. This trip has taught me that the words I use in day-to-day life aren’t used correctly. The view here IS Awesome, Breathtaking and Incredible… the Latte in Starbucks most certainly isn’t! The lake at the first stop is so crystal clear the beautiful blue sky that we are so lucky to have today is mirrored back in perfect clarity. Wow this place is so amazing. Just layers of the most fantastic scenery… but it’s all together! How is this possible? We stopped in Gelnorchy village, which is surprisingly populated, for a quick coffee. Just before we stopped, we saw a roadsign to ‘Paradise’… we asked the waitress in the café what Paradise was like. She told us it was ‘Pretty, but there’s nothing there’… Perfect, we thought. We drove down to the pier for a few photographs down the lake. We’re so lucky, the weather is perfect. The sun is glittering of the soft peakes of water in a perfect line. The one thing we can’t really get over is, there’s no one on the lake! No boats, no people. Stunning. We set off to ’Paradise’ driving through Mount Aspiring National Park. After we crossed a wee bridge, we stopped and HAD to take a photo of the roadsign, which pretty much said the road is so bad you shouldn’t drive along it! Our eyes had been so preoccupied by the lake to our Left, that we hadn’t noticed the huge rock face that suddenly appeared like Tana Mahuta through the trees. We saw small waterfalls coming off the rock face, plants clinging from small jagged shelves. The lake to the Left was now so perfect that the mirror was perfect. Before long, we came across Diamond Lake. Just us, and another car with one guy in. 5 people in awe of their surroundings. The trees behind the lake are really spindly, the setting is just so dramatic from every angle. There was a funny, wee bench on the edge of the forest with a burnt out campfire below. A charred recipe book lay in pieces, visible was a recipe for ’Mushroom torte’… yum
! Alas, it seems my camera fails me yet again. I’m investing in a new one before I depart around the world again. We kept on driving and after a while a house, that can only be described as a ‘Colonial family farm house’ appeared, bold as brass in this remoter than remote area. We continued after a while and saw a sign in the split of the road saying ‘Paradise Trust’… so kept driving. We drove for ages, through Fords. Firstly, shallow and manageable. But they soon became allot deeper, and car-sassy-scratchingly painful. So Helen, Mam and I crossed by our own means whilst guiding Jenny through the best route. We counted at least 5 Fords. They really did get so bad, we decided to abandon the car and continue on foot to the end of the track and Chinaman’s Bluff. This seemed achievable, until we actually tried to do it! The rocks were so sparse it was impossible to cross, but naturally, the two country girls Helen and Nia braved it. Forging a causeway for Mam and Jenny to follow… they weren’t impressed so we figured we’d tried hard enough and turned back. This was much harder and caused us both to get a bit wet! On the drive back, we had learnt our lesson and all, bar driver, jumped out on approach to the fords. On the third one, I couldn’t for the life of me remember how we crossed. Just at that point when we must have looked so ‘Damsel in distress’… a blue yute pulled up and a very cute farmer asked us to hop in
! Jenny pulled off and so we followed giggling, as 3 12 year old girls do, listening to his god-awful rap music. He did however tell us that we had driven past ‘Paradise’ and that it was the valley by the house. When Jenny found a good place to stop, he let us out… not before scaring her first into thinking we were being kidnapped and spinning off past her! Cheeky kiwi. When filling in Jenny, she thought he might be a good-type, especially after we figured he lived in the beautiful colonial house. But after we figured he was the type to steal rock and listen to poor rap music, it was a no-sale! Ha ha. We’ve had so much fun today. Random and totally unpredictable. This is my new favourite way to tour, just go up a road that looks interesting… always asking ‘I wonder where that goes’ and then finding out, is an incredible way to see the world! On the way back we pulled over in Glenorchy for a bowl of soup and a lesson in Chai tea. The sun is setting as we approach Queenstown, the scenery is incredibly different to this morning. This hills are dark silhouettes of this morning’s patchwork bush and grass, offset against the setting sun and light blue sky. The lake is now so dark it looks hazily-murky, but still beautiful. We’re staying in tonight, all crazily tired after a lungful of the freshest air in the world.
Today we all slept in! YES! First time in 32 days and I slept until 9:30. Heaven. Now that the sun is out, I can see a completely different version of Queenstown to the sparkling lights last night and distant sound of voices. The campsite looks really different too, we’ve discovered our covered kitchen area outside. It’s so sweet. The guy who owns (I assume) the site is a retired-plumber who has recycled all the old parts and made a display into the wall of the kitchen. It has an old hearth that has been converted to be able to take bbq’s also. Today Jenny is driving us up to Glenorchy, just outside of Queenstown. We drive through the edge of Queenstown, it’s like a warren of shops, restaurants and café’s in the daylight. We stopped by a bowling green due to the long cloud that sat just over it, it was fantastic! The drive up os so pretty we had to stop a few times. This scenery is doing exactly the same to me as yesterday, just literally breathtaking