A while back, just to get out of the house, we decided to drive to Dolamore Park, as it is a lovely spot out in the countryside; and we picked up some hot chips & cold drink to take with us on our small adventure.
From the council website:
Located 11km from Gore at the south-west end of the Croydon Bush Scenic Reserve, on the lower slopes of the Hokonui Hills, Dolamore Park offers something for everyone.
Dolamore Park encompasses 95 hectares of native podocarp forest, expansive lawn areas and a range of exotic plantings encased by stone wall terracing. Extensive areas of over 500 mature Rhododendrons make a spectacular show in spring.
(screencapture via Google Earth maps)
There are areas set aside for a childrens' playground, bbqing, and camping. Schools organise class trips out there, and the local Scouts sometimes hold overnight camps as part of their badge training.
The weather on this trip wasn't the most photogenic, so I am using pics I took during our previous visit in February of 2013.
This is the view you get of the first area of the park.
It certainly doesn't look very 'native bushy' here, but its only the beginning. They have a number of different bush walks you can choose from to take. On this visit we decided to go off to the right of the above area (shown in photo) but I didn't get any great pictures, and there were mostly pines and Rhododendrons (out of flowering season, so nothing spectacular), plus we got a bit lost as the path markers aren't the most unambiguous of helpers.
So instead we will go back to 2013, and a lovely summer's day, when we took our earlier walk ...
First, you meander past a lovely little brook.
Then onto the path of endless possibilities.
Notice how flat it looks? This was the easy part. It went on to wind up the hillside. But it was worth it.
Almost the whole time, we were accompanied by one of the natives - a cheeky little Fantail.
It was hardly still long enough for me to grab any shot, let alone a good one.
hehe, the camera flash makes the poor thing look slightly demonic
It was a very warm day, but the heat was filtered through a beautiful canopy of trees along the way.
And the native ferns are always so soothing & refreshing to look at.
I never knew whether to look up at the beauty as I walked ...
... or down, and see an amazing variety of flora.
This is the panoramic view you can get from up the hill once you've reached the end of the path.
(Luckily for people like us, they had a bench seat you could rest on after the climb.)
So peaceful, too.
The district is a very agricultural area, which is why you see so much open land. Plus, Southland isn't a heavily populated region (which is fantastic), so we do have more countryside than urban development.
And then back down we headed once again.