Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Te Anau to Queenstown
The time came to leave Te Anau, the town Jessica Fletcher forgot, so after a morning strolling around the shops we headed back the way we came on highway 94, before heading North again on highway 6 to Queenstown.

The drive to Queenstown was supposedly a short one of about 2 hours, or it might have been had we not ended up following the 'Devil's Staircase' - a ridiculously winding, twisting, turning-back-on-itself cliff road along the shore of Lake Wakatipu. If I had done my research I might have avoided that road, but heh, you haven't lived until you've driven a supermarket on wheels down a cliff road. Such is the lay of the land, you can see Queenstown from miles and miles away as you descend the mountain to reach it.

Queenstown is a funny old spot, a big town, the extreme sports centre of New Zealand, solely inhabited by the under 35s all wearing flip-flops, shorts, and hoodies, all milling around from bungy jumping to happy hour somewhere and back again for a skydive.The preferred mode of transport is the 4x4 jeep. What else would you use to carry your skydiving gear in?

Sanne making the most of the wet
Our first full day there was a washout. Grey clouds and lashing rain followed us around town all day long. Regardless, rain doesn'y dampen Sanne's spirits, and she made the most of the wet down by the lake with just the ducks for company.

The following day was exactly the opposite. Fresh and sunny we headed up the famous Skyline Gondola for the best views of the city. And the lake. And well, everything else for a good 50 miles around.
Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown
That afternoon we took a drive with a guide up into the mountains. Again, it was tremendous. Winding roads, cliffs, lakes, and forests.She pointed out all the local sites of note, and was even able to identify the filming locations for a half dozen scenes of 'Lord of the Rings'. We saw where the Oliphants fell, the path Gandalf took to meet Saruman, and Isengard itself. We also supposedly stumbled across a location bring set up for filming of 'The Hobbit'. That said, it could have been someone repairing their barn.

Every turn in the road revealed another postcard shot, mountains and lakes acting like supermodels vying for pole position in every scene. One of the finest was the view known locally as the 'million dollar view', Kiwi dollars admittedly, but worth every penny.
The million dollar view
Getting covered entirely in toddler motion sickness puke on the way back was a back-to-reality check end to our fantasy and fantastic afternoon.

Tomorrow, on the road again back to the West coast and the township of Franz Josef.

1 comment:

  1. Your daughter is beautiful, lovely to see her growing so well and so fast.