The drive to Glenorchy from Queenstown-can you see some Scottish here?-was along Lake Wakatipu on a very narrow and winding road. This is my first full day of driving here in NZ, driving only from the airport to our apartment (stay to the left!) yesterday. The road seems very narrow and on the left side is the lakeside. AND it drops right down into the lake off the road. So far there are white lines to help me stay on the road. Stay to the left but not TOO FAR!
Known as the Gateway to Paradise as it is the end of Lake Waikaptu and the beginning of many hiking trails. You cannot drive over the mountains that surround the village, but you can hike over them. It is also a dead-end road so we will have to retrace our drive to our next destination.
Glenorchy is a quaint little town where the local bakery serves pizza only on Saturday nights and the fast jet boats spin in the lake. I wondered how people came to live here in this remote area. The original inhabitants brought sheep for grazing and later gold was discovered, giving a boost to the town. At the turn of the century camping and hiking brought tourists in and there were four hotels. The only remaining commercial passenger-carrying coal-fired steamship in the southern hemisphere today, the SS Earnslaw steamer, visited weekly and had a cruising speed of 13 knots and could carry 1035 passengers, 1500 sheep, seventy head of cattle, or 200 bales of wool. She occasionally carried cars or buses. The Lady of the Lake, as she was known, took two hours to steam her way to Glenorchy three times a week, creating excitement on boat days with the unloading of passengers, goods, and fresh food. Today the area is an historic conservation estate. I have a picture of the steamboat in the Queenstown post.
After a 5 minute walk around town and a visit to a store that had some unique items, we walked out to the lake. As we walked out on a sandbar, we saw two black and white crane-looking birds take off and wondered what they were. We did not get a close look and they were quite lovely. It was rather busy on the sandbar as there were many people meandering about, but it was still very peaceful. Until the jet boats came flying around a corner, kicking up a huge stream of water behind them. We later found out that they race them on the lake.
We stayed at the Glenorchy Peaks B&B and it was along the road at the base of the mountains. It was an addition added to a small house just for this purpose, creating three separate rooms. They had a fridge, a small deck a table for 2, and a grill and a larger deck for use. It was very well done and they had a few horses to make friends with!
There is a nice walking trail in Glenorchy called the 150th Centenary Walkway where we wandered around a small preserve taking shots of black swans and some ducks. I had hoped to find some black and white heron-like birds that we saw take off earlier, but none to be found. The black swans were quite elegant and it was fun to try out my new lens and capture them enjoying their surroundings. I think I took too many pictures but I liked these two.
We will be in Glenorchy for a couple of days and we look forward to discovering what is here.