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Nov 11

St Arnaud – Honeydew and Bellbirds at Lake Rotoiti

Today's destination is the Abel Tasman National Park. But we don't want to drive the whole way back on SH1. In Blenheim we turn onto Inland Road SH63 along Wairau River and Mount Richmond Forest Park. The drive is scenic but we feel tired today. In the afternoon we arrive in Saint Arnaud at beautiful Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes National Park where we want to take a break. We like this place at once and decide to stay overnight at the DOC Campground Kerr Bay right by the lake.

St ArnaudLake Rotoiti · more St Arnaud pictures more pictures

At the lake are two wooden wharfs. A family has spotted something interesting there, both parents and children are lying on the planks, looking down into the water. 6 large eels are bustling there.

The place is relatively comfortable and – characteristic for DOC Campgrounds – wonderfully located. There's a hot shower and an outdoor kitchen with some sandflies. No office, instead there's a board at the entrance where you put the fee of $12 p.p. into an envelope and throw it into a box.

St ArnaudHiking in Nelson Lakes National Park · more St Arnaud pictures more pictures

There are some walks and tracks starting at the campground. Spontaneously, I walk the Loop Track and then the Honeydew Walk. There's the scent of honey in the air, although you can't see any blossoms. Instead the tree trunks are a black colour, almost like coal. Little insects who produce the honeydew live in the tree trunks. You can see tiny transparent drops, each hanging from something like a hair from the tree trunks. Nectar-eating birds love the honeydew and are all around. Now, in the evening, you can hear the beautiful sound of the Bellbird, and of course there are also Tui. Even a Kākā, who have become very rare, leaps through the treetops.

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