Day 37 Wanaka – Cardrona – Queenstown
After a good night sleep, it’s time to head off out of Wanaka and over the bigger sister town of Queenstown. As I come back into town from the campsite I have to stop off at Wanaka’s most famous spot, the Wanaka tree. This tree would have to be the most photographed tree in NZ. One lonely tree, normally just off the shore of Lake Wanaka but lake levels are really low at the moment. Search Wanaka tree for some fantastic shots.
I carry on, after taking a few shots, until I get to another iconic NZ spots, Cardrona. Known for its Ski field in Winter and the Cardrona Hotel and the Bra Fence. Built back it the Gold rush days of the mid 1800’s the hotel and restaurant are some off the oldest in NZ and are still operating today. The hotel is a well photographed building, it has the old post and telegraph shop next door and the historic hall just down the road. Across the road is the Bra fence, don’t know much about it but it seems to be the place to lay your Bra’s to rest after a hard life. Hundreds of them hang up along the fence.
Next stop along the road is the summit of the Crown Range, winding my way up and over New Zealand’s highest sealed road, 1076m above sea level, to the top to the viewing point. The clouds had set in so I couldn’t see far today but on nice day, you can look down the ranges towards Queenstown for a stunning view and you might even spot a plane flying down the valley towards the airport.
Arrowtown is my next stop, to have a look around. Another gold rush mining town in the area. When i get there the town is full of Harley Davidson Motor cycles, with both sides of the main street lined up with them. a finally find a carpark and go for a quick walk to check them all out, some pretty nice done up bikes as well as the standard cruisers. I find a bit of lunch before getting back to the van.
I carry on into Queenstown. Known as the adventure capital of NZ, and for good reason. There is so much to do, from the famous adrenaline filled Bungy jump, jetboat ride, Mountain biking, skydiving, white water rafting, quad bike rides, 4wd tours, paragliding, the list goes on. Or you can try the more relaxed gondola and luge ride, helicopter rides, wine tours, cruise on the lake, sample the local fine dining. This place is buzzing all year round with all the above and a couple of ski fields in winter plus more.
After visiting the local information centre I decide to head up the Gondola to check out the view and have a couple of goes on the luge. If you’re into downhill mountain biking this is a great place to visit, with a pass you can get taken up on the gondola and ride back down. Some very serious riders and bikes around when I jump in the Gondola. Once at the top, there’s a restaurant and a few little shops, bungy and the luge. I head out side onto the viewing platform, the fantastic views over the town, the lake, out to the Remarkables and Crown Range.
A short walk a down below the restaurant is where I take the next gondola up to the start of the luge. Fun little ride for the first go as everyone has to do the slow track first, then I head up and have a go on the faster track. I went down with a couple of other guys, we battled our way to the bottom, playing bumper cars trying to get past each other, up on two wheels around the corners was a lot of fun. But that was enough fun for now so I head back down to the van and head off to the next destination.
I’m off to Glenorchy, its located at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu. The town has a well photographed building as well, a little red boat shed on the lakes edge. The areas scenery has been in a few movies as well including the Lord of the Rings, Narnia and X-men. It is also close to the start of one of New Zealand’s great walks, the Routeburn track, 32km in length, 2-4 day trek and through 2 national parks.
After a few shots of the boat shed, I head to my freedom camp for the night. Nice little spot on the lakes edge. By the time I set up camp, the sun is on its way down and its putting on a show. Bright orange skies lighting up the lake waters below. Perfect way to end the day.