Queenstown (iii): Glenorchy

On our second morning in Queenstown we woke up to clearer skies and no rain! Hurrah! And I decided it was time for another swim in the lake (Lake Wakatipu). Since it was literally on our doorstop. It’d be rude not to, right? This was where I swam, and the view:

I thought of this swim as a kind of prayer for my fellow breast cancer survivor friend Sharon, whose husband tragically died suddenly recently, and for their children. I’m drafting this post on the day of his funeral. Sharon is one person who has really encouraged me in cold water swimming, especially at our cancer swims at the outdoor pool in Hathersage not far from where I live. It was poignant to be swimming in such a beautiful place. Sharon and her whole family are great at living life to the full, so it seemed a fitting tribute.

Afterwards, I hot footed it back up the hill to the apartment (taking all of 5 minutes) and jumped in the warm shower. Lovely!

After breakfast, we drove along the lake up to Glenorchy. We were met by awesome view after awesome view…

You can hear a lovely Chinese guy educating me all about the sunlight in this video. I fear I was not fully concentrating on what he was trying to tell me. Being dumbfounded by the scale of the view, watching that paraglider. “Would paragliding here be terrifying or just gobsmackingky amazing?” I wondered. The Chinese guy told me later that he’d saved up all his holidays from work to be able to come back here and sky dive, but so far the weather was letting him down. He was hoping for an opportunity in Glenorchy though. “Good on you,” I said, thinking “There’s another thing I’m never going to do!”

Here’s Ken’s latte bowl, he managed to persuade the café staff to make, as a break between all the awe inspiring mountains. Then I’ll just post up more views. A picture tells a thousand words after all.

A bit of yoga to greet the awesome mountains. I wish I knew the moves. I might’ve joined in. It seemed appropriate.

These pictures 👇🏼 are of the end of the Routeburn track, which my Dad walked when he and Mum were over here quite a few years ago:

For scale, see if you can spot Tash in the distance:

From the Routeburn track end, we made our way back along this stunning route to Queenstown again. All the pictures of water are of Lake Wakatipu, which extends a long way in several directions (in a kind of Harry Potter lightning bolt scar shape on a grand scale).

To get some sort of concept of scale, see if you can spot my cousin Stu 👆🏼. He’s unusually tall at about 2m 6cm (6 foot 9 inches), by the way. And yet… where is he???

And then we went up Coronet Peak to the snow line (in the car) and on to Arrowtown, and the settlement where the Chinese gold miners lived back in the mid 1800s.

View from Coronet Peak:

A magnificent magnolia tree:

Imagine living in the snowy winter in these tiny one room stone huts. It was a hard life. And not always particularly fruitful, although most of the Chinese men who lived it managed one way or another to make some money to send back home.

On the way back to our apartment, we finally saw the “Remarkables” and the mountains opposite the apartment in something like all their glory:

Evening in Queenstown:

Another magnificent magnolia tree in the Queenstown Gardens, which were 5 minutes’ walk from where we were staying. Magnolia always reminds me of my friend and colleague Diane, who loved it. I salute you, Diane, and pray for your family, friends and all whose lives were touched by yours, which burned very brightly, though for too short a time. 🙏

We enjoyed the comforts of a meal in the Irish pub, and watched the sun go down. And then popped to the famous Patagonia Chocolatier’s for a posh ice cream on the way home.

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