl that very much reminded me of Yamabiko in Nozawa (minus the trees)
Crowds were non existent even on a weekend and with both car parks in use. The whole staff are super friendly and the customer stoke levels run high. Cant see us battling with the weekend crowds at Hutt again this season.
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soza

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Yeah like zimboo said only half hour and well worth a visit. Tekapo is a great spot, I can see it getting more and more popular as a winter destination. Locals or at least real estates advertise it as the new Wanaka. We are booked in a cabin for a few nights in August ourselves, looking forward to chilling in the lake side hot pools and going ice skating.
 
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Rabid K9

A Local
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Mount Dobson

Headed up on Saturday as the mountain opened for the first time this season on Friday. Love the place already!
Amazing views on the way up and only an hour from home. Quite an easy drive up although it does seem more exposed than Hutt due to no barriers be it man made or earth/snow works. Even stopping for photos on the way up it only took 20 mins. The field has everything you need...gear hire, toilets and cafe serving Fairlie bakehouse pies!. The whole place sits in the sun and picnics by the car are the way to go. Everyone is super friendly and the place just has this nice chill vibe.
We had a mixed bag with the weather, cloud came in making vis poor and it even puked snow for a bit but cleared up in the arvo as the sun broke through. Without the snow making and grooming capabilities of Hutt hidden rocks lurked off the groomers but the temptation of soft dry fresh had everyone cutting lines all over the mountain.....and in the flat light and falling snow you often had no choice but to just plough into it.
Cant wait to get back here once we get another big dump on this base.
The whole basin provides so many options. Kids poma gives long wide runs to learn on, T bar gives access to satisfy most people on its own then you have the triple opening up a bowl that very much reminded me of Yamabiko in Nozawa (minus the trees)
Crowds were non existent even on a weekend and with both car parks in use. The whole staff are super friendly and the customer stoke levels run high. Cant see us battling with the weekend crowds at Hutt again this season.
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Wash your mouth out and zip tie it, Dobson is in a snow shadow, the road is downright horrendous and the graziers have large gun collections.
 
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soza

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I hear ya RabidK9 ;)

I had to have an early start this morning to be back home for 2 and to be fair it was rock solid, ungroomed and in the shade.....

until about 11am then.....well I will let the pictures do the talking
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had a play with a few different GoPro angles for the video.
 
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Dumph

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Looks like this next system is going to bury some of those Canterbury fields?
 
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Zimboo

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100%, northern most fields look like they will get the most. But all of the South Island will get some love
2 day rule in NZ and even then it's never a given where it's going to actually hit most. IMO. One thing that moves fast in NZ is the weather.
Happy days, lotsa snow will fall.
 
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soza

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Lucky me had the day off work yesterday and was all set to take my son to Hutt. Road not opening until lunch so a quick phone call to Dobson and it was on.
These are the days we live for!
4 seasons at Falls Creek and in over 100 days I had only ever scored morning after freshies like this two or three times before.
Was about 11:00 when we hit the car park having to put chains on and deal with the more than usual traffic.
Chair was on hold as they were still grooming that side and with son reluctant to use the T bar we had a few blasts down from the poma. This was killing me! looking up and seeing all the untouched slowly getting tracked out from the ridge. After a few runs I managed to get the boy up to the top of the T bar...he was put off by stacking it last week on the steep mid section. From there it was an easy traverse to wide open faces of powdery goodness. He passed the T bar fear and we manager a couple more before heading down for a drink
Just as we sat down for a drink and a feed the chair started loading. We didn't get any first lines but had a blast the next two hours riding wide of the main crowds until lifts closed.
Noticed quite few hiking higher or dropping into lines that finished way below the car park and lifts.....this place has so many options if your prepared to put the leg work in.
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soza

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Signed up to the Dobson ski club last week, gives us access to a little day shelter on the mountain and great deals on kids lessons every Sunday arvo. All set to go today but the hill was on shut down due to high winds. Instead we headed to Roundhill for the afternoon.
Tekapo village was looking all festive in its coating of snow and the drive along the lake to the ski slope was amazing. Real easy drive up to Roundhill, about 20km on the flat before a short gentle climb.
The place was busy as you would expect on a weekend in the kids holidays and quite a crowd of us were hanging out until 12:15 to get the half day rates.....seemed a popular afternoon stop off for those coming back from Queenstown heading to Methven.
NZAC membership gets you in for student rates at many of the Canterbury slopes and Roundhill is on the list but apparently they are not honoring the deal this year so we were stung full price....also don't think Roundhill are part of the chill pass anymore either.
Is it worth the $85 a day...for a couple of t bars maybe not... Not in comparison to Dobson or Hutt but on a pow day with the rope tow open then yeah I bet its awesome. Didn't see the nutcracker going much as visibility was poor higher up. The main T had a lot of congestion and I timed waits inline as 4 or 5 minutes but the views are amazing and the main blue n green runs are long and fun.
 

