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Published: March 21st 2017
The vegetation on the slopes is incredibly lush and dense and we keep expecting mountain gorillas to emerge - but no, wrong continent!
We flew in over this area just 6 days ago, with beautiful blue skies. Sadly the weather isn't being quite so kind now with damp, drizzly conditions and some low level mist. We can't see Mount Cook nor any of the other snow-topped peaks, but there was a little blue sky gap this morning when we walked as close as we were allowed to go to the end of the Franz Josef glacier.
This afternoon we walked down by the coast along the Okarito Trig Trail, lined by beautiful rainforest and had lovely views of the lagoons but none of the promised panoramic ones of glaciers and alps. One bonus of the mist - we have enjoyed the area without the noise of helicopters and have concentrated on looking for birds!
Queenstown was fun! We stayed in a luxurious Airbnb home with a glorious view of the lake. We walked lots (so no change there then), soaked up the Saturday afternoon atmosphere on the waterfront, took the cable car up the mountain, enjoyed the luge
Franz Josef Glacier
We saw an information board which showed the frightening distance that it has retreated up the valley since 1965.
run, and ate reasonably priced and very delicious beef wellington in Pub on Wharf.
On Sunday we drove out to Arrowtown which has the strapline 'where history meets nature' - very apt: a quaint heritage village surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery. The high street is lined with historic buildings now housing bars, cafes and craft shops, and further down are miners' cottages similarly restored and converted. We went into the little museum to learn about the gold rush of the mid 19th century which is the reason the pretty town sprang up. After a restorative coffee at the Postmaster's Cottage, we walked up Tobin's Trail and found wonderful views over the town and all the way down to Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown. On the way back to town we talked ourselves into taking an exhilarating jetboat ride on the Shotover River. A shared Fergburger for supper completed the day.
Tomorrow we will be up early for the drive across Arthur's Pass to Christchurch.
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