I arrived in Queenstown in time for St Patrick’s day, sadly not the kind of event my travel-weary brain was up for. Big crowds, loud noise and really bad Guinness wasn’t exactly what I needed.
Queenstown is a fantastic place, and quite beautiful when the clouds clear up. I love walking around the streets and gardens, and strolling along the lakeside. It’s a good place to base yourself, but you don’t really come to New Zealand just to see cities.
Driving from Queenstown along the lake up to Glenorchy only takes 45 minutes but the views are out of this world. The sky had mercifully cleared up to reveal the mountains ranged on either side of the lake.
Glenorchy is a small town at the head of lake Wakatipu that serves as a jumping off point for walkers and trampers (the NZ term for hikers) heading into the mountains. Some of the trekking trails take days to traverse, but we kept it simple and hiked for two hours through the forest up the Glacier Burn track. It was steep, but the result was worth it, when we finally broke through the trees to experience the view back down.
After we’d had our fill of the view, we made our way back down to the car and drove to Kinloch, a small bay at the top the lake. This was a perfect place to set up camp, to watch the sun set and cook dinner on the gas stove while drinking tea, followed by a night of stargazing under the gloriously clear sky. This is something I’d been looking forward to: I’m enough of a space geek to get really excited about seeing such things as the Southern Cross, and Orion standing on his head!