I always dreamed to see gorgeous fields of Lupin Flowers when traveling New Zealand. I didn't really know when is the blooming season for them as that my vary depending of the region. It was December 4th and we drove towards Lindis pass. The side of the road was covered with pink and purple flowers. They were everywhere. People were stoping their cars just to take pictures with flower-filled landscapes.
It was magical.
Our destination was Clay cliffs. We had to drive through Lindis Pass to get there and I was curious to see how different it is from Arthurs Pass. And let me tell you it was totally opposite view then Arthurs pass and its bare rocky cliffs, pine forests, sharp winds and snowy mountain tops. Lindis Pass looks like it’s out of this world. There are no trees or any other vegetation besides a yellow grass.
Hills are perfectly round, their shapes looks polished, straight lines and no sharp edges. It looks like someone have painted it with one windy hand stroke. The actual pass crosses a saddle between the valleys of the Lindis and Ahuriri Rivers at an altitude of 971 metres above sea level. Most time of the year, you can expect to see snow in this mountainous area - often down to the roadside. But this was summer, so no snow.
The valley looks wide and the landscape is something I have never seen in my life.
We were sad that we didn’t have any time for a hike. Although there are no formally marked tracks in the Lindis Conservation Area, you're can still explore the terrain. It's also possible to walk, mountain bike or horse ride across private land to the Lindis River via Smiths Creek. This route begins is on the Tarras side of the pass - look for the parking area. As this is an exposed alpine area the weather can be unpredictable. Definitely carry warm, windproof clothing and appropriate footwear.
To get to the Clay Cliffs, turn onto Quailburn Rd off SH8 and then onto unsealed Henburn Rd. The Clay Cliffs are actually a private property and if you wish to get there by car, you have to pay 5NZD per car at the Honesty Box by the gate. If you want to walk (I don’t really advise that, but you can), then payment is no needed.
I was thrilled to see more Lupin fields. There’s something about those colors.
Clay Cliffs resembles The Putangirua Pinnacles as they have similar shape, just they contain a different soil. These formations are made up of layers of gravel and silt, originally formed by the flow from ancient glaciers over a million years ago.
We spent 20 – 30 minutes there, as the territory is not big and there are no hikes there. If you haven’t seen Putangirua Pinnacles, definitely give this place a go. If you have seen Putangirua Pinnacles, this will probably not surprise you us much, so I wouldn't say this is a must go place.
Other than that, the place is still beautiful and landscapes are nice, especially in Lupin blooming season.