Much of the rest our trip after Queenstown was just winging it. Mind you, there had been a fair bit of that all along the way, but now we didn’t have much of a travel guide to follow.
We had been told that we should visit Arrowtown, not far from Queenstown, which was an old goldmining town.
I found a patchwork shop, so of course I had to go in for a little look see.
It was a lovely place and I brought home a bookmark kit and a few Kiwiana batik fat quarters.
After wandering the main street we set out to the Chinese Settlement, which was really interesting.
The building below was the local Chinese store. It was more than just a store, it was where gold was sold, there was accommodation in the loft and it was a social meeting place.
The houses were very humble. Most of the Chinese were peasant farmers looking to make their fortune.
Most returned to China, but a few stayed on in this community.
As in most western societies, they weren’t really accepted and New Zealand has since made an official apology for the way they were treated.
The small huts on the cliff were for storage. There were extensive market gardens in this area, which were their source of income after the gold rush.
I loved this door handle.
The general streetscape of Arrowtown was rather cute and with large, shady plane trees overhead.
Time to keep moving. Along the way, you glean little snippets of advice of where to travel and what is the scenic route. One that was mentioned to us was to go over the “Crown Ridge Road” from Arrowtown to Wanaka. We are glad we did. It was a rather steep and windy climb. Yes, that is the road we came up. It was plenty wide enough and had a good surface.
It was no trouble as long as you took it steady and followed the speed indicators.
Of course, there was a lookout at the top and what a view. Everyone taking turns taking photos of each other.
Wanaka is, funnily enough, located on a lake, Lake Wanaka. We had a very pleasant time sitting here eating our picnic lunch.
By the way, don’t complain about the price of petrol in Australia. The NZ dollar and the Aussie dollar are about the same at the moment. We enquired as to the cheap deisel price. They apparently have to pay a levy of $800 after they travel 10,000kms, so it doesn’t work out that cheap after all. It sounds rather cumbersome to us, easier to build it into the price at the bowser.
A Kiwi trademark seems to be these plastic letterboxes. We first saw them on rural properties, but, as you can see they are used in suburbia as well. They come in all sorts of colours, but blue and yellow or black and red are rather popular, to show your allegiance to your favourite rugby union team.
After Wanaka we soon came across Lake Hawea and travelled beside it for quite a while. It runs parallel to Lake Wanaka and they are divided by a very narrow piece of land.
After we left Lake Wanaka behind us it was just driving through forest following the Haast Pass, or so we thought, that is until we saw the sign to Fantail Falls.
Once we left the car park and came out onto the river bank we were greeted with this spectacle. The whole area was covered in flat rocks, which everyone was having fun making into little towers.
Of course Mick had to join in, but be a little left or centre.
He decided to prop up a stick and build his tower on that, as you do.
Then he made a smiley face.
Oh, yeah, there was even a water fall, although the stones were what were more interesting to the visitors.
OK, best be on our way. What we thought would be a relatively boring drive turned out to be anything but. On our first night in NZ, the lady in the motel said that on the South Island you will have a change of scenery every half hour. She wasn’t far wrong. We ended up following the Haast River. On the map there was a name “Gates of Haast” marked at one spot. This is it.
We were able to park and walk down under the bridge.
The water fairly roars through here.
Thunder Falls was the next thing to stop and had a look at. It was a nice walk in.
And worth the walk.
A nice walk out too.
Yes, more snow in the distance, just to remind us how high those mountains are.
And finally we arrived at our destination, Haast, which is a very small community near the west coast and nice and peaceful after Queenstown.
We had dinner at the local pub, which is the local mecca of hunters, with lots of trophies on the walls, after all, it is called the Hard Antler.
Even the beer taps were antlers.
This one wasn’t a trophy, it was very much alive in the tree. It is a wood pigeon and they are the largest pigeon variety in the world. We saw a few and I think they are a lovely bird. You can’t see it well in this photo, as it was on dusk, but the dark patches are a rich iridescent green.
I thought some of this day would be a tad boring, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the South Island just can’t help being spectacular and the perfect weather for travelling only added to it.