Sunday, February 19, 2012

Queenstown onwards

  Pink highlight is where we stayed & the blue highlight are places we stopped at,clicking on images will enlarge them

We were up at 6.30am…don’t know what happened here, next thing I wrote was 8am & 8 degrees.Before we left Kingston we drove down to where the Kingston Flyer departs from, nice to see it still runs. We continued on to Queenstown a pretty drive with Lake Wakitipu on our left, road was a bit windy.

We arrived at Queenstown at about 9am & parked in a metered site for an hour & had a quick look around the CBD. Wasn’t really motivated to stay here, took some photos of the old ship docked at the wharf .The old ship was the TSS Earnslaw, known as “The Lady of the Lake” the last remaining coal-fired passenger vessel operating in the southern hemisphere. If anything that would have been alright to take a cruise on.

We then went & had a very ordinary breakfast at Macdonald’s, all before our hour was up.I know it’s been a very long time since we both have been to Queenstown, but it really is just so much for the tourist. I suppose if you had never been there it would be different.

Crystal clear water 

Queenstown is the birthplace of commercial bungy jumping & there are plenty of places to throw yourself off into mid air, the Kawarau Bridge Bungy being the original. Mariah bungy jumped in Cairns when she & Todd went touring with us for a fortnight.

For more thrills, there is the Shotover Jet, operating since 1970 which takes you into the Shotover River Canyons. We took the less extreme back in 1979 & went on the Kawarau River Jet boat, we had Joshua with us then, he was one.

An major attraction in Queenstown is the Skyline Gondala, which goes to the top of Bob’s Peak, beautiful views. We also did this in 1979 with Mum & Peter as well as Joshua, we didn’t go this time.

Took the detour to Arrowtown, there were huge mountains each side of the road quite spectacular. Arrowtown is like being in a time warp, with all the old buildings, actually reminds me of Central Tilba .Had a walk around the township, then went to the Old Chinese Settlement just a short drive away. 

Mine for guaranteed gold 

 The Chinese settlement on the banks of the Arrow river is an acknowledgment to the contribution made by the Chinese gold miners and business people when gold mining was flourishing in the region in the 1800’s . This little bit of history was worth the stop, well preserved or reconstructed houses with information boards.

 Bit of trivia….The Arrow River is said to have been one of the richest sources of Alluvial gold in the world & in the 1860s had a huge mining population.

Another bit of trivia……The Crown Range Road, between Queenstown & Lake Wanaka, is the highest highway in New Zealand, rising 1076 meters above sea level. We found that out it when we left Arrowtown around 11.30am ,it just kept going up & up with a multitude of twists & turns. Managed to find a spot to pull over & get a photo, spectacular sight looking down on Arrowtown.

Looking down towards Arrowtown

Didn’t stop at Wanaka, looked too busy, this was at 12.20pm  & 16 degrees, we went on to Lake Hawea & stopped for lunch, poached eggs & spaghetti down near the lake, left there 1.20pm & 17 degrees.

 Lake Hawea is the smallest of Otago’s three alpine glacier lakes.

Next stop was the Blue Pools near Hasst, that are glacier fed, wasn’t so blue when we arrived, still it was a nice walk over the swing bridge that crossed the Makarora River.

An unusual sight were these rock piles on the river bed,someone started a trend by doing this.
Got to Haast Pass & the temperature was now 23oc, we could see snow on the Southern Alps.

 Southern Alps

Just past Haast we pulled up at Ship Creek Walk, part of a ship wreck from Victoria waters Australia drifted over here to New Zealand washing up at this spot. A very pretty spot, would have liked to have spent a bit more time, but those biting little shits were out in force.

Arrived Fox Glacier about 5pm & booked into Fox Glacier Top 10 Park $38 unpowered site on a bit of gravel. Well the facilities more than made up for that…very flash…like a five star motor camp it was very busy here.

Fox Glacier main street

 Native New Zealand Pigeon

 After we had booked into the motor camp we went & had a drink at the Mountain Goat pub, I then went for a walk to see what was available tea wise. When I came back we both went for a walk ending up back at where we started at the Mountain Goat pub…beautiful char grilled steak melted in your mouth. On our way back we saw a native New Zealand pigeon in a tree in someone’s front yard…managed to get a photo of it.
Charged all our stuff when we got back…then it was off to bed.

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