Duck-Gazing Days

Trip Start Jul 03, 2012
Trip End Jul 12, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Thursday, July 5, 2012

After our dark, icy, rushed trip from Christchurch to Te Anau, we were glad to be able to take the next leg of the journey a little slower. We stopped several times to goggle at the view and play in the snow on the way and had lunch in Queenstown on the way.

After slow-paced Te Anau, Queenstown was a bit of a shock.  It's a beautiful city on a lake, surrounded by snowy mountains, but was way busier than we were ready for!  The place was full of people bustling about, jostling for food like seagulls and looking for thrills.  I can see why people love the place, but it wasn’t really our scene since we weren’t looking to jump off something and I had had my fill of boats after the sickening (but beautiful) Milford Sound cruise.  The lunch we found was great though.  We ate at a place called The Cow which was a dark, wood and stone shack in a back alley serving beautifully rustic (and non-pretentious) Italian food.  The best part was the garlic bread – a small house-made loaf of bread which looked like it had had a whole cup of garlicky olive oil tipped over it and a handful of parsley chucked on top, served on a wooden chopping board.  Lovely.  Didn’t get the taste of garlic out of our mouths for days.

Another hour or so up the road found us at our next stop; an apartmenty thing on a marina off Lake Dunstan, near Cromwell.  When we booked the place we were looking for somewhere pretty quiet, but close enough to Queenstown and other places to have a good look around.  So we went with this place in Pisa Moorings, which is outside Cromwell, which is outside Queenstown.  It worked out pretty well and over our four nights there we had a good balance of rest and adventure.

The first day we had a good sleep-in then spent the rest of the day looking around Cromwell (found a lovely Fair Trade café/bakery in the old part of town that we went to several times over our stay), wandering around the lake and reading and watching movies.  The next day we braved Queenstown again, determined not to get annoyed with the crowds, and had a squiz at the arts and crafts markets and the bits of town we didn’t see earlier.  The markets were quite a disappointment really, mostly crappy-craft and lots of carved jade.  We were hoping to find some interesting boutique stores or galleries in Queenstown, but it was all either tacky tourist stores or snow-gear.  Still, as I said earlier, it is a beautiful city.

On the way back to Cromwell we stopped in at Arrowtown, which is a little historic town with nice old buildings, and, more importantly to us ice-loving types, a lovely freezy river nearby.  Pete and I spent a good hour or so wandering around the river, looking at the patterns the water makes as it freezes and the way bits of nature get stuck and make pretty patterns.  I guess we’re easily pleased in the end!

As many of you will know, Pete loves mountains and likes to plan our trips around the biggest mountains he can find.  This trip was no exception and every mountain we pass Pete gazes up and wonders how high it is and whether he could climb it with no training.  He has been determined to go walking since we got here so on our third day in Cromwell we gave it a go.  Pete found a good track on a map that went up nice and high, but after about half an hour of looking for it in the real world, we gave up and walked around an old gold-mining settlement instead.  Not as much altitude as Pete was looking for, but plenty of interesting history instead (and you all know how much I like rusty stuff, maybe even more than Pete loves mountains, so I was happy!!!)

So in our Cromwell leg we were hoping for plenty of rest and relaxation, and were not disappointed: much time was spent gazing off our balcony at the ducks in the marina, watching their cold little feet flipping around and the v-shaped ripples fanning out behind them – ah the simple things! 

Next stop, Mount Cook, which is (surprise, surprise) the highest peak in New Zealand.  Let’s see if this satisfies Pete’s lust for altitude!

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Emelie on

The Arrowtown reminds me of those old Wild West towns! The gold mine seems intresting too!

penmarshall on

Fantastic Myf and Pete. I'm finding the new set up where if you comment on a photo you are taken back to the text, rather tiresome. you've been to some very interesting places and, as usual, have taken some terrific photos! LOL Mum

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