Days 113 - 115
Today was spent driving back to Queenstown alongside some pretty special scenery. This truly was a spectacular country with beautiful lakes and mountains. I for one would never get tired with these types of views.
Before we knew it the road we were driving along rejoined the main highway that took us back to Adrenaline City, the road we travelled yesterday. Still, it was very beautiful and we stopped at a couple of places we didn't have time to pause at two days ago. The first was Roaring Meg Recreation Reserve, where there was a look out over the feisty river, next to the old Power Station. We crossed the road and had a wander along a trail for a few minutes before we came to the river a little further upstream. It was quite full and very fast, not a good spot for any paddling, but that was OK, it was overcast and a little cooler again today.
Our next stop was at the original AJ Hackett Bungy Jump on the Kawarau Suspension Bridge, which if you remember I said was absolutely heaving when we passed by on Monday. Today, there wasn't a soul to be seen, just a couple of other tourists hoping to catch some action. We walked along the bridge and watched the river below for a little while before we decided to carry on.
Next stop was Arrowtown, a former gold mining town, just a few miles away from Queenstown. This was a lovely little town, nested on the Arrow River, with one main high street, filled with shops selling jade, ice cream and other touristy things. We had a leisurely wander around and picked up a couple of things before we continued on.
We went back to the camp site we stayed in when we were first here as it was in a good location and was quite quiet and we walked down into the town for yet another Ferg Burger (we were in danger of turning into one of these!) Afterwards we walked down to the lake side and along the promenade, enjoying the night views of the lake.
Over the next couple of days we did very little, recovering from the vast amount of driving we had done over the last couple of days, and resting in preparation for our four day walk. We did go out for a little explore on our final afternoon in Queenstown, and set off around the shore of Lake Wakatipu and headed towards Glenorchy, which was a little village at the far end of the lake. It was a beautiful drive, with the Remarkables Range on the far side of the lake acting as an impressive backdrop. It was quite a cloudy day which made for some moody photographs, and we stopped in a few lay-bys to take some.
Once we arrived in the village we had a little drive around but there wasn't anything of interest so we looked at the map and saw that the road carried on for approximately ten kilometres to somewhere called Paradise, and that we would pass some Lord of the Rings locations on the way, so onwards we went.
I was driving along quite happy, enjoying the green countryside as I went. I was travelling along a single road and after a little while the road became a gravel track. It was a bit bumpy but I slowed down and carried on. I turned a bend and braked sharply as I came head to head with a ford. We had a look at the map and there was no streams crossing the road but equally there were no other roads so it wasn't as if I had taken a wrong turn. Dan got out and had a look at how deep the water was. It flowed over his ankles and was shallower on the far side so off I set through the ford, taking every effort not to stall and out the other side I came.
Well that was exciting! Imagine our surprise when about five minutes further one we came to another one! Again, Dan got out, had a look but it was plain to me that this one was even shallower so onwards I continued.
I drove through not three, nor four but six fords. The road became narrower, bumpier and the countryside seemed to get wilder but there was no sign of Paradise, although it was very beautiful! By the time I came up to the seventh stream of water I said enough is enough. I was pretty sure we weren't covered by the insurance for this sort of thing and the fords were starting to get deeper. I managed to turn the van around without damaging it and back we turned.
We passed an elderly couple in their little hire car that obviously had a similar idea to us, and a couple of 4x4's as we drove back to Glenorchy. We stopped at the jetty to stretch our legs, when we saw the elderly couple had turned back shortly after passing us. The drive back to Queenstown was quiet and we made it back to the camp site in one piece!