I have a granddaughter who lives in Wanaka, New Zealand and am therefore fortunate because I can visit this wonderful country once or twice a year. Wanaka is just north of Queenstown. It boasts a wonderful climate getting more than its fair share of sunshine. They say that there is a big hole in the ozone layer right above Wanaka but whatever the reason it is a region of high light levels which give the stunning scenery amazingly blue skies and a great vibrancy to all the colours.

The New Zealand government has many initiatives to keep the land as pure as possible and there are plans to make energy only from sustainable resources. A groundwater monitoring program is in place so you’d think that everything is greener than green? Wrong! Well in some respects anyway.

The great Clutha river runs more than 200 miles; from the mountains though Wanaka lake before snaking its way to the East coast.  The adjacent photograph hardly does justice to its beauty as it meanders between sharp fells.

The tracks leading up to the river are not tarmac and due to the lack of rain they can be very dusty. On a warmish day you can smell the faint but indistinguishable scent of engine oil.  The point of this story? The oh so green Kiwis actually spray spent engine oil on the tracks to keep the dust down. Yes, it is a country of contrasts!

Vincent van Walt

Wanaka 16th April 2010