Day 12: Arrowtown

Words by Andy | Photos by Chris

Day 12: Arrowtown

We woke up to sunshine this morning, and as we headed to the car to grab some breakfast, we were greeted by snow cover on the peaks of the mountains behind our serviced apartments. It’s easy to see why Queenstown is such a popular tourist spot. A wander through the main street offers any number of thrill-seeking adventures, whether you want to jump from a plane, jump form a bridge, go for a chopper ride or speed up and down a river, it’s all here for the offering.

The beautiful Lake Wakatipu is surrounded by mountains, with all kinds of accommodation nestled into the steep foothills. Parking is difficult, with most cars circling the main town centre at least once. Having done one lap, I turned up a side street and chanced upon a 1-hour parking space. We trudged most of the town by foot only to discover if we’d gone an extra couple of blocks we would have found some dining options. There was one near where we had parked, so a quick bite there did the trick.

Ten minutes in the opposite direction from where we’re staying is a little town called Arrowtown. It was settled in the 1860’s as a gold-mining town and a good number of the original buildings are still standing, in good repair and in use. Walking through the shop-lined streets feels like a cross between South Australia’s Hahndorf and The Rocks in Sydney. The mountainside directly behind the town is awash with autumn colours, its face completely covered in sycamore trees that have self-sown there over the last century and a half, taking over the native bushland. Despite its invasiveness, it’s only considered a pest in the Dunedin area. It certainly adds to the European feel of this part of New Zealand where poplars also line roadways and paddocks.

After a good wander through town, a spot of shopping and some lunch we took ourselves for a drive towards The Remarkables Ski Field. The mountain is closed, for obvious reasons, but the view of the mountains there and across the other side of the lake from the base car park is pretty stunning. How often can you say that about a car park? From there, we swung left and coasted along the scenic drive, which sweeps past Jack’s Point. At first glance, looks like a golf resort, which it is, but just beyond the manicured roadways and holiday accommodation is Lake Tewa.

Craggy mountains form the backdrop to this pristine body of water, some of their jagged edges dusted in snow. Everywhere you look in this part of the world is another paradisal scene, and unlike home, the critters aren’t out to kill you… although we have suspicions about those kea. Pebbled beaches with crystal blue water lapping at its edges was our reward for venturing just that little bit further past the growing resort.

We ate at a local Italian restaurant tonight, Giovi’s Fine Food. The pasta is made fresh on site and is delicious. I left kind of wishing I could tolerate dessert at the moment, but the teaspoon taster of Chris’s blueberry almond cake and its buttery goodness was pretty satisfying.

Tomorrow we sail Milford Sound!

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