24hrs in Queenstown: some outdoors stuff, a look at Glenorchy & a wet NYE
Summer 12/13 roadie, day 5
We had a full day in Queenstown which also happened to be Dec 31st. The plan was tweaked a little to coincide this as we figured QTown would be a bit more interesting for New Year’s Eve than Manapouri where we needed to be the next day. Our 24 hours included a mishmash of things.
Queenstown Hill walk
This is a brilliant walk for the exercise and the views. I was keen to give the old lungs a blow out in the absence of much other training on this trip. Mike and I had walked this once before, but starting from lake level which made for a hard climb and it killed our legs for a couple of days after – not the best plan before starting a four day cycling holiday. Anyhoo…
This time I swapped Mike for some female company and the need to slog up residential streets was avoided by parking at the official start of the walk. It was a puffy climb, in part due to the nattering going on. At the top the views were clear – unfortunately though the outlook was grim for NYE plans later on.
This was the boys’ activity up on Coronet Peak and in Skippers Canyon. Mike came back smiling but nursing sore ribs which made us one apiece since I had hurt my wrist in slightly similar circumstances a month before. (Hardly stellar build-up for an event we’re doing in March.)
I went to Queenstown cemetery to visit a grave for a friend. Set at the base of Bob’s Peak, there’s a nice contrast between the tranquillity of this final resting place and the sounds of life being lived at the adjacent mini golf course.
Lunch in Glenorchy
After collecting one slightly-the-worse-for-wear Mike we shot out to Glenorchy. I hadn’t been there before and it was a chance to go take a peek and grab some lunch. The 46km drive from Queenstown to the top of Lake Wakatipu was nice though appetites were building and I guess expectations were low with what we’d find. Luckily Glenorchy was a bit more than I imagined and food wasn’t a problem.
Neither was lack of wind and with the added precipitation (presumably all on its way to Queenstown), it made our visit not a long one. We’ll come back another day as there’s more to see and do here; at least now I can visualise the place.
New Year’s Eve
In a couple of hours we were due at friends. We didn’t know the plan for NYE until we got to Queenstown, and, well, I would never have been able to guess. The night was to be spent on a 1970s styled party boat called The Luanda Experience – and in theory, out on Lake Wakatipu. However, by now the rain and wind had arrived which not only compounded the ‘what to wear’ dilemma, but started to make the plan of spending the night on the water a bit dubious.
Once on board I was glad I decided not to wear heels. With a capacity of 40 people this was a good size boat for a ‘do’ but none of the three interior levels were especially high. (Acknowledging this and in the spirit of good fun, there’s an offer for women over 6 foot to sail for free on their daytime cruise!* Hannah, should you read this, we’ll have to pop back down!)
*Also, curiously, blokes under 5 foot.
We checked out the boat (excellent fit-out and sound system – groovy baby yeah!) and settled in with drinks and nibbles while the other party-goers arrived, watching the weather get progressively worse. It became obvious that a cruise was going to be a highly dodgy undertaking – the rock and roll of the boat where it was docked was enough sensation for me. And so we were the party cruise that wasn’t. The boat was located just across from the waterfront area where the public NYE event was held so we had plenty to observe while staying fed and watered onboard.
There were rumours the midnight fireworks had been cancelled but as something of a reward for all the punters who stuck out the cold and miserable night, the weather did calm down enough for the display to proceed.
It was about 1am before we left the boat and another hour before Mike and I made it back to our lodge. In about five hours we had to be on the road – ug!!