My time in Queenstown New Zealand is over. I am heading towards Fox Glacier for the night.
Of course I wake up super early. I prepare my coffee and yogurt but today I am watching a very noisy helicopter off in the distance drop wood or pick up wood along the hillside; the task isn’t clear, the only thing that is clear is that it is waking other campers. I get my groceries from the camp fridge, straighten and clean my van and get on the road by 9 am.
It is a very scenic drive out of town so I have to stop. I read about how invasive pines have taken over the area so they are in the process of killing them off. The pines are beautiful but suck the life out of the native vegetation.
My next stop is at the famous Wanaka tree. This lone willow tree is a very popular photography stop for travelers in the area. I am shocked to have learned just two months after my visit someone cut off the bottom limbs.
I continue on my drive and keep finding spots to stop for scenic views. I see beautiful lakes along the way.
My next scheduled stop is at the Blue Pools to see the beautiful cold pools of water filled from clear melted glacier water.
A visit to the blue pools can be as short or long as you like. It is a about a 30 minute roundtrip hike from the car park down a nice trail.
I reach a suspension bridge that starts to give views of the river or stream below.
I notice people swimming in the water. It looks refreshing. This is one of the times I hate being a solo traveler. I have no one to trust to leave my belongings with to explore the water.
I walk down to a beach area and take my boots off and soak my feet in the cold water for a bit. It is very cold but I love it. I sit and listen to the water flow as I soak. It is so peaceful and relaxing. I eat a snack but I could stay here all day or even just long enough for a picnic lunch.
I walk back to my car and head toward my final destination for the day.
Everything on my drive is beautiful: Water, rocks and mountain views. Water is blue and clear from melting glacial snow.
Will I ever find a gas station?
I start to discover that my USA credit cards are not compatible with all gas stations in New Zealand. For 75% of the time I am unable to pay at the pump while in this country; only a time or two is there an actual attendant to process a credit card manually inside. I start to find myself with worry that I won’t be able to find an accessible gas station when I really need too. The towns get smaller and smaller along my route. I start to stop at gas stations even when I am not in need of gas to fill up just in case the next one cannot take my purchase.
Will I ever arrive at my destination?
I am so tired of driving. This drive is supposed to be a 4 hour drive but it is now 6 hours. My anxiousness in getting to my next location doesn’t stop me from checking out this salmon farm I see on the way. They are getting ready to close but I pick up some smoked salmon to snack on.
I finally make it to my lodging. I am actually staying in a motel for the night. Living in luxury with my own little kitchen at the Rainforest Motel.
I have cable tv and working wifi. This is great. But I don’t stay in my room too long because I want to go checkout the sunset views of Lake Matheson and Mount Cook.
Lake Matheson / Te Ara Kairaumati Walk
Once arriving at the car park there is a nice trail that takes you 2.6 km in a loop around Lake Matheson.
Crossing a little bridge to get to the trail.
The trail is nice and peaceful. Still looking for kiwis but having no luck again.
Look at this beautiful green pathway! (Sorry about vertical mode).
After doing a bit of walking around I find the spots where the sun hits the mountain tops just right to reflect in the lake below.
I sit around a bit and watch the sky change then I walk back to the car park. Still great views on the way out. But no kiwis!
Not doing an all out glacier walk this trip even though I am really close. It seemed very complicated for a short stop. For now I am just viewing the glaciers from a distance. Another one added to my list for when I return someday.