off we go! travel blog

Queenstown 1

A beautiful morning today, a light breeze that was a bit cool but the sunshine was glorious. A lovely campsite, sheltered from the lake winds by trees around the edge but still with great views of the lake. Probably one of the best sites we have stayed at.

Back on the road to Queenstown, the road wound it's way alongside Lake Wanaka until a third of the way along when it swung inland and over a low pass into the next valley containing another large lake, Lake Hawerea, another stunning landscape. We took lots of photos along the way. We noticed several deer farms on the higher ground along the road, whilst beef cattle were grazing on the pastures nearer the lake. We looked into the little township of Lake Hawerea, but apart from a general store and some motels there was little else. A great location, looking out over the lake and mountains beyond but we moved on. Our next stop was Wanaka, at the foot of Lake Wanaka, a lively bustling tourist town! we grabbed a long black and a muffin and sat in the sunshine looking at the lake and mountains.

Driving out of Wanaker Ruth spotted a blond haired lad standing by the roadside looking for a lift. So we stopped; he was going to Queenstown too, so we offered him a lift. He was from Sweden on a sort of year out and was heading for a farm to work for a few weeks. A really nice lad. We drove on along the Cardrona Valley, hilly and very dry, the grass was brown, there were very few trees, but is was still very scenic. We drove up a pretty steep and windy road to the pass lookout and pulled in to take in the view. When we tried to start the engine after a few minutes it wouldn't start! Just in case it had overheated, though there was no indication this was so, we decided to have lunch and let the engine cool down. There was a magnificent view of the Clutha Valley below and Queenstown some 30 km (by road) in the distance.

Still no joy, so a call to Maui who put us in touch with the Volkswagen people who promised to send some 'within 60 minutes'. Well an hour and a half later the recovery vehicle arrived; it took the driver an hour to load the camper and we were on our way again, sitting in the very uncomfortable and dirty cab of the 20 year old truck. It slowly made its way down to Queenstown and by 7pm we arrived at the Maui depot, but no-one was there, they had gone home at 4.30! So much for communication. Jack was working nearby so when he finished he joined us bringing a borrowed car.

Anyway after much phone calling eventually they had us taken to a nearby campsite for the night. In another twist of fate the recovery vehicle driver allowed the camper off the back of his truck too fast and it hit a wall creating a large crack in the fibreglass body of the camper!

We said goodbye to the driver and gratefully, Jack took us off into town where we had a few drinks and some dinner.

Morning arrived, a bit of a dull day, in complete contrast to the day before and we set about packing ready for the transfer to a new vehicle. Jack turned up and offered to check with the Maui depot to see what was happening; apparently they had been trying to contact us, but they had the wrong number. We thought all of this could only happen in fiction, but no it really happened. They promised to deliver the new vehicle in half an hour (NZ time?). New vehicle arrived, slightly smaller, but so much better laid out; it was just what we wanted.

We drove off to have a look at Arrowtown, an historic gold mining town much restored and now a bit of a 'lived in' museum, a Hollywood film set. The day was hot and sunny and we enjoyed wandering around and a good fish and chip lunch. We returned to Queenstown on a circular route down a lovely valley, past a pretty little gorge. Laundry duties once we found a laundry, then on to find where Jack lived, up at the top of Queenstown. Jack had another engagement that evening so we hung out all the laundry, pottered around, had dinner then went to bed.

Queenstown is very much a tourist town, lots of young people and the popular meeting places were the burger joints, caf├ęs and bars. It was a very buzzy place and had a great atmosphere. The sun passed behind the mountains early on so the evenings were cool, if not cold but the setting, beside the lake and surrounded by mountains is beautiful.

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