LOVE TO WANDER
It is a comparatively short drive to Queenstown from Te Anau - about 2.5 hours - so we had time to visit Arrowtown on the way.
Arrowtown is an old gold mining town with an interesting preserved Chinese Settlement area where the Chinese immigrant miners set up camp. There is a little museum in the town which was an interesting place to pass an hour or two,
Today, we took a cruise into Milford Sound. It was raining which added to the beauty of this remote region immensely. When it rains, all the non permanent waterfalls really come to life. Within fifteen minutes of a rain shower stopping, many of the temporary waterfalls stop running, When it pours with rain, Milford Sound pumps and roars with appreciation.
There are so many Maori words for water. Some of the town names really start to make sense once you understand this:
Wairarapa - glistening water - we certainly saw that today
Waimaori - pure/sweet water
Waikimo - dangerous water
Waimate - dead water
Waiti - salt water
Waitapu - sacred water
Waimanawa-whenua - spring water
Yesterday, we took a short cruise with Real Journeys across Lake Manapouri then a coach trip on the remote sub-alpine route over Wilmot Pass and into Doubtful Sound where we docked overnight on the Fiordland Navigator.
We saw bottlenose dolphins playing and feeding in the peaceful water and paused to watch fur seals bask on the rocks. Penguins made a brief appearance too, but were failed to photo them. This is a very peaceful and beautiful place - you can see from the photo why it gets called Shadowland.
A comfortable enough little cabin with a tiny wash basin and a shower. None of the cabins have a porthole, but this didn't really matter as we were only on board 1 night. The evening meal was a reasonable buffet style. Soup was served mid afternoon and cakes etc. too, so you don't need to bring a packed lunch.
We used today to travel to our next lodgings in Te Anau - conveniently located for trips into the Milford and Doubtful Sounds. These can be booked via Trips and Tramps (www.tripsandtramps.com) and Real Journeys (www.realjourneys.co.nz or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The journey took 4 hours, including a stop for coffee on the way and not counting the stop in Queenstown en route to buy a new pair of walking sandals - the ones we had brought with us had given up the ghost at this stage of the trip. I'm sure our legs are shorter than when we started too?!
An upmarket B&B luxuriously appointed with tea and coffee making facilities in the room. They even provided bathrobes here, which was nice. There is a hot tub too. Best of all, it is just a short walk into town where there are a variety of restaurants, so this lodging ticks all the boxes.
You can leave your bags overnight in your car if you are going on an overnight cruise in the Sounds (as we are) and there is a safe place to park it.
The weather turned chilly, very windy and promised rain in the afternoon. We managed a leisurely stroll around the lakeside and then paid a visit to Puzzling World Wanaka. We failed the challenge of exiting the giant maze within the 60 minutes target and gave up when we saw an emergency exit. If there was one of these back home, it would make a fortune I think!
The attraction houses a whole host of illusional exhibits which turn your brain inside out. You have to be there to get the real impression of it, but I can give you a small flavour with this puzzle: How many animals can you see?
Yesterday, we took the Mount Iron loop trail which gives great views of Wanaka as a reward for the very steep uphill climb. We were only walking for a couple of hours, but the elevation gain - up hill consistently for an hour - made it feel like harder work than that. In the afternoon, we spent a lazier time at the lakeside as a reward.
Today, we decided to attempt the Rob Roy Glacier tramp. The car park at Raspberry Creek is 50kms out of Wanaka and there are 9 stream crossings to get to it ...
A very well equipped chalet, with a full sized oven and all the kitchen utensils you could need. There is a little private, sunny garden too, which is a bonus. Good laundry facilities and very friendly and helpful hosts. The Wi-Fi is free and fast. The only downside is that it is a 45 minute walk Into the centre of town.
OK - it isn't really called Mount Perspiring - it is Mount Aspiring and we walked 775m to view its summit today. Total distance covered in today's walk was 15kms and we felt it at the end of the walk `as it was very steep in places. This walk gets a "hard" category in the walking trails booklet - we saw what they meant!
The views at the top were awesome though and worth the climb.
We ate an early dinner at Relishes Café - www.relishescafe.co.nz. They serve seasonal local produce and have a contemporary twist to their menu. We enjoyed our meal here before walking the 45 minutes back to our chalet - it would have been nicer to have been closer to town tonight!