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October 04, 2004


The drive between Wanaka and Queestown is characterized as reaching "perilous altitudes". I wasn't sure what that meant until we crossed a pass after a long uphill slog in second gear and a valley opened up directly below. It was just like being in an airplane, complete with turbulence, looking at the fields 2000 feet below as we raced down the mountain on the rough narrow road. The illusion vanished when the driver cranked the steering wheel all the way over to make it around the first of a dozen extra-tight hairpin curves.

During the last portion of the drive I tried to convince myself that QTown would be better than Wanaka. "Maybe it's not as touristy as people say it is." The illusion was shattered this time by a real airplane: a 737 from Qantas was skimming the mountain sides to land at the small airport. Does IntraWest own this place too?

I checked in at a quiet hostel that offers excellent views of the town and the lake. Much like Wanaka, Queesntown sits at the end of a long lake with imposing mountains all around. The Remarkables range is particularly impressive, giving the impression it was created to prevent anything and anybody from reaching its far side. Wanaka's scenery has a nicer feel to it because it is more open and possibly greener.

The town center of QT is lined with adventure tour operators. You can do just about anything here from riding horses through the Lord of The Rings filming locations to heli-skiing.This leaves little room for small cafes which is unfortunate for a town like this.

The weather has been a little gloomy so I have been taking it easy. Today I explored my options for the next few days. There are some exciting options now that I have found out that there is a pack forwarding service. This would allow me to hike a one-way multi-day track with only my camping gear, and have the rest of my stuff sent by bus to the track's end. The current candidate is the Caples track westbound from Glenorchy (40 minutes North-West of Queenstown).

If I don't write here in a while it's because I am getting to more remote locations.

Posted by piegu on October 4, 2004 03:28 AM
Category: New Zealand
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