Thursday 1 July 2021

There are no roads in the air

With thanks to Destination Queenstown for this famil
Unfortunately. So even when you’ve flown between the same destinations previously, there’s no guarantee you’ll take the same exact route again. I dunno, wind? Anyway, the upshot was that my gamble on sitting on the right side of the plane (should I say starboard?) so I could gaze upon the Southern Alps in all their post-Polar Blast glory, backfired spectacularly. Reader, I saw sea. And more sea. Meanwhile, those on the port side (I’m getting the hang of this now) got the whole package of snow-capped Ruapehu, Tongariro and Taranaki, with the final bonus of a close-up of Aoraki Mt Cook. Spit.

Mt Aspiring did its best, near the end, there was a glacier, I saw the full length of Lake Wakatipu, looked down at Walter Peak Station, and it was all very lovely. Just not properly spectacular.  Again, spit.

Anyway, here I am once again in Queenstown, star of New Zealand’s tourism sector, doing a first: winter. Yes, yes, people come here from all over the world to ski and soak in hot pools, and swan about in beanies and puffas - but not in my experience, which has always been in summer. Brown hills, swimming (er, not actually me - it’s still a mountain lake, you know, always 9 degrees), ice creams, all that. Gorgeous. 

Ever of the inquiring mind, and equally always looking for an angle to pitch, I decided it was time to round out my Queenstown experience - so here I am, just past the shortest day, here to get a taster of everything this chillier version has to offer. Bar skiing. That’s a chance I missed, back when I was fit and young, but also an impecunious student, and I’m not chancing my arm (more likely hip) at that now I’m so long in the tooth.

There is still active fun to be had, and I will be having some (heard of the Yooner? No? Then be sure to come back) - but today was about glorying in some beautiful snowy scenery. Classic drive up to Glenorchy at the top of the lake with perfect reflections, skeletal winter trees, slippery shaded patches on the road, and snow all over the place, adding a whole other dimension to this familiar but always spectacular bit of the country.

Finally - after giving up on finding a parking place in streets that were choked with traffic (on a Thursday!) - there was dinner at Flame Grill, the restaurant full of people chatting loudly in an unexpected variety of accents given, you know, Covid. Very international - plus the menu was heavily South African, focused on meat, of course. Yebo! Pretty good sustenance for a startlingly cold, but pretty,night. 


the queen said...

That image of the lake with the mountains in a perfect stair step of the seven shades of grey-blue is gorgeous. And what;s with the boat - is it in a lap pool? Does it rest on the granite in the middle and then you paddle on the edge?

TravelSkite said...

Thank you. It’s an obligatory Glenorchy shot. The dinghy floating is in the lake, beside the town. Pretty impressive that the water is so clear, eh/


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