Roaring Meg

We were back in Queenstown this morning to pick up the new lenses for my glasses and then we returned home via Central Otago. On our way through the Kawarau Gorge I asked Nigel to stop at the Roaring Meg carpark. From here you get good views of the Kawarau River rushing through the gorge. The Roaring Meg is a stream that runs down the steep side of the gorge into the Kawarau River. These days there is a dam further up the Roaring Meg and then two power stations below. You can see the lower power station in some of my photos – it was commissioned in 1936.

To put you in the picture the Kawarau River drains Lake Wakatipu (Queenstown is on the shore of Lake Wakatipu). Photos taken 03 Nov 2018 by Liz

View upstream


View downstream


Two views looking upstream



Not far upstream from here there used to be a natural rock bridge that was known to Maori and shown by the Maori guide Reko to the first European explorer in the area, in 1853. That was how the early settlers and gold-seekers crossed this wild river. It wasn’t quite complete and one had to jump across a gap which sounds pretty hair-raising to me! This fact is reflected in an alternative name to “Natural Bridge” of “Chalmers Leap” – Nathanael Chalmers was the European explorer.

Further Reading

Great blog-post about this very same Natural Bridge with information, map and photos. Discovering the Bridge of Stone – the ancient route over the Kawarau River, New Zealand

If you’d like to see a natural stone bridge, Steve Schwartzman posted an excellent photo of “Natural Bridge on the Kicking Horse River in British Columbia’s Yoho National Park”. See his post  Natural Bridge rock formations and waterfall

Text and Photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2018)

14 thoughts on “Roaring Meg

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    1. The big river you can see in the photos is the Kawarau River (and when we were there it was pretty noisy so like you say, roaring!). The Roaring Meg is the stream that feeds the power stations (and is then discharged into the Kawarau from the lower power station as you can see). Not far away is another stream that descends the side of the gorge like the Roaring Meg does, only this one is called Gentle Annie! 🙂

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    1. Much of “all that rock” is covered in wild thyme and blooming in pink right now! Not in these photos, but higher up – the gorge is huge! Most of the gorge has a terrace running along the top of the cliffs and then behind the terrace the steep slopes become mountains. Much of the terrace and mountain slopes are covered in blooming thyme giving a pink blush to all the rock. Its truly amazing. Thyme was originally bought into Central Otago by the goldminers and it thrives in this dry, hard, arid country. The pink blush is easily discerned by the human eye but we didn’t try capturing the scene with our cellphone cameras. The slopes being distant, and the colour quite uniformly spread, we didn’t think it would be very noticeable in a photo. On any sunny day the water colour looks beautiful in the rocky gorge!

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  1. I remember your mentioning, a couple of months ago, the old natural bridge in New Zealand. Now we need a post with a photo of you jumping across the gap.

    Whenever I come across any reference to Lake Wakatipu I get excited because I found the lake to be so scenic.

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    1. Lake Wakatipu is amazing! When we lived in Queenstown we had an annual pass for the TSS Earnslaw and we could do the trip to Walter Peak over the lake whenever we liked – best ever annual pass! And you must have driven up to Glenorchy – isn’t that a great experience?


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