When is a Creek Not a Creek – Lake Hawea

Lake HaweaAfter a bit of relaxing at Hawea Flat, we headed out last Friday for an explore around Lake Hawea. We had a drive around the township and found a picnic area down by the lake for lunch. A cool wind coming up the lake almost negated the pleasure of being out in the sun. Such is the balancing act of winter.

We checked out a map of the area and decided on a drive around the east side of Lake Hawea to Timaru Creek. The confusing thing is that the road there is called Timaru Creek Road. And the creek it arrives at is called Timaru River. I do wish people could make up their minds on what to call things. Either is fine; both is not. For better or worse I’ve always thought of it as Timaru Creek so I’ll persist with that. I’m guessing you don’t really care and are wondering why I do…

Anyway, we drove around the interesting gravel road beside and above the lake and across the creek called Timaru. Just past there there was a road leading off down to the left marked “Picnic and camping area” or something equally innocent. “Goat track” would overstate the condition. I headed off down and was surprised that there was not more of a warning as to its state. Don’t get me wrong. I like a good challenge. Signs like “Not suitable for cars” are really asking if I’m man or mouse and I always have to find out.

The trouble was that the road/track down has been significantly washed out, leaving rocks  to be straddled or avoided or driven over. The Corolla was up for it, but at one point I did back up to reconsider my line. Suffice it to say we made it down with sump still intact, and meandered around the maze of trees and tracks looking for the lake.  Which we found and we figured walking might be better after a sign warned us about sinking into the sand.

Mountains across Lake Hawea from Timaru Creek

Mountains across Lake Hawea from Timaru Creek

Bluffs above Timaru Creek

Bluffs above Timaru Creek

Lake Hawea township from Timaru Creek

Lake Hawea township from Timaru Creek – north end of Pisa Range beyond.

Speaking of sand, what found us were the sandflies. Persistent little chaps. What the hey! It is the middle of winter. It was about 8 degrees cold. It wasn’t looking like rain. Apparently they just like hanging out there! If they are like that in mid-winter, they must be awesome in summer.

We had a quick look around and headed back. The Corolla made it up the road that wasn’t, without much trouble. But it is the most off-road road we have tackled. All the better for bringing a bit of adventure into our day.

We headed back to Hawea Flat via the back road, called Hawea Back Road. It had some wonderful vistas of the flats called Hawea Flat.

Toward Lake Hawea

Towards Lake Hawea

Hawea Flat

Hawea Flat



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