(Location: Franz Joseph to Queenstown, New Zealand)
Day 8: Glacier Hike and Queenstown
It was raining when we went to sleep, but blue skies and glacier views when we woke up in the morning. It was warm, sunny, and empty when we started the walk to the viewpoint, and clouding up, cooler, and crowded an hour and a half later. The drive from Franz Joseph to Queenstown is one of the most scenic that I can remember. Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea reminded us of Switzerland or the Canadian Rockies – unbelievably gorgeous. Past Wanaka, there was a fork in the road, and Queenstown was shown on both signs… hmm… We now realise that there is a highway route, and an absolutely crazy switchback road route. Yeah – we wound up on the switchback road route. Andy did a great job driving (remember, the steering wheel is on the right, and you drive on the left), and the views coming into Queenstown made it worth it. We’d pre-reserved a holiday park that was walking distance to town (and it turns out that the park was completely booked, so good to plan ahead). As soon as we arrived, I dashed to the communal kitchen to put our store-bought lasagna in the oven. It is a good thing that I did – this place was cut-throat ! When I went back to check on it 20 minutes later there was a line of people waiting for burners. I was (pleasantly) surprised how the sites can be so quiet when the holiday parks are full. We will definitely be back to Queenstown – there is so much to do and see here (and further south), especially when its a little warmer.
Next stop: Lake Tekapo