04 August 2011


I don’t think there’s another place on earth where the sheer magnificence of the scenery could make a person blasé about the drive into Queenstown, New Zealand. Skirting the shores of Lake Wakatipu and winding beneath the spires of the aptly-named Remarkables mountain range, the road into town is nothing short of spectacular. And yet we stopped only once to take a photo – the landscape we’ve driven through for the past two weeks is so insanely rich with amazing vistas and heart-stopping scenery that a merely outstanding drive barely gets our attention.

When we got to Queenstown proper, it was pretty much what we expected: a town that’s being loved to death by adventure tourists from around the globe. Queenstown is the place to go if you want to bungee jump, ride a jet boat, roll down a hill in a giant inflatable ball, and all manner of lesser diversions. We don’t begrudge folks their desire for adrenaline, but the crowds and hubbub of Queenstown are pretty much the opposite of what we’ve been experiencing in New Zealand.

We kept driving, through the choked center of town, and followed signs to the small town of Glenorchy, about 40 km north of Queenstown and a world removed. The drive between the two, reputed to be one of the South Island’s finest, certainly got our attention. Like the approach to Queenstown, the road winds along the edge of Wakatipu, overlooking its impossibly blue waters and providing a shifting view of the snowcapped Humboldt Mountains across the lake. Near the northern terminus of the lake the landscape flattens a bit, providing a small area for pastureland and the tiny village of Glenorchy. Our final B&B of this trip is located a few kilometers past Glenorchy, on an ancient lake terrace that’s now pasture for a quartet of horses. There are a few dogs, a friendly grey cat, some horses, and a lovely apartment surrounded by mountains. Our innkeeper here, Vladka, came from the Czech Republic to study photography. In addition to running a top-notch B&B, she works as a tour operator, trail guide, and together with her black lab Jacques, as a certified avalanche search and rescue team.

The road to Glenorchy. This is Lord of the Rings country. Isn't it beautiful?

The welcoming committee at Precipice Creek.

The weather gods have smiled upon us for the past three days. We saw Milford and Doubtful Sounds in weather that included more sun than rain – a statistical improbability – and when we arrived here in Glenorchy we sat jacketless in the late afternoon sunshine. The sky is deep alpine blue, the sun’s rays flash on the snow peaks that surround us, and we’re happy to relax for a few minutes and reflect on our good luck and fortune to have visited this wonderful place.

Location:Airport Ave,Frankton,New Zealand

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