Well its been over three months since I’ve reclined at home in my lazy boy, watching Blu-ray movies on my hi-def TV, but now my southern adventure has ended and I find myself back home,warmer and well rested. It’s time to do a few reports on my adventures and hopefully share useful information on some of the interesting places I visited and the experiences I’ve had.
One of my favourite subjects I love to photograph is old ruins. For some reason once man has finished with his dwellings and structures nature carry’s on decorating and refurbishing in its own masterly way which brings a new kind of beauty to the remains of man’s past glory. Inside, outside nature has a unique way of decorating an extinct dwelling, peeling back the paint and varnish to reveal mosaics of green, red and gold. A master piece of ageless style, consisting of graceful drooping roofs adorned with perfectly place bird nests and completed with pearl coloured bird droppings, fragile walls morph into skeletal ribcages, devoured of flesh allowing the sunlight to penetrate, grass and other invasive plants invade where they can, sheep move and possums convert the ceiling into communal flats and the wind and rain compose the music that fills the old lounge and bedrooms.
Shooting Rabbits and being based in Tekapo for most of this summer allowed Stephen and myself a few chances to explore some of the surrounding places of interest in day trips as opposed to longer and more costly road trips for a welcome change. The old Lindis Hotel site is one such location I had wanted to spend some time exploring.
Now off the beaten track since the 1950s when the Lindis Pass Road (state Highway 8), originally running right past its door was rerouted to the opposite side of the Lindis River, thus leaving the old Hotel stranded and forgotten. Many people don’t even know of its existence let alone visit the graceful old ruins, actually if it wasn’t for some beautiful charcoal sketches I stumbled upon at a gala in Tekapo this treasure of a place would have remained unknown to me as well.
The ruins rest in a quiet field on Nine Mile Station up Old Faithful Rd just heading south of the Lindis pass on the right, across the river. You will find it about 6 clicks down the pretty well maintained gravel road.
The building began life in the 1880s,originally it was a general store serving miners hell bent on become rich, participating in the Otago gold rush, however by 1873 it had become much more, a welcome stopover and refuge from the searing heat of the summer and freezing cold (esp during the harsh cold Otago winters) for weary travellers. During the winter many of those wanting to wear the magic, invisible, cloak of warmness worn only by those that had partaken of copious amounts of frothy beer and or imported whiskey spent their nights propping each other up at the bar or sitting around tables playing cards putting off the long cold journey home on horse or shanks pony ,no bridge across the freezing Lindis River in those days much to the demise of a few carless drunks.
Having served as a Hotel and Local watering hole it eventually ceased its service as the gold ran out and became a private dwelling into the 1950s before becoming Isolated and past its used by date, it fell into ill repair and even suffered the indignity of having its roof torn off to garnish a hay barn, such was the modern ignorance and lack of foresight so prevalent in those days. The roof remains absent and the weather elements now continually redecorate the exposed interior, however the Department of Conservation has started some restoration work, even allowing campers the chance to overnight at the spot. Hazing through the maze of the 7 small rooms that make up the remains of old building the imagination works over time. You can sense the busyness of the old place. I can smell the wood smoke, the welcome music of clattering pots and pans, the composition of a warm meal, outside I hear more music, old time favourites being played on acoustic instruments like the harmonica fiddles and stomping feet, jovial bantering among excited patrons enjoying their liquor perhaps flirting with a pretty young barmaid or perhaps squabbling’s over politics or religion, the mind is energized and exercised by such places and we leave enriched and fascinated by our past.
Being very sunny on our visit and the sun dominating the background we found it hard to catch moody more detailed shots so we HAVE to return one day when the snow puts in an appearance.