Archives For Tussock

By Chrissy Wickes, Partnerships Ranger, Wanaka

Sutton Salt Lake is New Zealand’s only inland salt lake. The lake is nestled in a scenic reserve near Middlemarch in Otago and offers brilliant views of the Rock and Pillar Range.

Walking the 3.5 kilometre track to Sutton Salt Lake.

Walking the 3.5 kilometre track to Sutton Salt Lake

I recently visited this unusual lake with my partner and son. We walked the 3.5 kilometre track. It is easy flat terrain—great for kids, with plenty to see along the way.

The area is full of schist rock tors, tussock grasslands, skinks, and numerous unique plants including an undescribed forget-me-not and a desert broom.

Chrissy's son Shannon climbing up the rocks along the track.

Shannon climbing up the rocks

Often there is no water in this desert dry landscape and the ‘lake’ becomes a cracked mud basin. But this trip, after much rain, created a shallow lake for us to share with a pair of pied stilts and a few local paradise duck.

Chrissy's son Shannon playing in the silky mud.

Playing in the silky mud

Our 3 year old son, Shannon, loved the silky mud and the climbing challenges of the rocks.

Check out the DOC website for more information on Sutton Salt Lake.

We’ve decided that once a week we’ll feature a recent beautiful, interesting or inspiring conservation related photo that we’ve come across. Here’s our very first ‘photo of the week’ — it comes from Mark English, author of the blog Two Hoomans and a Spaniel In NZ:

“Today, I went along to a tussock planting day with Lindis Pass conservation group. As most friends know, I love gardening and plants and such, and when I heard about this trip I just had to go, as I love tussocks!”


We love the the amazing backdrop in this photo and the volunteers from the Lindis Pass conservation group working hard to restore the snow tussock so that the area can be enjoyed in its full glory.

Send us your photos

If you have a great, conservation related photo you want to share with the world (or at least the readers of this blog) send it through to us at

Chrissy Wickes a Biodiversity Ranger based in the Te Anau Area Office tells us why she loved her recent hut break.

Why I loved my recent tramping trip to Heather Jock Hut:

1) It was easy for the family to walk, a great little overnight treat.

The view from Heather Jock Hut.

The view from Heather Jock Hut

2) We stayed in a really cool old hut in the tussock tops

An old biscuit tin at Heather Jock Hut.

A piece of history

3) We saw some amazing historic huts on the way to Heather Jock hut.

Chrissy outside Heather Jock Hut.

Outside the hut

4) There was a wee bit of shade and a small waterfall on the way to give us relief from a very hot afternoon

Chrissy relaxing inside the hut.

Inside the hut

5) Nobody else was staying there when we arrived – just as well as there were only 3 beds!