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Day 23 – Haast to Queenstown

November 7, 2012

Our day started with the sun streaming in through our camper-van windows – at 8am the temperature was already at 12c. The vista was superb with the dark mountains washed at the top with glistening snow. Our journey today would take us from Haast on state highway 6 through Mount Aspiring National Park and through some stunning views. We have seen some great sights and we had remarked how complacent one can get when you are seeing such views every day. In my mind I had committed to look for that extra wow factor as we were driving and I was not to be disappointed.

We seemed to stopping every few kilometres to look at the view and take pictures it just got better and better as the journey went on. Our journey took us through a number of passes and gorges which were just awe inspiring. So many different verses of scripture kept flooding into my mind about the awesomeness of God’s creation. The Sandy Patty song – The majesty and glory of your name also kept jumping into my mind as well. Here is a link to the lyrics –

Our coffee break was taken at Makarora – what a place to live and work. Here we were able to sit in relative silence and look all around us at the magnificent sights – the coffee and apple and cinnamon muffin were rather yummy as well. We hadn’t got much further on the road when we hit a traffic jam!!! Well not really I think there were 10 vehicles in the jam – all because the road was blocked due to a major rock slip. There are probably no better places to be held up for around 20mins than where we were – alongside Lake Wanaka. The picture opposite is the view we had – not bad eh??

We got chatting to one of the workmen and we learnt a little of what had happened and how they were dealing with it. He explained that this is a common occurrence all the year round and that every day someone drives this particular route to check out potential for displacements. He said that not that long ago the road was closed for 2 days due to  big rock fall and the guy who had been checking the route that day ended up on the wrong side of the fall and didn’t get home for 2 days. The 20mins seemed to go very quickly and we were on our way again.

Lunch was taken at Albert Town which is about 8k outside of Wanaka. The picture opposite is the backdrop to this growing township. The whole of the area is seeing an increase in real estate with property and land prices very reasonable – you would get quite a lot for an investment of around £200K with outstanding views thrown in.

Our journey on from Wanaka took us through a very large wine growing region – it must be the second biggest in the South Island after Marlborough. We then entered a journey through a long gorge which lasted for around 30km. This area was very rugged and river below us was fast flowing. We passed Kawarau Bridge which if you are brave enough you can bungy jump from a suspended jump pod over a gorge. You’ve guessed it I just kept driving as this is just not my type of adrenalin seeking thrill.

We passed through the relatively fast growing conurbations of Cromwell and Frankton as we arrived in to Queenstown. Queenstown is situated on the northeast shore of Lake Wakatipu backed by the Remarkables range. I can quite understand why they got that name as the sight is remarkable.

After settling in at what will be our stop over for the next 4 nights we decided to take a trip on the Skyline Gondola. The ride goes up to Bob’s Peak and rises 450m (1,476ft) in just 730m (2,400ft). The views were breathtaking (literally for me!!!) of the panoramic vista of the Remarkables, Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown. I don’t know what it is but I did find it quite scary as I looked out beneath us! At the top there are a range of other things you could do such as go even higher on the ski lift and ride downhill on a luge or not for the fainthearted a bungy jump from The Ledge – a pod overlooking Queenstown.

If you look close enough at the picture you will see someone was brave enough to literally run and throw herself off ‘The Ledge’ and hurtle earthwards until the bungy yanks her back up. I don’t know what she felt like but I can tell you my legs became a bit like jelly and I felt a little cold sweat come over me as she jumped.


Time for us to go I said to Brenda knowing that we still had the journey back down in the gondola to contend with. So after some purchases in the gift shop it was back to the docking station to climb aboard our gondola. Was I scared – of course not. I think Brenda was really unkind taking this picture and making me include it in this blog lol. In all honesty the ride in the gondola was a great experience and I’m glad I did it as the views were worth it.

The weather has been outstanding today with temperatures peaking at around 22c with little breeze around. It has been our most memorable journey to date and one we will not forget quickly.

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One Comment
  1. What is it with you and heights?!

    Anyway, but the time you read this it’ll be your birthday…hope you enjoy your little present…I expect a photo on this blog to show that you’re joining in!

    M x

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