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New Zealand 2011 - Queenstown, some unexpected snow & on to Rivendale (by the shores of Lake Wanaka)
Monday, Apr 04, 2011 at 18:00
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Monday 4th April, 2011
Boundary Creek Scenic Reserve,
Lake Wanaka (Highway 6)
The morning chores at Queenstown Big 4.
It was a leisurely morning and we awoke to find the surrounding mountains capped with a dusting of snow. The sunny morning made the whole scene spectacular.
Queen Vik in the Skyline Gondola above Queenstown
We knew it had been cold during the night and had heard the odd shower of rain pattering on the roof but to awake to all that snow was spectacular and slightly unseasonable. After breakfast and taking care of some general house keeping (emptying the grey-water, toilet cassette and topping up etc), we went up to the Skyline gondola and took the trip up at $25 each. A lovely time was had strolling around the skyline facility, a cup of coffee and a zillion photos of the Remarkables, the lake and various bits and pieces including a helicopter that came in to land on the chopper pad above the restaurant. We even got to see the SS Earnslaw plying her way south through the grey waters of the lake.
A dusting of snow on the Remarkables
no longer revolves around the snow season. 15 years ago, the place was a ghost town during the off season. These days it’s a Mecca for the adventure hungry.
Queenstown and the Remarkables
The city centre has transformed since my last visit with action aplenty, the entire shopping centre dedicated to action pursuits, bungy, parasailing, zip lining, canyoning, mountain biking, extreme crochet, canoeing, quad biking, skydiving the list was bloody endless. Then it was the surf shops and finally the ubiquitous souvenir shops and art galleries and a splendid array of eateries. Everything is staffed by the backpacking fraternity. The town appears totally dependant upon this seething party class/sub culture hidden in cheap hostels and back street bars.
Mick & Vik at Skyline
The SS Earnslaw heading south down the lake
It was shopping for us. In line with our policy of trying to bring something back to hang on the wall from every overseas destination, we hit a few galleries with intent to deal. Unfortunately there was a reluctance to barter even with cash in hand to pay then and there. Oh well we kept our money and invested in a
of lunch, the $10 Thai noodle special before heading back to the camper and hitting the I65
All loved up at Skyline - Queenstown
Settled in 1861, at the height of the Otago gold rush, Arrowtown grew out of the rush by minors in search of the precious metal in the surrounding rivers. Alluvial gold in some streams was pulled out at 5 ounces to the shovelful when first discovered. The miners have gone, but they left a rich history.
Main Street, Arrowtown
Situated on the banks of the gold-bearing Arrow River, the settlement grew quickly as pioneers constructed cottages, shops, hotels and churches. They also planted the avenues of deciduous European trees that are responsible for the glorious autumn display. The Sycamores and Oaks of the main avenue were planted in 1867. A special highlight is the Chinese settlement at the edge of the river. Built by Chinese miners from 1868, this area of restored shelters and buildings providing a glimpse into the past. It was obvious that life was hard, winters were cruel and gold was often elusive.
T'is a small door for a small person - Arrowtown
After a good wander and some fresh bread from the local bakery it was back
on the road
and up and over the Crown Range Road which has seen recent upgrading. This zig-zag climb up into the Crown Range tops out at 1100 metres and is New Zealand’s highest pass. It provided the most spectacular views across the
valley and Lake Wakatipu. Wedged in between Mount Scott and Mount Allen, the road then twists along a narrow gully underneath Crown peak finally reaching the Valley floor just short of Cadrona Village and its historic pub. The Cadrona ski fields sit above this picturesque valley that leads all the way to Wanaka. The hills at the southern end of Wanaka and in the vicinity of Triple Cone ski fields were used in the Lord of the rings shoot to represent the elvan capital of Rivendell.
On arriving at Wanaka, we took a walk along the foreshore of the lake speaking with some Afrikaans about our van then out along Highway 6, skirting the western shore of Lake Hawea.
View down the valley to Lake Wakatipu & Frankton
The two lakes Hawea and Wanaka almost meet with an arm of Lake Hawea extending west under Mount Isthmus. Luckily for the road builders the break through is a couple of million years away and highway 6 shoots across this narrow band of land to meet the eastern shore of Lake Wanaka on its way to Ka Tiritiri o te Moana (The Southern Alps). We spied quite a few rough camping spots along the shores of Hawea. Nothing flash, just a track down to the lake shore here and there but
quickly taken advantage of by passing campers.
What a view. The early stages of the Crown Range Road
Vik on the goat trail - Crown Range Road
For us it was a short hop along Lake Wanaka on a road that hugs the lake shore spectacularly. We are camped at Boundary Creek scenic reserve, a camping facility maintained by the National Parks department. It has rudimentary facilities and spectacular views across the lake for the princely sum of $6 per person per night! This little promontory was sheltered by huge pines and the lakes rocky shore was covered in driftwood. It was bloody great to be away from the crowds and we spent an enjoyable evening exploring the shores and rough driftwood shelters before retiring to the van for a meal of pasta and a glass of fine New Zealand red. What a paradise this place is.
A million dollar view for 6 bucks! Boundary Creek Campsite, Lake Wanaka
Elves and fairies....Not. Don't add this one to the beef and burgandy!
Good to see I'm not the only one who ends up in the dog house!!!
A magic shot of the big fella taken by Vik
Vik by the shores of Lake Wanaka with traveller (Note glass of red)
Boundary Creek reserve and the drift wood cabanas
Vik being contemplative on the shores of Lake Wanaka
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New Zealand 2011 - Milford Sound , Fiordlands and Queenstown
New Zealand 2011- The West Coast - Where Rainforest and Glaciers meet the sea.
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