Sunday, January 10, 2016

Manapouri to Cromwell

I had another night in a cabin yesterday in Manapouri. At the end of the tour the sun was shining warmly, and the cabins looked so good in the sunlight.

Those of you who have read my blogs about my overseas walks will know how I like to photograph wood piles. Well, here's one from the camp in Manapouri. Getting ready for winter is a serious business down here!

Today was another day full of interesting surprises. It was quite chilly when I left this morning, but it wasn't far before I could see the hay-making business of summer was well in hand.

One thing that keeps happening is that I keep passing through small settlements I have never heard of, like Garston.

It wasn't too long before I reached Kingston and started getting views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding hills. I had become so used to the lush hillsides around Lake Manapouri, covered in beech forest, but here the hills are drier and the rock is more exposed.

I was expecting Queenstown to be busy, but it was far crazier than I had imagined, with people and cars everywhere. I got petrol, and drove right on through to Glenorchy. En route there was a viewpoint as the head of the lake appeared, and it showed where various valleys exited into the lake. The Routeburn I was expecting, but there were also others like the Caples and Rees that I remembered tramping club members taking summer trips too.

Glenorchy was beautiful. The famous Glenorchy shed was here, though restored after a damaging flood.

I could do a whole post just about Glenorchy really!

I had no option but to drive back through Queenstown, and the traffic was even crazier. But I managed to get uphill to find a beautiful stone church with a family connection. Fr John Francis O'Donnell was involved with building this church, and he is a cousin to my great-grandfather.

I managed to find the back road to Arrowtown without driving back through the centre of Queenstown, and Arrowtown could also have a post all to itself! It was busy with visitors too, but not as frenetic as Queenstown.
I revisited the restored Chinese miner's houses etc.
I decided to drive through to Cromwell for the night, ready to drive through to the West Coast tomorrow. I had forgotten how stunning the rock faces were, and I don't think there were many vineyards here when I was last here.
Not far from Cromwell, I came across some orchards, so I am now munching delicious cherries, picked this morning!



  1. Glenorchy looks wonderful Margaret. Did you spend much time in Arrowtown? Fantastic that you located the church your great-grandfather's cousin was involved in building. that is pretty is your munching my favvy cherries!! Lucky girl! The West Coast should be an historic adventure. Looking forward to that! Sleep well :)

  2. WOW you are continuing to amaze and surprise me with the areas you are covering! I love the drive and am fascinated with the new cycle ways in and around these areas. I have biked a lot of them and plan to bike a lot more. WOW you have explored so many places. Great to see you have fresh cherries. Grant and I are going to UB40 in the Waipara Vineyard on Friday so I am looking forward to a lot more fresh Central Otago Fruit! YAY - coast tomorrow and a whole new vista....

  3. Wish I had been tracking your travels! It would have been lovely to meet up in Cromwell! What a lovely trip you are having. Travel safely and if you are ever back this way... :) (@msbeenz)

    1. Hi Claire, Cromwell was really only a quick overnight stop. It was a choice between mainly skipping central, or skipping the Coast, as time is now running short. So I am lodged in my tent in Franz Josef this evening, wondering if I will get to pack it up dry or wet in the morning!