soza

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Dobson was so so good yesterday.
After over a metre of snow they were closed all day Sunday for road clearing and then Monday was gale forced winds so Tuesday was the first day open after the storm.
Sure it was a bit wind blown and had a crust in places but on the whole it was nice dry fresh carving pow that had the few of us up there hooting with every run.
Best days boarding in NZ....so far
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soza

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What a weekend!
Saturday was always going to be epic at Dobson. A fresh 30 odd cm on top of the fresh dump a few days earlier. Closed all day Friday getting everything ship shape with facebook photos teasing us with what was in store. Word was out and the place was packed. I heard almost 600 day passes were sold on Saturday, then add the estimated 200+ season pass holders on top. Car parks full and rd closed at 10:00am....cars parked in single file a km or so down from the car parks.....and everyone had to put chains on from the entry gate.
We set off at 7:30 earlier than we normally would, luckily we dont have far to travel so managed to get parked and up the T bar for 2 glorious untouched lines from the top. Chair started rolling about 9:30, never seen it kick off so early, then it was game on. Even with all the traffic the place never felt claustrophobic but it doesnt take long to get tracked out. And slowly after lunch all the easy access hiking terrain became the focus of play.
Family fun for us so no adventures seeking new lines... We just bombed about in bounds charging powder and falling down under a blue sky.
Son and I were back up today on Sunday. Part of the Dobson ski club membership gets the kids cheap lessons every Sunday arvo. We had fun on the groomers and found a few bits off the main runs that wasnt too hard going... The crowds were no way near as bad as the day before then when my son had his lesson i headed out on the splitboard for a run. Would have been unreal yesterday but i still managed a sweet run down from above the main chair. First time skinning this season and i really need to get my arse in gear and get out more.
 
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soza

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Mt Hutt top car park was full by 10am today, crazy for a week day. I made the choice to take the splitboard on the bus up from rakaia saddle and hopefully avoid some of the crowds.
Not the best decision as it was solid bullet proof icy hard pack everywhere. Dropped into the bowl straight out from the top of summit six then skinned the ridge to the north facing run from Hutt summit.
One other guy out there checking the snow pack....over 2 metres depth north side of the ridge and only 200cm the other, just shows what the wind does up here. Neither were worth venturing down, still it was a great day to explore and I got to use the crampons for the first time.
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soza

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Another weekend of the local hills closed to high winds. Thats about 6 for the season now..... Got to be the most frustrating thing about NZ skiing. Roundhill seems to miss the NWers so might have to re think the season pass options next year.
I Think dobson has been closed on more Sundays than open this season.
Oh well, beaut of a day down here so off for a walk on the beach.
 

Summit

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Another weekend of the local hills closed to high winds. Thats about 6 for the season now..... Got to be the most frustrating thing about NZ skiing. Roundhill seems to miss the NWers so might have to re think the season pass options next year.
I Think dobson has been closed on more Sundays than open this season.
Oh well, beaut of a day down here so off for a walk on the beach.
Thanks for so much info about the area and all the pics.

I've heard Roundhill is a very easy drive to the base. Might be in the area late next month. Any worries with a 2wd rental car in good conditions ?
 

soza

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Thanks for so much info about the area and all the pics.

I've heard Roundhill is a very easy drive to the base. Might be in the area late next month. Any worries with a 2wd rental car in good conditions ?
No worries with a 2wd at round hill it's a gentle climb of a couple of km from the turn off (initial 20km from Tekapo is flat unsealed rd following the lake). Fit chains at this turn off if need be or half way up is a little chain fitting bay. I have only known Mt Hutt so far limit access to 4wd only and that was after and during a big snow event ....chance of something like that end of September would be rare, but most welcome.
Have a good trip, also try Dobson as it's not much further.
 

Summit

Old n' Crusty
Ski Pass
Nov 25, 2004
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No worries with a 2wd at round hill it's a gentle climb of a couple of km from the turn off (initial 20km from Tekapo is flat unsealed rd following the lake). Fit chains at this turn off if need be or half way up is a little chain fitting bay. I have only known Mt Hutt so far limit access to 4wd only and that was after and during a big snow event ....chance of something like that end of September would be rare, but most welcome.
Have a good trip, also try Dobson as it's not much further.

Thanks
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soza

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Tawonga South
just to add a bit of realism to the reports, truth is it can and will be frustrating as all hell skiing in NZ.
Last two weeks have seen both Hutt and Dobson only open a few days....true they were epic powder days but if you missed out, like I did then your left with the crusty old scraps.

Yesterday at Hutt only the quad was turning due to the howling nor werster. I`m all fine with sticking to a few groomers but to share it with a zillion others and have to shuffle and clink n clank your way through disorganized lift lines then you begin to question your sanity
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And that was a Friday, imagine the weekend!! Luckily I didn't have to find out as Dobo was open today.
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Ended up having a nice fun day with the family but Dobson does lack a bit when your stuck on groomers as most of the small fields do. Made even harder by the knowledge that three days ago people were getting nip deep!
The wind has done serious damage to both fields and all the nice easy accessed side country is a bust.
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