Lord of the Rings

Trip Start Jun 09, 2003
Trip End Jun 02, 2007

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Thursday, October 21, 2004

Sorry but it did have to come up at some point and I have been in New Zealand for nine months now so it's about time. I drove from Queenstown up to Kinloch, a tiny little place (couldn't be called a village as there were only about 3 houses). Right on the edge of Lake Wakitipu it was probably the closest to paradise that I've found yet in New Zealand. I stayed in Kinloch Lodge which has been on the site for over 100 years. I had fantastic views out over the lake and to the mountains in the distance.

My first night I went for a walk out to Lake Sylvan. The thing that amazed me the most was how quiet it was. Not another soul for miles and just the sound of the many different types of birds. I sat by the lake, looking at the reflection of the huge mountains in the lake.

The following day I decided to walk up some of the Routeburn Track. The track was actually closed for the winter as there was still snow, but it was possible to do a day walk out to the second hut. As usual in New Zealand the scenery was spectacular. The Lord of the Rings had been filmed around this area and every time I rounded a corner I just expected to see a little gathering of hobbits. I didn't see any hobbits, but up just past the second hut I was lucky enough to experience an avalanche. Thankfully it was quite some distance from me and quite small. I just heard a roaring noise and looked up to see what looked like a waterfall pouring down off the side of the cliff above me. I realised it couldn't be water and that it was actually snow - very impressive.

Next day I got my new bike out and went for a cycle along the lakeside to a little place called Greenstone, not that it could be called a place, one farm and that was it. I sat by the lake for a while before beginning the uphill cycle back.

On Wednesday I decided I'd had enough walking and cycling and decided to take the car out for a drive up to Paradise. Paradise is the area where they filmed quite a large amount of Lord of the Rings. I drove along the bumpy round, having to pull in quite a lot to let cars pass in the opposite direction, all the while trying to take in the amazing scenery. At one point a car waved me over. I wound down my window and was amazed to see this estate car absolutely crammed full of people, there must've been about 10 people in the car. The driver explained to me that a group of american trampers' car had broken down and after a 4 day tramp they were all exhausted. Glenorchy, the nearest town was still about 30km away. I stopped to pick up 3 of the trampers and drove them back to Glenorchy. It was interesting to talk to them as they were doing my trip in reverse so they were quite keen to hear about all my adventures. Back at Kinloch I bumped into a scottish girl from Carluke who knows 2 of the girls I went to college with - small world!

Thursday I decided to put on my walking boots again and go for another walk. This time I climbed up Mount Albert. I was warned that it was a steep climb and boy was it steep, all 1300m of it. I eventually got above the tree line and the view over the lake was fantastic, unfortunately it was a bit cloudy so I couldn't see the Routeburn Valley. I was told if I got all the way to the top I would be able to see over into Paradise. It was a very steep climb over snow and scree so I decided that I wasn't brave enough to make it right to the top and headed back down.

That night I soaked my aching muscles in the hot tub that had the most amazing views ever, I'm heading back to Queenstown tomorrow, it's gonna be sad to leave (they've actually offered me a job here) but I've decided it's time to move on again.
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