There were three “must-see” destinations on my list this trip. The first one was Glenorchy at the northernmost tip of Lake Wakatipu. I had never been to this peaceful, sparcely-inhabited settlement so today was the day.
Rosemary had a request to buy something specific from the Queenstown market so we stopped there on our way and had a rummage around the variety of stalls and chatted with a few stall-holders – and came away without Rosemary’s request.
Glenorchy [Info spot: Named after Glen Orchy in Scotland] is about a 45-minute twisting and turning scenic drive along the shores of Lake Wakatipu. For some reason I thought it was a metal road so was pleased to learn I was mistaken! The well-sealed road led us to a well-established settlement with pubs, cafes and plenty of accomodation. We had our morning cuppa, a wander around with, naturally, a photo shoot and, as the day’s activities were plenty, headed to the next “corner” of the lake. I have since learned that we could and should have ventured further into “Lord of the Rings” territory… but that will happen another time, for sure!
A seemingly much quicker trip back to Queenstown and a quick trip up to Coronet Peak to (maybe) find some snow and see the sights. Well, the snow was as sparse as the snowmen but the view was brilliant and the wind-chill factor rather high so it was back to lower ground for lunch.
At Franklin Arm the chill was still so biting that lunch was consumed while sitting in our vehicle.
Our third “corner” of Lake Wakatipu was Kingston at the southern end. [Info note: founded in the 1860s as a service centre for the gold mining industry]. The drive along the opposite shore of the lake (to the drive to Glenorchy) is beautiful as one winds the way around the “Devil’s Staircase” [Info spot: apparently so named as this windy section of Highway 6 was quite a ‘hair-raising’ drive before it was sealed.]. Of course, here in the home of the now moth-balled Kingston Flyer, our train-buff driver was very happy to expound on the beauty and wonders of the old steam train to Rosemary and Steve while I braved the still-present chill to capture the scenery. Although the township was very quiet at the time of our short visit, I believe it would be a delightful place to stop over for a while during the summer months when the lake is a hive of activity.
One and a half hours later we arrived at Te Anau. Jim has an oft-told true tale of the time he preached (many years ago) in the Presbyterian Church here. Guess where the vehicle headed? That’s right… to the Presbyterian Church. And once found, right by the lake shore, guess where Jim headed? Right again… into the church – being a Sunday afternoon, there were folk milling around. Thankfully for the three of us left in the vehicle (the rain had arrived) it was a short visit but the man was pleased to have had a peep inside the church and introduce himself to one or two parishioners.
Our motel was easy to find and on the lakefront. And what a view from our window… straight up the lake toward our destination the following day – Milford Sound. However, the evening’s “adventures” didn’t end there…