Thursday, March 4, 2010
The Road to Queenstown
The South Island is a beautiful part of the world. When we awoke yesterday, we could look out our window at Lake Tekapo, a deep blue glacial lake high in the mountains here. There's a tiny chapel right at lake's edge, and in the tradition of all tourism - if it's a church, it must be an attraction. So that's the first thing we did when we checked out.
It is actually quite a cool place, probably only room for 20 people at most, and the back wall is a huge picture window looking out on the lake. It would be easy to let your mind wander during a sermon with that view.
What that picture doesn't show is how windy this place is. The two days we were there, the cold winds were constantly howling. As beautiful as the place is, it would be tough living with that kind of wind throughout the year.
That next picture is the view from our room. LK has managed to book some of the great places on this trip, while I still recall the "villas" I booked at the Bay of Fires. It's pretty clear that she has a future as our personal trip planner, and my role is better left to chronicling our adventures.
From Tekapo we drove down Route 8 to another glacial lake, Pukaki. The postcard shots just kept on coming, and this lake had the added advantage of cloud-tipped Mount Cook in the background.
The lake is just a few miles away from the town of Twizel. We stopped in there to get fuel and limes. I guess you can see where our priorities are by that decision.
At the next little town we considered having lunch but I had passed the place before we saw it, and I am getting so tired of backtracking that I decided we should just soldier on to the next town.
Little did I know that the next town was quite far away and to get there we had to go through the Lindis Pass and Valley.
This was a spectacular drive, though, with rolling mountains on each side of us as we drove through. That picture of it is from a tourist web site since we didn't think to stop for a shot. (OK, since I was hungry and just wanted to get to a place to eat.)
After some pretty good burgers at a little cafe on the other side of the Lindis Valley, we continued on to Queenstown. We stopped at the Roaring Meg river for a quick look.
The speculation is that the river was named after a particularly boisterous bar maid. Gotta love the Kiwis. Other places name their geographic sites after statesmen, explorers and heroes. Here, the barmaid gets a whole river named after her.
We arrived at Queenstown late in the afternoon. We could have done a bit of exploring, but it was so close to cocktail hour that we took the sensible decision and deferred that until the morning.