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Published: March 18th 2021
Yesterday was mostly a driving day from Manapouri to Arrowtown so not too much to report other than we stopped at Te Anau for an hours walk on the lake front and also at Kingston to check it out at the foot of Lake Wakatipu. We are now based at Settlers Cottage Motel for most of the next week. We chose this place as it's the least like a motel and more like a homely cottage which it is. A good choice, with plenty of room and good heating since I'm sure the temperature plummeted to almost zero overnight despite the lovely calm weather. I guess this is the norm for being inland and it now being autumn.
We spent the rest of the day checking out the village, visiting the information centre for information on trails and bikes, and getting groceries since we are staying put for a few days. Anyone who knows Arrowtown knows that it is cute, oldy-worldy and far enough away from Queenstown to be away from the hustle and bustle of tourists. I'm inclined to think that NZ has given out leave passes to all the oldies to go to the South Island as there
are heaps of us around and not too many young people.
Today started crisp and clear and after putting on some washing we wandered off down to the village for coffee and a sticky bun. Who in their right mind put a village at the bottom of a valley? I guess they mined for gold here and built the village around it despite it being the lowest point, the most sheltered and no doubt absolutely freezing in the winter. I pondered on what they might have worn on their hands and bodies to keep warm while they sluiced in the river.
Our destination for the day was Lake Sylvan about 30 minutes drive inland from Glenorchy at the head of the lake where the Rees and Dart Rivers merge and flow into the lake. The road from Queenstown is in really good shape and tarsealed all the way to the turnoff to the Routeburn Track. What a stunning drive! We were surrounded by high mountains on both sides of the lake, a fabulous view of the calm blue lake and the majesty of the high Alps in the background. This is my kind of country. It makes your
heart, mind and body sing at the spectacle.
We crossed over the two rivers where the road takes you either to Kinlock and the Greenstone Track or the other to the end of the Routeburn Track. The latter we took to about 2kms from the end of the road and to the carpark for Lake Sylvan. The walk was over a swing bridge and then along a track through open beech forest with some huge old trees which have seen out their lives and are now dying from the bottom up with hollows around the trunks and burls up their sides. It looked as if there had been some selective logging in the past. Lake Sylvan turned out to be a real gem set in amongst the mountains, surrounded by forest and with a mountain background. We sat on a large rock overlooking the lake, had our lunch and returned the same way. There was an alternative route but it meant an extra hour to return. It was a long way to go to do the walk but it did take us to territory where we wanted to be.
On our return we called in at the Queenstown
Information Centre to get info on Cardrona, Coronet Peak and the Skyline Gondola. This would help us to plan our next few days which are looking to be fine, sunny and calm. Queenstown was reasonably busy but obviously suffering from lack of visiting overseas tourists. Thanks to we oldies, there is at least some business even if it isn't the adrenaline rushing activites. All in all, a fabulous day in the mountains.
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