As we continued our circuit of the South Island of New Zealand, we had to follow the highway inland to Queenstown. We had planned to stay a couple of days there—really. On my previous visit, Gabrielle and I enjoyed a "Lord of the Rings" tour, a Maori performance and a ride on the gondola for superb views. The drive in along Lake Wakatipa on the way to Queenstown is gorgeous. However, traffic in Queenstown on a weekend was horrific and the streets narrow and lined with businesses working to entice you to try their brand of adventure. As soon as we could find a way to turn around, we got out of town.
Arrow town, just north of there, wasn't any better. Known for its historic gold mining area, campervans were not allowed in the city parking lot. We managed to get through the narrow downtown street back out to the highway. Whew! We like the countryside over cities any day.
We decided Wanaka would be our next stop. Much less busy than Queenstown, you can do pretty much all the daring activities like jet boating and bungie jumping as you can in Queenstown. The lake there is gorgeous too.
Before leaving we visited Puzzling World. This is a fun place to go to experience illusions and how easy it is to deceive our brains. The tilting room was weird—to stay upright you had to lean way forward and it looked like water was flowing uphill! And in one room, if you watched people enter in one door, they looked tiny; in the other they looked like giants.
We had picked up Hwy 6 after we left Te Anau and we would follow that over to and up the West Coast. From Wanaka, 6 follows Lake Wanaka and its river, climbs up and over Haast Pass and then follows the Haast River to the sea and the town of Haast. So many roads are narrow, windy two-lane roads and much of Hwy 6 is like that. It seems the legal speed limit is 100 km/hr on highways but if you see a sign warning you to slow down, do—especially in a campervan! We began getting off and on sprinkles of rain after a stop in Makora for coffee—a precursor of weather to come all along the West Coast, which is a temperate rainforest.
Blue Pools and Fantail Falls
Along the highway we stopped for a couple of short walks. One was to the Blue Pools at the confluence Makatona and Blue Rivers. They were absolutely clear. You could see large brown trout swimming below the bridge where we stood. We also stopped at Fantail Falls. Dozens of stacks of River rocks decorated the stream bed across from it. We each added a couple to a stack.
A long day's drive took us to Haast. Next entry will be Haast and traveling up the West Coast. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak