It was time to break camp at Omarama and head off into the rat-race. Well, rat-race for the South Island anyway; that love it or hate it town, a town that is full of young people and adrenaline and runs on a high all year round, a town located in the most stunning and beautiful location. That town, Queenstown.
We had Christmas shopping to do and chores to complete before we headed to Mavora Lakes for a month and Queenstown is the only town on the way (I don't count Cromwell, you can't do any decent retail therapy there). Actually, Queenstown isn't that bad, it's just a full-on town overflowing with tourists and campervans and once one has visited it, the next visits are always done at high-speed so you can get out of there, or through there, as fast as possible (so don't ask why we're heading there again in a few days time!)
Anyway, we headed off over the Lindis Pass which, surprise, surprise, was lined with more lupins.
Approaching the summit and I think this is the first time we've come through when there's been no snow.
It would have been nice to have found a few places to stop to so I could take some more lupin photos (really?) but with 'Out There' on the back, a steady traffic flow of traffic (even though you can't see any vehicles in my photos- that's good timing) and a reluctant driver, I had to be content with shooting out the front window.
We had trouble with a hire campervan in the Pass, the driver kept wanting to stop (in the middle of the road) to take photo of the flowers. There was nowhere to pull over, so he thought he'd just stop and click. He got the short shift from us at one stage but then did it again and again, hesitating whenever he spotted a small area he thought he might be able to pull into. In the end he got a big shift from a large truck that had to slam on it's brakes. For the rest of journey, and at a snails pace, he had a long line of vehicles trailing behind him and many frustrated motorists.
We even saw a small rental car parked (no people about) at the top of a slow-vehicle lane, actually in the lane itself with a truck fast approaching from behind, he had to take evasive action to avoid the rear end. We then spotted the people, back down the hill taking photos of a bridge and creek surrounded by lupins. It's no wonder there are so many accidents around tourist hot-spots.
I love the landscape through the Pass, it's not unlike the Crown Range, with scree slopes and rust coloured tussocks covering the mountains.
The lupins were spectacular alongside the road and tucked up the waterways or where there was any hint of moisture, probably more so than that back around Twizel and Tekapo. Although, that might have been because they had only just started flowering when we were back there.
They were especially thick through the Lindis Valley beside the river.
Lindis Valley farmland, I'd love to see these willows during autumn.
Advertising from the paddock! It's great to see these Icebreaker signs on many of the sheep stations in the high country. It does make you think about where your thermals come from. Just wish they weren't so expensive though.
The Queenstown/Lakes Council is pretty strict with its freedom camping policy and readily enforces it with $200 fines and clamping of vehicles caught camping in non-designated areas. Which is good, even though it is a pain for us as most of the designated sites are too small for our rig. Plus we actually don't like parking in marked out carparks or areas that you have to vacate by 8am. We prefer to stay in a holiday park just for the convenience; to have our own site, be able to do our laundry, hooked up to the grid, and be handy to the shops; we can get our town chores done without too many worries.
Even if it does mean sharing the park with dozens of hire vans! Here we are at the Shotover Top10 Holiday Park at Arthurs Point.
My camera stayed in its bag most of the time we were in Queenstown, (I know, hard to believe) but I did take these two below with my smartphone-
Queenstown's 'Piano Man'- Mathias Lefenbvre, a Belgian who became world famous when a photo of him and a little girl won a National Geographic Travel Photo award.
And the world famous hamburger restaurant, Fergburger which serves gourmet 'as-big-as-your-head' burgers. It also has a queue of customers out through the doors and along the footpath at all hours of the day and night. So many people have approached the owner wanting to franchise Fergburger but he refuses to let go the reins (and the quality); he has a license to print money and he's quite happy with what he's got. He has also added a bakery and an icecream shop, but it's the burgers that attract the punters.