Merino Sheep, Mt Cook
blogging, Photography, Travel

Cromwell and The Lindis Pass

Lindiis pass
Iceland or New Zealand?

New Zealand has often been compared to Norway. In fact, on the way to Kastrup airport in Denmark, I saw one of those massive billboards, illuminated with a photograph of a snow-covered mountain.

The caption read,

“Norway?

No! New Zealand!”

Several years ago, I took a bus from Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand all the way to Queenstown, via Mt Cook. I am hoping that I will be able to do this trip again.

If you are tempted to travel this section of New Zealand, I recommend taking a power block, or back up batteries for your phone or camera, because, if you are anything like me, you will find many jaw-dropping photo opportunities, as you pass through the Southern Alps.

One of the sights we passed by, that got the attention of fellow bus passengers, was a location that was one the film sets of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings Movie trilogy.

Cromwell.....the Lindis pass
The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was filmed in this location

Apparently, the local farmers were called in to provide extras for the Horse Stampede scene. This involved a large number of horsemen, a battle charge and horse stampede. The crews were set up and ready to film and had organized a large group of local farmers to be on standby as horsemen actors, but Peter Jackson felt that the weather and light was not optimal for filming so he cancelled the day.

This went on each day, for seven days. The farmers dutifully turned up each day, at the appointed time, ready for their big-screen break. After Peter Jackson cancelled filming again on the seventh consecutive day, the Farmers walked off the set.

They complained they couldn’t afford to be away from their farms, for so many days on end, twiddling their thumbs, so it was decided that their wives would step in and provide the horsemen extras for the stampede scene.

Next time you watch one of the movies and you think you are witnessing a cavalry charge of men, think again!!!

The Lindis Pass

The 60 kilometre stretch of road, known as the Lindis Pass, is considered by some to be the most beautiful passes in all of New Zealand. With the tussock grass covering all but the high snowy peaks, it is a great place to stop and view the majesty of the Southern Alps.

Be sure to check road conditions for the pass in the town of Omarama before you embark on this journey, as the pass crosses 971 metres above sea level, at its highest point. As such, its often closed due to bad weather conditions. It can even have black ice, making driving treacherous.

Approaching Lindis pass in our bus, I spotted a road farther up encircling the peak of the mountain; one that would give Norway’s “Trollstigen” a bit of competition.

On the way to Cromwell.....the Lindis pass

Traffic through the pass will often queue up when weather conditions force road closure for a few hours, or days. Oftentimes, travellers waiting along the road, will leave their cars and walk around collecting piles of rocks which they turn into cairns.

Norwegians would call these trolls.

Norge
Trolls at Trollstigen

Yet another parallel between New Zealand and Norway.

In many ways, travelling through this area I that if I squinted, I could easily fool myself that I was somewhere in Scandinavia or Iceland again.

Merino Sheep, Mt Cook

And that brings us to Lake Dunstan. It glorious aqua colour indicative of the glaciers that feed it.

Ski Fields and Lake Dunstan

Andrew our bus driver, explained how Lake Dunstan was created when a river was dammed, so the old township of Cromwell had to be relocated and the locals rehoused.

If you’re a ski bunny, the ski fields of Queenstown are a manageable driving distance away from this spot, (50 minutes to The Remarkables and 40 minutes to Wanaka). This is a great alternative to staying in Queenstown itself, which can be a tad more expensive.

Mt Cook

Activities in Otago and Queenstown

Besides Skiing, activities for individuals and groups who prefer to explore and experience places at their leisure, include:

  • Four-wheel driving the many hill tracks, or guided 4WD tours
  • Trekking and mountain biking
  • Visiting the Central Otago vineyards
  • Exploring the heritage stone buildings
  • Museum and Old Cromwell Town
  • Old mining landscapes
  • Guided fishing trips on Lake Dunstan
  • Golf
  • Snowmobiles (winter only)
  • Jet boating the Kawarau or Clutha Rivers

Continuing our bus journey meant only a short Tea stop at the roadside Fruit stall. I took the opportunity to purchase a couple of serves of breakfast fruit at farm gate prices.

do not touch

The stall also displayed some of the largest pine cones I have seen.

Ever the compliant tourist, I didn’t touch them.

31 thoughts on “Cromwell and The Lindis Pass”

  1. I’ve heard much about the spectacular scenery of New Zealand. How interesting that you have they stacked stones in both countries. In Canada we call them inukshuks, an Inuit word meaning ‘stone man that points the way.’ I suppose its common marker for terrain above the tree line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sandy! I always manage to learn something from your comments.
      Inukshuks! What a wonderful word. Having an extremely small percentage of Inuit genes, I am very interested in that culture and language. The word inukshuks even sounds great to my ear. You are right too about the rocks- they are the most resilient and easily accessible material to use at high altitudes above the tree line, to indicate something.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Years ago I was embarrassed thinking that my early digital camera had enough room to hold pics from Rome and Athens. I wound up paying almost triple the price for a larger chip while there. Never have to worry about that now. Nice post, Amanda.
    Art

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I often make the comparison between the film camers’ and digitals’ capacities, and how we were once constrained by the former to carry extra bits of hardware to cope ! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I know, Art. I remember those days! And you have astutely noticed these photos are grainy and small in size due to the sane issue. I also had to but extra cards in Sweden one time. Yay for the cloud storage spaces!

      Like

    1. Hehe! I think they ruined LOTR a little by overkill. It lost some of its allure by the very final instalment for me, too.
      At least in NewZealand, it is not OTT – the merchandise is not shoved in the face all the time and locations spots are not signposted with neon lit billboards!! Lol.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. There was a young Mum severely injured by a Bunya nut dropping on her head at a park near us, years ago. After that, the Council made sure to remove any cones. I had one drop on the bonnet of my car and dent the bonnet. Creepily, that happened whilst driving through a cemetery!! The ghosts didn’t like me. Lol!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You have some impressive views there in the South!!! I love LOTR, the books and the films! It’s easy to understand why they chose New Zealand to shoot the films, the landscapes are incredibly beautiful and immense! I dream with a trip to New Zealand someday…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you like LOTR, you must go there one day, Mercedes. You would so enjoy hiking around the areas where they filmed, and seeing Hobbiton. And you have the legs for it, having built up your endurance hiking in the Swiss Alps. New Zealand is a quiet place with less facilities, but spectacular scenery. A bonus is there is no Covid there at all. How is Switzerland faring?

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  4. wow, it all looks magnificently breathtaking. I have never travelled over seas. I remember seeing snow capped mountains in the distance driving home from Melbourne once.haha. Those pine cone looking things painted would make a magnificent Christmas table décor. Thanks for the tour. Have a fantastic rest of the week.

    Like

    1. In a country as diverse as ours, you don’t really have to travel overseas to see such different landscapes.
      Great idea re the pine cone Xmas decorations but they are very large and spiky!! Our hoop pine cones might be a better alternative.😘

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        1. Ah yes, I should have looked back on the comments, but I also wondered if you had earmarked a place or two. Queenstown is stunning as well as Akaroa, near Christchurch, but I actually liked a place called Kaikoura. It has the snowy mountains within reach plus it is on the coast where you can see whales and there is a seal rookery in the forest behind the town. A very special place with a stunning ocean road. The train line hugs the edge of the sea. I have a very old post about it that needs formatting but you can find it here https://forestwoodfolkart.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/tranz-scenic-train-journey-picton-to-christchurch/

          Liked by 1 person

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