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25th-26th Mar 2011 – Somewhere Over the Rainbow

June 16, 2011

The Rainbow Road crosses private land over the Molesworth and Rainbow Stations (large cattle farms) between Hanmer Springs, Canterbury and St Arnaud, South Marlborough, NZ. The route is impassible by vehicle except by high-clearance 4 wheel drive, motorcycle and more importantly bicycle! The area was first used as an overland route by the Maori and later by sheep graziers moving sheep between Canterbury and Marlborough. Later a road was built through the area for pylon access.

This route was recommended to me by some Scottish tourers I met in New Zealand in 2009. I didn’t have time to do the route then as it’s only open for a limited time because it traverses high passes and becomes too treacherous in Winter. This season it was open from Boxing Day to Easter Day and I had the good fortune to travel it over two gloriously sunny days. I also had the luxury of company and a support vehicle!

I will say no more and let the pictures speak for themselves:

Road to Lake Tennyson

Pretty views along the Rainbow Road

Just over the first of many summits!

Enjoying the lovely Lake Tennyson in the evening light

The morning view from the tent door!

Wairau River looking towards Sedgemere Lake

Climbing up from the previous bridge

Following the Wairau Valley northwards

Viper's Bugloss along the gorgeside


Upper Wairau Gorge


The lunchtime view


Looking towards Connors Creek Hut


Looking southwards from whence I came


Scree hills


Another gorgeous Molesworth Station view


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