My latest trip with the walking group was in the Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park. It was the gentlest of strolls, firstly through low valley fog, later (fortunately) in sunshine with a cooling breeze - the perfect lazy trip for a gardener's day off.
Starting in the Fog
A Tame Trip
There are many serious, wildly intrepid routes in this park, but our group chose a tame trip up the ridges towards a trig station overlooking Porter's Pass. It's a beautiful landscape, and so easy to reach from the main road.
The Best Lunch Spot Ever
The Meanings of Life
Our lunch-stop had the best ever view. Visibility and moods were equally perfect - particularly when our leader declared we would go no further. So we enjoyed a long, lolling lunch, with ample time to lie down and contemplate the various meanings of life.
There were no red faces on this trip - the contours were too gradual for puffers or potential sulkers (me) - just one steep hill which was quickly over, and the wide expanses of shimmering tussock grasses.
Not Just Tussock
Just tussock? Well, I did spy a lot of Aciphylla, which gets planted pretentiously in minimalist courtyard gardens. And some clumps of vegetable sheep, which I'm always careful not to tread on.
A botanist, or a gardener wearing spectacles and carrying her plant identification book, would be able to list many more plant species. A more adventurous hiker would stride out for the Gap (at least eight hours), or for Foggy Peak (up, scramble, up, scramble, up)...
Views from the Tussocklands
But a Head Gardener enjoying a day off was happy to wander slowly on the tussock tops, have a lazy outdoors day, and a leisurely afternoon tea at the Springfield tea rooms. Yum!
The Korowai/Torlesse Tussocklands Park is approximately 21000 hectares and covers the Big Ben ranges and the Torlesse Gap. Porter's Pass is the entrance to the Southern Alps, New Zealand - the first track was made in 1858. The old Cobb and Co Coaches road is still visible on the park's boundary.