Finally I am documenting my first trip to Queenstown. It will likely be long, with an abundance of adjectives, but I want to remember everything of these magical few days in the South (:
On an early Thursday morning I boarded my plane bound for the South Island town in Otago, Queenstown. Of course I had heard many things about this place, from both locals and tourists alike, and I had been itching to visit for years. Finally it was my time to visit, and I could barely contain my excitement. From the advice of Gregor, who I was meeting and staying with down there, I had a window seat on the rear, lefthand side of the plane – perfect for viewing the scenery on the flight down… I was not disappointed either, with the view flying along the West Coast and above the Southern Alps everything that I could have hoped for.
Spectacular Southern Alps
The person in the window seat near me was sleeping during this flight; I couldn’t understand it!
I wasn’t sure what to expect for the descent into Queenstown airport; all I’d heard was that it would show off the skill of the pilot. Flying low over the mountains and between the surrounding ranges I could clearly understand this statement!
Final descent into Queenstown
Shortly after we had landed we disembarked and I walked through the doors into the arrival lounge of Queenstown airport, where Gregor was awaiting me. I could hardly contain my excitement upon greeting him; both to see him again and to be finally there after so much anticipation! After a short drive we arrived at his beautiful house over-looking the magnificent Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range (very aptly named I must add). His lovely mum had made a beautiful blue cod soup and we downed a couple of bowls of this as we decided what to do with the rest of the day.
The wind was picking up on the slopes apparently, and as it was already late morning (and ski hire/life passes aren’t cheap) we decided to do a little sight-seeing before hitting the mountain. I had been reading about the area at the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu, and was keen for a visit. So we hopped into the car and headed north along the lake and towards Glenorchy.
Of course this drive was nothing short of beautiful, and so we stopped at a few great lookouts along the way:
Looking north up the lake. This view took my breath away!
We arrived in the Glenorchy township, and got out by the jetty (and the shed seen in many pictures) to view the lake and mountains. Gregor and I with our matching cameras took time to take the view in (and of course document it too – I just couldn’t help myself!)
From here we headed out to the start of the Routeburn track to take in a bit more of the surroundings. Unfortunately we weren’t able to do the hike this time, but after seeing the start, reading the informative signage and hearing about this track for years from my Mum, I am definitely putting this on my summer to-do list (hopefully this summer!).
With the sun rapidly setting, we were really starting to feel the nip in the air, so decided to head back. On way back towards Glenorchy, we slowed on this one-way bridge over the Dart River (no traffic nearby!) to take this view looking back up the river:
Looking north up the Dart River
I would love to come back here in the summer and explore these areas further by foot 🙂
Part 2 to follow..