On the road to Queenstown


It’s confession time: I am woefully behind in my journal entries. We departed from Hokitika for Queenstown on Saturday Feb 11th. Way back then I was still only 59 years old, although now that I think of it I felt much, much older then than I do at this moment, which, chronologically makes me 11 days – and one big birthday – older than I was for the day I am about to recount. How is this possible, you ask? Well it’s quite simple really. Eleven days ago I recall being grateful for the fact that our assigned site in the campground was only one site away from the showers which meant I would only have to walk about 15 meters or so. Yes, there was a shower in our campervan but it was such a small space I was not sure I would be able to do it without twisting, pretzel-like, thereby causing further pain & injury. Today, in contrast, Julie & I walked from our campsite into Whangarei’s (feng air RAY – and you have to roll the r) Town Basin, a two hour return trip. OK, back to the day at hand, which is an excellent illustration of the astonishingly rapid changes in topography in this country.

Lots of photo ops along the road


As I recall (and yes, after 11 days my recall is not always spot on) we left our beachfront campsite maybe 9ish and by 11 or so we were viewing the Franz Josef glacier, high in the Southern Alps. OK, I personally did not view the glacier because it was too far for me to walk, but Kim & Julie did and they have the photos to prove it. Still too early for lunch we decided to press on to Lake Matheson, promoted as a beautiful alpine lake with Mount Cook in the background and one of the most photographed lakes in all of New Zealand. Perhaps so, but not by us given that it was a 20 minute walk to get your first glimpse of the lake and close to an hour if you want to get your feet wet. Still, we had a delightful lunch in our campervan, parked in the Lake Matheson parking lot only steps away from the wheel chair accessible toilet. Anyone watching me hobble over would have felt I was entitled so I was not embarrassed in the least. Back in our van we continued to head south along Hwy 6 with Queenstown as our destination. The road and scenery through this mountainous region was stunning, to say the least. We hugged the shores of Lake Wanaka and then Lake Hawea for what seemed like hours and for all that time did not see a boat or even a cabin lining the shores. Try to picture Lake Okanagan with no Kelowna, no boats, no nothing along the shores but beach, trees and mountains and you can start to get the feeling. By this time it was after 6 & we were all starting to feel a bit peckish. One of the joys of being in camper van is that you are completely self contained and so when you want to cook a meal, you simply pull over and get to it. Suddenly we were bouncing along a very pot-holed dirt track that took us to the shores of Lake Dunstan. There we enjoyed a fine omelette washed down with a Monteith’s summer ale whilst listening to the wind teasing the trees and the sun dancing on the waves. If it wasn’t for the traffic jam caused by the conclusion of the Doobie Brothers outdoor concert we would have entered Queenstown around the same time as the sun made its glorious exit.

View of Queenstown from the top of the Skyline Gondola


As it was, we were an extra hour or so as the police breathalyzed the hundreds of drivers. It was like they were waiting for that Mississippi moon to be shining it’s light on us. The water of Lake Wakatipu was indeed blackwater by the time we saw it.

Where to next?


This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 at 12:03 am and is filed under New Zealand 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Queenstown”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    April 18th, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Like the Blackwater lyric references!


Leave a Reply

  • « Older Entries
  • Newer Entries »