Today my agenda included hiking the track that I did not make yesterday afternoon and then driving to my next destination Glenorchy. I slept a little later than usual, got up and made breakfast and had a nice chat with the other guest who are from England. My neighbors in PA are from England and this was the second English couple who had stayed here in two nights. This couple was actually doing a reconnaissance mission as they are planning to move to Wellington (New Zealand’s second largest city) in a few months.
|View from the bottom|
The first 30 minutes or so was steep but mostly pleasant as I got my rhythm. I have to admit though, after about 45 minutes of nothing but straight up, in the sun, with no trees or green vegetation anywhere and no streams or rocks or anything to break up the monotony, I was getting pretty tired of this mountain and this climb. From about halfway (where I was at 45 minutes) on up I had a very nice view of Lake Wanaka and the town of Wanaka and stopped a few times just to admire it.
At this point the trail split with the right side being more gradual and longer and the left being more direct straight up the ridge. Although the more gradual route was appealing my desire to get to the top ASAP won out so up the ridge line I went….
After about 10 more minutes of hard climbing I finally reached the summit and, as hoped, the view was stunning…..
After a few pictures I walked around to the other side and saw a couple and the girl had a UNC hat on so of course I had to ask where they were from. 🙂 Turns out they were not only Carolina fans but they actually live in Chapel Hill (for those who may not know the university of North Carolina is in Chapel Hill). So of course we had plenty to talk about and did for 15 minutes or so. They were a really nice couple….
After eating lunch I took a couple of more pictures and started back down. For those who hike you know that going down is sometimes as difficult (or more) than going up. While not as physically exhausting you really have to watch your step on the very steep stuff or you’ll end up going to the bottom like a bowling ball….and that’s never a good thing. 🙂
After about an hour I made it back to my car and I set off for Glenorchy (Google, Images), about 2 hours away. I decided to take the Crown Range Highway (Web Page) to get some good views of from this famous mountain pass. There was also a mountain along the way from which you could see some of the landscape where they filmed The Lord of the Rings. But unfortunately about 20 miles outside of Wanaka it began raining hard with really low clouds so I knew driving to a mountain top in this would be a waste of time. So I drove through to Queenstown (Google, Images).
It was still raining when I arrived in Queenstown and about 5:30 so traffic was really bad. Queenstown is a nice, larger (by NZ standards) town with just about everything you need. It is also a huge “outdoor” town and hosts many, many, many tourist, backpackers and hikers. Queenstown was basically built in a gorge that opens into the ginormous Lake Wakatipu (Google). Unfortunately there is no other way to get to Glenorchy than to go straight through Queenstown so I sat in traffic. Anticipating that there would potentially be no restaurants and knowing there would be no groceries in Glenorchy (I was booked at a hostel) I stopped in Queenstown to get some food for breakfast. And as much as I hate to admit it, I also stopped for dinner at Burger King (they are called Burger King in NZ unlike AU) because they had free wi-fi and I didn’t think I would have any wi-fi or cell coverage in Glenorchy.
So about 7:30 I started the 45 minute trip to Glenorchy. The drive was nice and very curvy going around the lake (it reminded me of the Great Ocean Road in AU). It had stopped raining but the clouds were still low on the mountains in the distance. Considering this is the area where quite a bit of the Lord of the Rings was filmed it seemed kind of fitting that the mountains would be shrouded in clouds….
I finally reached Glenorchy just before dark. I drove around thinking my lodge would be easy to find, since there are only 2 streets and about 8 buildings in Glenorchy, but for some reason I just couldn’t find it. So after a few minutes I checked my phone (thankfully I had signal) and I discovered that my lodge was not actually in Glenorchy but was in Kinloch 25km (15.5 miles) further….UGH!!!! By this time it was dark, I was very tired and it was raining again. I was not a happy camper but the only person I could be mad at was myself. So, I turned left (on the only highway in Glenorchy) and headed to Kinloch.
Kinloch (Google) basically consists of the Kinloch lodge (where I stayed) and that’s it! It’s both a regular B&B and a backpackers hostel and it seemed to have a nice restaurant. Anyway, I checked in, found my bed and my suite mates and went to the dining area with my laptop (fortunately they had wi-fi) to work on the blog and try and figure out what I am doing tomorrow in the land of Middle Earth. 🙂
|Where Am I|