Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> Otago, Southland, Fiordland (New Zealand)

Queenstown + Lake Dispute

the Remarkable Mountains at dusk
We got into Queenstown around 8.30pm and had a lot of trouble finding somewhere to stay. We started looking at Frankton, stopping the car and trying one or two places each, separately, but everything was full, cost too much, or had shut up for the night. We went out as far as Arthur's Point, where the motor camp had a room with no linen for $10 per person - but it was Valentines Day and we didn't feel like another night in sleeping bags. So after searching for more than an hour and a half, we went back to one of the hotels we'd looked at earlier and paid $140 for the night. That got us two double beds, a huge shower, and all the mod-cons.

I charged my batteries, cleaned the billy, etc. and we counted sandfly bites. Camilla's count approached 100 and mine must have been similar. She had scratched some bites on her foot raw and was taking anti-histamines to try to reduce itching, but I wasn't feeling it so bad, or was better at not scratching.

Saturday 15th February

The $140 for the hotel room included a buffet breakfast, so we gorged ourselves on sausages and eggs and bacon and cereal and fruit - they were slow bringing toast, but otherwise it was pretty good. We checked out and by 10 we were in the town centre. Not wanting a repeat of the previous night's search, the first thing we did was book a room in a Glenorchy pub for that night.

Then we did the tourist thing and wandered the extensive Queenstown shopping options. Camilla bought some earrings and a beanie at a market, a t-shirt from a shop, and a copy of Mushrooms and Other Fungi from the DOC office, and almost bought a sleeping bag from one of the many camping stores. I was tempted by one of the fancy liner bags, but restricted my purchases to the Earnslaw topo map. (There was no bookshop.)

In between the shopping we fed the ducks and the seagulls stale left-over bread and watched diving scaups. And I took nearly 20 photos of a cormorant, inching my way closer and closer taking photos as I went.

an aggressive common duck

feeding the birds

a little cormorant

a scaup - diving duck - underwater

We walked along lake front to YHA, but the hostels were full at both Mt Cook and Christchurch. So we walked back, found a phone booth and Camilla did the ring-around with the Lonely Planet guide, booking accommodation for the rest of the trip.

Eventually we got under way on the road to Glenorchy. We hadn't planned which of the short walks we wanted to do, but stopped at a likely looking road-side track sign and ended up walking up to Lake Dispute. This track is mostly open farm road, with farms on either side, and was rather hot. But the lake itself is pretty, nestled under the hills and sporting beds of reeds and a flock of paradise shelducks. (There's also fishing, apparently - a fisherman turned up as we were leaving.)

a farm in front of Lake Wakatipu

Lake Dispute

Mt Earnslaw above Lake Wakatipu

We had lunch by the side of the lake in what shade we could find. I tried to photograph bees on flowers without much luck. Then we walked back down to the car and continued alongside the lake to Glenorchy, stopping a few times to admire the views of the lake, the islands in it, and the mountains above it.

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