All those years skiing at Treble Cone with that iconic view over Rocky Mountain to Lake Wanaka, with a spectacular range of snow covered mountains in the distance.
That flat topped range is the St Bathans Range, and it's part of the Oteake Conservation Area. There are a couple of huts in the river valleys on the Maniototo side, but I planned to climb up to a small lake hidden just below the main ridgeline, and camp there whilst exploring the tops.
The weather was warm and sunny, perfect camping weather, but somewhat hot as there are no trees or shade in this area of tussock and scree.
The walk up follows 4WD tracks. I chose to use a lesser track rather than the main road, even though I didn't see any vehicles all day. From Omarama Saddle the track continues to climb up to the top of the range, but I veered off at a conveniently cairned spot, climbed over the fence and then had fun scrambling over a boulder field to the lake side.
Luckily, with the dry weather the ground wasn't swampy, as the only suitable spot to pitch the tent wasn't far from the lake outlet. It was such an idyllic spot to sit and watch the birds wheeling in the air above their nesting places in the cliffs opposite, and listen to the water gently lapping the shores.
The next day I climbed up onto the tops for some of the most spectacular views of the Southern Alps I've ever seen. It was such a clear day you could see well north of Mt Cook, and well south of Mt Aspiring.
I also made a phone call, in response to an email I'd received the day before. But more on that later....
Back at the lake I enjoyed a cruisy afternoon sunbathing and reading my book. Who says tramping has got to be about long days of walking?
Next day I returned via a ridge walk across to Little Omarama Saddle and down a very steep 4WD track to the car. It was very hot, and not that enjoyable an experience, but the views were pretty special.
Then I drove to Wanaka to get ready for my next adventure. That's next.....