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May 14th 2007
Published: May 14th 2007
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3 days in Queenstown
It’s Monday now and I arrived here on Saturday after a wonderful drive again from Mount Cook. Gorgeous weather again, but I couldn’t get a flight from Glenntanner - because I would have had to wait a couple of hours and then they wait until they have 4 passengers - so I could have been there all day- and had to get going.
The roads are very good - not too busy at all, and although there are a few roads up to tops of passes where there are a few km of winding steep bits - I have driven on worse roads in Mallorca and France - but many of the road are through wide mountain passes and are nice and straight and wide. Lots of picnic places and passing places and if you’re chugging along it’s polite and easy enough to pull over and indicate to let a car behind you go past.
On my way to Queenstown I was told by Diane and Dave, in Christchurch, about some Clay Cliffs which I should go and see - only a 10 km detour... these were eroded clay and sandstone cliffs in weird shapes and a sign said it was Badlands Topography - I felt like I was in a western movie as I drove along a dirt road up to the cliffs. Ceratinly worth a detour and just north of Omarama. Thanks Dave and Diane for that tip.
As many of you know while I am in NZ I am staying with Intervac hosts - families who have offered me hospitality - and when they come to England I will reciprocate. As it was with house exchange so it is with the hospitality exchange - the people are wonderful and it is so nice to have a home base and home cooking!!! You can feel like you are really getting to know about the life they live in NZ and of course making new friends along the way. Of course they can give you the inside info on what to see and do and it may not be on the tourist track but it is always a great and different experience to have - and personal too.
My sightseeing on the way here included the rolling tussock heathlands reserves at Lindis Pass - a very long pass through the mountains - the rocks looked like sands / shales and some very steep faces looking like pyramids at times. Then I came up to Lake Wanaka - quite a lot of tourists by the lake and so I had to have an ice cream - felt a bit like by the boats at Bowness!!! From there I took the shorter but more mountainous route through the Cardrona Valley - wow that was long and winding and had to get into 2nd gear sometimes... but Betty did okay and we stopped at the top for a cuppa and looked down towards Queenstown..... down was a long way down and the last bit very steep with the worst set of hairpin bends I had encountered ...good thing I have driven over these kinds of roads before....if you done Hardknott Pass in the Lakes you know what I mean. Had to find the house of my hosts and as I drove into Queenstown and the sun was disappearing over the town I looked across Lake Wakatipu and saw some lovely houses on a peninsula sticking out into the lake...they were still in the sun...and I didn’t know then that that was where Rosslyn and Alastair lived.
So they have welcomed me into their home and are looking after me very well. Rosslyn’s family go back a long way in Queenstown and it is lovely to hear her stories and she tells me about the changes there have been here. They have a lovely little dog called Cassie - a white Bichon Frise ( like a curly furry teddy bear) - she in tiny -about the size of a cat...and I’ve fallen in love with her!!! The house looks over the lake and lovely views of the mountains- with the Remarkables Range behind. So Rosslyn is a great cook and has been feeding me well - leg of lamb, roast veggies and apple crumble ( you would like it here Christopher!!!) - but she is also making me go out for walks after we go out with torches and walk around the streets . We can view the night sky ...which is amazing down here of course as there is very little light pollution....Milky Way and all that....wish I knew more about it.
Sunday - first we did the Gondola ride up Bob’s Peak - great views over Queenstown...then we packed a picnic and Alastair drove us around on a route down the Glenorchy arm of the lake - wow wow wow - gorgeous views, then down Paradise Valley - towards the Dart River- stunning- ...through meadows- Diamond Lake - swans and geese and ducks - and woodlands ( Golom peeping out from the trees) - yes this was Rings country and I have checked some of the locations - Isengard was one of them -am bringing back the booklet with the locations I have so I can show you boys Richie and Chris , George and Bob and anyone else interested. So we had a lovely picnic ...sun shining and even a little picnic table and tablecloth -Ross is as bad as me when it comes to picnics!!!
On the way back we stopped at Bob’s Cove ( who was this Bob we wonder??) And had a walk around the cove to an old Lime Kiln. And then home to another lovely dinner of a local delicacy Bluff Oysters cooked in batter and salad. Very nice - I am getting quite a taste for oysters!!! Rosslyn is plying me with port before dinner and Alastair filling my glass with NZ wine during dinner so it is a wonder I didn’t fall over when Ross took me out for a walk after dinner....I slept well though!!!

And now to last day here with Ross and will be sad to leave them - they have made me so welcome and I was their first Intervac guest I do hope they will come and visit me.....and anyway I will be back I am sure some time. So Ross has driven me around Queenstown...walked round a lovely park , then out to Arrowtown which was a gold mining town. This is one of the few gold towns remaining and has been restored with a heritage Chinese village...thousands of Chinese came to work in the gold fields. It was a lovely place and I would have missed seeing it if I had been on my own. Ross then took me on a walk up a track behind the town ...we went up and up and up....thank goodness I had my walking stick this time...and when I got too knackered she let me turn round and come down and down and down!!! I expect she will make me go out for a walk after dinner too!!!! She is good fun and we are getting on so well.... a lovely lady. We then had a little drive to see some local vineyards- stopped at Gibbston Winery for a look and see their cheese shop too. Had good weather most of the day but it has changed a bit for the worse and we ahd a bit of rain as we came back - but tomorrow it is supposed to be okay. I am off for my Te Anau - Milford Sound experience the next 2 days....and after that I will make the trip back to via the East coast with a bit of sightseeing on the way!!!! Have booked the camper for another 2 days - so will get there - Christchurch on Friday.
Love to all Lynne


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