This was always going to be a quieter day with just a bit more than 170 km from Queenstown to Te Anau to be driven in preparation for our day trip to Milford Sound tomorrow.
Conversation last night had turned to a gift store, Vesta, that some of the women had discovered in their wandering about Queenstown yesterday. They were keen to revisit before leaving Queenstown but no amount of googling could turn up its opening hours. Majella determined that we could manage a late start, checking out and going into town at 10:00 am to accommodate whatever opening times it had. That would also afford an opportunity for a last view of the Queenstown waterfront and sampling the delights of its coffee shops.
In the light of morning she was not so sure about that so she and I set off at 8:30 am shortly after breakfast to walk into town and check the opening times in case she might be able to set an earlier departure time. Even that didn’t find opening times so we returned and waited until a little after 9:30 before checking out and driving to the store. We found a park nearby and found from a coffee cart in the front yard of Vesta that it opened at 10:00 am. With 15 minutes to go we headed to Vudu, where some had had coffee yesterday, for coffee and what took our fancy.
After coffee the shoppers were ready for Vesta. That took no more than 15 minutes and then we were ready to leave Queenstown.
The first part of the drive after leaving Queenstown ran alongside Lake Wakatipu and below the Remarkables. We passed Kingston at the end of the lake and headed off across sheep and cattle country. There were plenty of sheep to be seen, some shorn and others apparently waiting for that. For much of the drive the view was across farmland and toward mountains in the west where we could see occasional leftover patches of snow and the clouds that were expect to deliver rain later in the day.
About halfway from Queenstown to Te Anau we spotted the Five Rivers Cafe at a road junction where we needed to make a turn. Some of our travellers were in need of an opportunity to stretch their legs so we made an impromptu stop to check it out. Majella had not eaten at Vudu and decided to try the rhubarb, coconut, chocolate and custard muffin. Seeing her buying food, some of the group decided that it must be lunch time – it was near enough – and bought various items for lunch. Eventually we all had lunch and enjoyed the good food and attentive service. The cafe had served for many years as a service station for mechanical repairs but was bought and converted about 10 years ago. Judging by the crowd when we were there it is deservedly well patronised. How much art they sell we don’t know but they certainly had some interesting items on display.
From there we drove on to Te Anau. We went via Manapouri for the chance to see something different than what we will see when we drive out on Wednesday. We arrived at our accommodation in Te Anau shortly after 2:00 pm and checked in without difficulty.
After a short stop for tea or coffee we headed out to confirm the existence of Majella’s ‘R’ for Rodeo Drive for tomorrow’s photograph and a walk along the shore of the lake.
Then it was time for supermarket to collect supplies and back to Birchwood Cottages to prepare the evening meal. The women had found some pies in the supermarket and prepared those with mashed potatoes and peas – signs of homesickness setting in? Michael, Russell and Norma collected some apples from the trees in the grounds and prepared stewed apples to be eaten with some custard they bought. We washed all that down with some of the usual beverages.