This day was always going to be about driving. We needed to move from Franz Josef to Queenstown, a bit more than 350 km which would take 4.5 to 5 hours of driving in the van plus time for stops. It finished up taking us a bit more than 8 hours with sightseeing along the way.
Michael, Maria, Majella and I had our breakfast at JAG and then packed ourselves into the van and headed to Bella Vista to collect the others. We were there well before 8:00 am so the whole party were packed into the van and on the road by 8:00 am.
We headed south toward Haast, enjoying the drive through the rainforest and along the coast . We stopped at Haast for coffee at the Fantail Cafe and Majella picked up her ‘O’ photo at Opuka Place while I ordered our coffee.
From there we drove east over the Haast Pass and then south toward Wanaka. We stopped once going over the pass for photographs of a rocky stream but otherwise pressed on until we reached Lake Wanaka and followed it until the road crossed the ridge to Lake Hawea. We stopped there for photos and then again a little further along Lake Hawea where there were views across the water to mountains.
At Wanaka we stopped for lunch at Puzzling World. Those who had not seen the toilets before were taken aback, wondering what had happened when they went in through gender specific doors and emerged in a common space before entering separate facilities. Most of us had little success with the puzzles, though Warwick and Michael did, and there were some interesting photos of a falling tower.
From Wanaka our GPS took us via the Cardrona Valley where we were surprised to find the Bra Fence. It came as a complete surprise to us and we had to Google for information. It has an interesting history that is well worth checking on Wikipedia.
Just before we reached the junction with the main road into Queenstown somebody turned up some information about Arrowtown, an historic gold mining town, and we had to make the deviation to check it out. It took a while for Majella to realise that we had visited there with Pat and Laura Ryan on our 2007-08 trip but she did eventually recognise the streetscape. We spent an hour or so wandering the streets.
A good part of that time seemed to be occupied with a quilting shop that the women spotted.
Our track into Queenstown passed by the Shotover Jet base so we spent some time there watching boats zoom up and down the river. None of us were tempted to take the ride. We’d either done it or something very similar or were not interested.
We made it to Queenstown a little before 5:00 pm, checked into our accommodation at Turner Heights Townhouses, did some essential shopping, attended Mass, and shared a simple dinner of chicken, bread and salad, with wine and spectacular views across the lake.