Day 24: Passing Paradise to Te Anau

Wow. Even after such a short amount of time, Kinloch has really grown on me. Surrounded by majestic mountain ranges and lying directly opposite to Glenorchy on the banks of Lake Wakatipu, it is utterly quiet and peaceful.
There are loads of outdoor activities to do, and the surroundings are beautiful. Stunning views everywhere!
Yes, it does rain quite a lot, and no, apart from the lodge there is nothing else, but the location is simply awesome.

After some muesli this morning, we are off heading towards Te Anau. This means we have to drive the dirt road back towards Glenorchy, passing Paradise and driving the full hour to Queenstown. That is also when we reach civilisation, the other places I mentioned are tiny by all standards.
From there, Te Anau is just a few hours away, and mostly an easy drive.

We encountered no rain at all on the trip, and have had a wonderful time driving through the lovely New Zealand South Island scenery.
Arriving at Te Anau, which lies on the shore of Lake Te Anau, we booked a tour to the Te Anau Glowworm Caves.
Being quite a tourist attraction, it is just one of those things you have to do, and even though it is insanely overpriced, the experience is quite nice, as is the boat ride to the caves themselves. The pamphlet speaks of a ‘scenic tour of Lake Te Anau’, but it is more of a ferry or shuttle than anything else.

We did find a very good Italian place over here, and we’ve both had some great fresh pasta. Go check out Da’ Toni whenever you’re around!

Day 23: Tramping in trampers paradise

When in Rome, act like the romans. Or so they say. And so we did.

With this part of the country being considered to be perfect for taking a walk, it should be foolish of us not going for said walk.
There are quite a few tracks out here, of which Routeburn, Greenstone and Caples are the most well known. These are long tracks, ranging from 2 to 4 full days of walking and with lengths of up to 100km. That is really lovely, but not for us.
We only have one day, so we chose to walk the Lake Rere Loop.

In order to get to the track we need to get in the car outside of the lodge and drive to the right. That road is unsealed and less maintained. It is 12km long and has 3 (actually 4) places where a small river crosses the road. Crosses over the road. These are called fords, and driving through those is only recommended for 4×4’s.
We asked around a little and found out that we should be fine, even though out little rental car is tiny by any NZ standard.
As long as the weather stayed dry, everything would be golden!

The track around Lake Rere is truly wonderful with views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains around every corner. Only an hour in, the drizzle started and got worse to just full on rain right around the time we reached Lake Rere. That is when we had the choice: go back 2 hours or go on for another 3. We decided 2 would be better than 3, and turned around.

Yes, we got really wet. Again. Not all equipment like last time though, but shoes, socks and pant all had to be dried. Most unfortunate, the views also went away as quickly as the clouds rolled in: at a certain point we couldn’t see the coast of the lake anymore…

A few hours after this bad weather, it all cleared and we are now (8pm) looking at blue skies dotted with a few white clouds and mostly sunshine. I guess that is the way things go around here!

Tomorrow we are leaving early for Te Anau as there are lots and lots of activities over there. It should take us 4 hours. Let’s hope we don’t bring the rains with us!

Day 22: Back on track

Geraldine has been nice to us!
A lovely breakfast with muesli and pancakes, together with sunshine and blue skies: one could easily forget we are firmly off course.
Yet we are still. We needed to cover about 400kms today to get to Glenorchy, instead of the 160 it would have been if we slept in Wanaka where we should have been.

This detour is now 450kms extra over the 290 it should have been. Together with the distances to and from the Haast Pass we drove 700 kms extra thus totalling 1150kms in just two days.
But, those were 1150kms of wonderful scenery and we even got sunshine and blue skies in the latter part!

The original trajectory was Fox Glacier -> Haast -> Wanaka -> Cromwell -> Glenorchy
We did Fox Glacier -> Haast -> Fox Glacier -> Hokitika -> Arthur’s Pass -> Mt Hutt -> Geraldine -> Twizel -> Tarras -> Glenorchy
All that because the Haast Pass was closed. I didn’t dare to check it today. 😉

We are in a little settlement called Kinloch which is on the other side of Lake Wakatipa opposite to Glenorchy. It takes 30 minutes to get here via really small roads and the final 10km is dirt road. The settlement has 4 houses, of which one is the Lodge we are staying in. There is no shop, no gas, no nothing. 3 other houses and the lodge.
And a boat ramp.
It is really out there!

If the weather stays fine, we’ll be out for a walk, as the girl who checked us in described the land over here as ‘hikers heaven’. The views are stunning everywhere you look, and there is not a soul in sight.
Let’s hope for some more sunshine!