Milford Sound Addendum
Regarding the Milford Sound cruise boat: the boat is designed to look like a coastal trading scow from NZ history. It has sails, though they didn’t do much for the effort. The chop on the Tasman Sea ran about 1 meter; they’d described strong winds at the narrowest part of the fjord, but we didn’t feel them outbound. On the other hand, we did feel them inbound.
Now we’ve finished breakfast and are about to start packing the car. Time to set off on the next leg to Queenstown.
Sat, September 15, 2001 21:50:50
We bid farewell to Te Anau about 10:30, after another marvelous breakfast of a family recipe for pancakes, home-baked bread, a brief stop at the grocery store for our picnic lunch, and petrol for the rental. Te Anau, as I said, isn’t large. Our first day, pulling in, a wonderful lady named M greeted us at the CalTex station where we gassed up for the trip to Milton. She was there on the way out too (no, I’m not surprised). It turns out the friendly and slightly tipsy Kiwi we met on the way home from dinner the first night is her brother.
For those who are interested, it’s a Nissan Primera, overdrive automatic transmission (I did decide not to force-learn shifting a manual with my left hand), and according to the tour package it’s supposed to be a 2 litre engine. For those of you who aren’t interested, skip the preceding paragraph.
At any rate, today’s personal pilgrimage included visiting two towns listed in the order of Herself’s father’s given names: Clyde and Kingston. We passed through Kingston on our way to Queenstown; recommended activity (vis-a-vis the tour booking agency, so far the only fumble) being a ride on the Kingston Flyer, a vintage steam locomotive railway. We may still get our ride, depending on when air service to the United States resume, since the Kingston Flyer operates from 1 October to 20 April every year.
Leaving Kingston, we drove along the shoreline of Lake Wakatipu, mountains to the left of us (Eyre Mountains, across the lake), mountains to the right of us (the Remarkables), and the road running quite literally at water’s edge. There is an interesting geological feature called The Devil’s Staircase running up into the Remarkables from the eastern shore of the lake.
Lake Wakatipu is a long, narrow, zig-zag shaped lake with Kingston at the southern end, and Queenstown on the north shore just west of the first bend in the lake. We checked into our B&B (The Dairy Guesthouse, B and S H hosts, 10 Isle Street, Queenstown, 64 3 442 5164 [they sold it in 2003 - The Dairy]), and then headed out of town again, east to Cromwell, there across the Clutha River (my apologies to my Kiwi friends if it isn’t the Clutha River, but it appears to be based on the map that I’ve got), turning south to Clyde. We ate our picnic lunch at a roadside pull-off by a hydro-electric station at the confluence of two rivers. Interesting, this area, as the Clutha runs through a quite steep gorge here, and the Roaring Meg bounces across several small waterfalls to join the Clutha.
There is a dam at Clyde, Clyde Dam in fact, and a very nice little town is Clyde. Herself and I decided that Clyde Kingston would like living in Clyde, since there is a nice golf course there, and it’s a long way to go on very windy, steep roads for Mary to go shopping.
We left Clyde just before sundown and drove through gathering dusk to full dark returning to Queenstown. This is the home-town of bungee jumping, if you’re interested (I’m not, but that’s a personal choice), and some very good skiing. We probably won’t do that either, as prices here are rather dear. Queenstown is also the loudest place we've been here in NZ. Much of that was contributed by tour busses, but also many of the shops stay open very late.
There are other things to do, though, and we’ll catch you up on those as soon as we’ve done them.
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