Our group left Hastings and went their separate ways - some went to replenish supplies, and some to the dump station. But we all met up at pretty Lake Tutira for lunch. The surrounding land of 20,000 acres was originally farmed as Tutira Station, and was leased from the Maori owners for some years before being purchased by Herbert Guthrie-Smith in 1882. Herbert’s brother Harry came out from Scotland to manage the farm, leaving Herbert time to spend on his passion of bird watching and noting the behaviour of the birds which abounded in the Lake environment. Herbert left the land in trust to be enjoyed by all and was one of those instrumental in the founding of the New Zealand Forest and Bird Society. He was a man of great vision.
One after another our friends trundled in to the lakeside. Sandwiches were prepared, the kettles were boiled, and we enjoyed lunch in the sunshine. This was our first visit here, and it is such a lovely spot. Our group were not the only ones stopping here for a break, several other vans also pulled in for a stop on the way to the National Rally, just as we were. And the weather so so nice and warm, I noticed several young ladies sun bathing in the bikinis down on the lake edge!
As well as day trippers like us, people can camp in this lovely area in the Department of Conservation (DOC) Camp further around the lake. We drove around to check it out and found several people in residence. Facilities were sparse – water was a available but needed to be boiled, and there were basic “long drop” toilets available. One of the couples at the camp, we noticed, were busy collecting walnuts from under a huge tree.
This is such a lovely tranquil setting, and there are plenty of walking tracks for those who want to see more than just the lake edge. It is thanks to the foresight and vision of men like Herbert Guthrie-Smith that we can all enjoy such beautiful areas such as this.