Day two of our holiday and more walking in store. We again took the Black Valley walk and had a look around the lake shore. This morning’s destination was the Brunner Peninsula Nature Walk and as we neared the start point we could see a group of people congregated at the lake side taking in the view. They were setting up for a group photo and I was quickly identified as someone who looked like they could take a photo so was chosen to take theirs. I ended up with three or four cameras and took lots of photos. The group was on tour and they were all from Israel and having a great time seeing the sights. We let them start the walk before us and they were soon just the odd voices in the distance ahead.
Alayna was again singing songs, things like “Where have all the people gone? I can’t see them!” with verses made up by us all. Alayna seemed less inclined to walk today but still managed to spend some time touching moss and leaves. We sat at a bench in a secluded little bay and had some snacks while we watched a swimmer stroke past, a couple of boats heading back and forth on the lake and the changing cloud covering the distant ridges. Alayna also got some more throwing-rocks-into-the-lake practice.
The track we were following eventually branched away from the lake and headed uphill in the direction of the town. We came to a road and followed it back towards the DOC info centre, stopping to watch korimako and tui flying around. At the info centre Alayna enjoyed watching a brief video of some eels in the lake and playing with the toys for sale in the shop.
In the afternoon we drove up to the Mount Robert carpark where Alayna decided to (finally) fall asleep so Keryn kept an eye on sleeping beauty while I hoped out and took a few photos of the wonderful view. We also stopped on the way back and I had a short walk along Angler’s Walk from the mouth of the Buller River downstream. The forest floor track-side was a thick bed of moss, the water a rich green and it was like walking through a fairytale at times and very easy to imagine a hobbit or two walking by.
Alayna woke up as we got back to St Arnaud so we made our way to the lakeside again so Alayna could play on the little playground. Before that we watched a duck family wander around and as we sat on a bench the ducklings were happy to wander beneath the seat and around our feet, jumping up to snatch at sandflies. There was a tour guide named Fergus who we’d seen the day before and he was showing his pax the ducks, getting down to greet the duck family. We would bump into him again the next day as well (we must have been heading to all the popular spots).
There was more stone throwing from Alayna and badly attempted skimming from Mum and Dad. Alayna also checked out the kayaks lined up on the shore, once she’s older I think we’ll need to do some paddling somewhere.
That evening back at the hostel we were reading stories to Alayna in bed when a fire alarm went off. It was very loud in the room so we wrapped up Alayna and evacuated. It was odd to see everyone else in the hostel staying where there were (their rooms, the kitchen and dining room) rather than head outside. There was a cold wind and the odd spit of rain so we found shelter while the alarm was dealt with. Once the alarm was off a search was done by the staff and a helpful neighbour checking the sensors in each room. It seemed that the girls in the room opposite us may have been cooking something or smoking in their room. Alayna would talk about the loud noise for days to come, always with a very serious expression.