Thursday, October 13, 2011

New Zealand Day 10 : Wanaka - Arrowtown - Queenstown

Day 10 : 15 September 2011

We basically didn't spend much time in Lake Tekapo. Close to noon, we started our journey down south, heading towards the next destination, Wanaka. The owner of Lakeview Tekapo warned us that there's news the night before that there will be snow in Lindis Pass, so we have to be careful.

The journey between Tekapo to Wanaka was a very challenging one.. not because of the road condition, not because of weather condition, but because the scenery was so beautiful that we made photo stop every now and then - it was so difficult to resist, we simply had to take photos of this and that.

New Zealand doesn't have the best highway, but one thing good is they take into consideration of their tourism industry, and recognise the fact that something need to be done along the road to utilise the beauty of its nature. So we can see lookout point every now and then, for us to stop and take pictures of the scenery. Isn't that convenient?

Throughout the 2 hour journey from Tekapo to Wanaka, there's some common characteristics we can see in many parts of it - that is there's lake, surrounded by snow capped mountain. That basically what we can see along the way, which is difficult to be ignored.

And I think many people knows that the Maori name for New Zealand, which is Aotearoa - often translated as The Land of The Long White Cloud. I used to wonder what does that means. But upon admiring the clouds in South Island, I wonder no more. It was so easy to see the long white cloud lying so low, sometimes it looks like it is just located at the base of the mountain. A long white cloud lying low.

Apart from the clouds and the mountain, New Zealand is full of lakes - beautiful lakes. But my personal favorite along the way from Tekapo to Wanaka is of course Lake Ohau, which forms the traditional boundary of Canterbury and Otago district. I took a picture of it, and thought it looks like the picture in a postcard. The color combination is simply beautiful - with the yellowish-greenish from the trees, brownish-greenish from the mountain, and the light blue from the lake. It looks like a painting.

And I also love the scenery along Lindis Pass. When we were there, true enough it was snowing, but not heavy at all so it created dots here and there on the mountain. That, to me, was very beautiful.

We reached Wanaka at about 1pm and headed straight to Puzzling World. Time to have fun! We bought the combo tickets to both The Maze and Illusion Rooms. The Maze was funny, we kept getting lost at each route that we spent quite some times in it. By the time we enter the Illusion Rooms, we were already tired of walking hahaha.

We were considering whether we wanted to explore Wanaka a bit, or should we just head straight to Arrowtown. It was already close to 3pm, Mr D is a bit reluctant to stay longer in Wanaka, so we decided to continue our journey to Arrowtown. There are 2 routes leading to Arrowtown, through Cromwell, and through Cardrona. It is much shorter via Cardrona, but the road is a narrow, twisting-and-turning mountain road, so we need to be extra careful, especially in winter. This is one of South Island's most scenic drives, so we didn't want to miss it no matter how difficult the road condition is. Through my observation, the road is much more challenging from south to north, than from north to south. Glad that we are coming from North heading South. I think if you are using campervan, perhaps it is better to avoid this road from south to north.

It was quite a short drive from Wanaka to Arrowtown, it took only about 40 minutes. Arrowtown was built in the middle of 19th century upon discovery of gold in Arrow river. The town by itself is unique, as it maintains the old wooden and stone buildings giving it a historic look. I understand that Arrowtown is best visited during autumn due to the color of the trees.

The town by itself is unique, as it maintains the old wooden and stone buildings giving it a historic look. There are rows of shops, selling many things from leather product to clothes, to sweet etc etc. I found it a little bit pricey though, so it is definitely not the place to shop, at least not for me.

We spent close to 2 hours in Arrowtown, wandering around the town, before heading to our next destination, Queenstown, where we spent our night. Journey to Queenstown only takes about 20 minutes. We headed straight to our motel, Earnslaw Lodge, where I booked a studio unit.

It was an old building, not comfortably accessible, but the room was OK. The kitchen is quite complete. The internet access can be purchased, and we paid NZD25 for 3 days 24-hour access, limited to 500MB.

Though the kitchen is complete, I didn't feel like cooking that night. I read a recommendation from Chef Wan during his recent visit to Queenstown, a simple yet nice seafood restaurant called Fishbone Bar & Grill. So Mr D called the restaurant and book for 2 pax for the night. The food was simple, but the freshness of its ingredients that stands out. We ordered oysters for starter (which we carefully state what we can eat), grilled fish on cauliflower puree and spinach for me, and of course another fish and chips for Mr D. We spent some time walking around the town after dinner, before heading back to motel to end the day.

Next : Cromwell for fruits and ice cream.

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