More of New Zealand’s south island delights were in store for us after saying farewell to Nicki and Felix in Invercargill. We set off on the very scenic drive north to Queenstown, and then on to Glenorchy and Paradise, where lots of Lord of the Rings scenes were filmed.
Queenstown was incredibly busy, more so than I’ve seen it in the past, but I suppose it is peak season. We didn’t stay in the town, we drove straight on through and stayed in the much sleepier Glenorchy. We would have loved to have spent more time in Queenstown and Glenorchy – they are our sort of places – time was limited though.
Our next stop was on the west coast, where we had planned to do a 2 day tramp up to the Welcome Flat campsite and natural hot pools. The plan didn’t quite go ahead. We drove all the way there (a full days driving along one of the most stunning roads) via lovely sunny Wanaka and over the Haast Pass, to find the weather on the west coast grim and uninviting. We knew the west was prone to rain, when I visited before it rained a lot too. We slept in the van at the start of the walk, ready to commence the 7 hour tramp in the morning. The sandflies were in full force – we only left the van in dire emergencies!
Morning came and the rain was still coming down, it was more like mizzle (misty drizzle). We came to the conclusion that we didn’t fancy getting soaked through and bitten to pieces by sandflies, plus the river crossing was in danger of becoming impassable, so we had a leisurely start and got ready to drive back to Haast for a coffee and cake, then on to Wanaka (and hopefully the sunshine!).
Just as we had succumbed to moving on, groups of French girls and other smiling individuals turned up, put their waterproofs on and started the walk! Well… we couldn’t have that! We changed our minds again, got ready and started walking, only to get a few metres before having to go barefoot and wade through the river, fighting sandfly attacks in the meantime.
After about 50 minutes of trudging through the track in the bush, hugging trees to get around the growing pools of thick mud and deep water, we had a change of heart again and turned around. We just couldn’t be bothered to face 7 hours of that, as well as camping in it and having to carry a wet tent and clothes back the next day. We weren’t all that wimpy because the others on the tramp seemed to be staying in the warm dry hut rather than camping… a coffee and cake in Haast sounded far more pleasant!
Wanaka didn’t disappoint. We had two fantastic sunny days there which we filled with swimming in Lake Wanaka, sunbathing, reading, climbing at the Basecamp climbing wall, eating out at an Indian restaurant, soaking up the great vibe of the town and relaxing – good stuff! We are very keen on Wanaka.
End of part 2.