We had reserved our final day in Queenstown for a trip to the top of the lake to the little town of Glenorchy.
On the previous night, we had another spectacular sunset and I was able to take a relatively decent night photo of Queenstown.
We had a leisurely start and left Queenstown at about 10.00 am. It’s about 55 km along the lake shore and a nice was drive. There seemed to be a lot of traffic on the road and when we reached Glenorchy, we found out the reason. Today was the date for the Glenorchy annual race meeting. This caused the town’s population to grow from its normal 300 people to over 3000. We didn’t actually go to the races, but had a very nice lunch at the Trip Advisor recommended Glenorchy Cafe. A family of tourists from Townsville told us that one of the highlights was a white horse painted with black stripes to look like a zebra. Giving full credit to the ingenuity of the locals, we thought that this event was just a little too much for the grandchildren.
Glenorchy is a popular tourist spot, close to many of the Great Walk hiking tracks. It lies near the borders of the Mount Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park. The local scenery received worldwide attention when it was used as one of the settings in the first of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films. It was the furthest point at which the steamers travelled up the lake from Kingston. It must have been a reasonably sized settlement at one stage as the war memorial lists some 22 residents who gave their life in WW1.
After lunch, Cathy, Chris and the Girls returned to Queenstown for another play at the pool and aquatic centre while Jill and I travelled some 27 km further long the road to the start of the Routeburn Track. I walked this track some years ago. It has spectacular mountain scenery and takes three or four days to complete. The water In the river is just as Clark as I remembered and the mountain peaks looked just as grand.
On our way back to Queensown we again braved the race traffic and head back to our apartment. Queenstown was In full swing with a Rugby 7’s game on the main oval. We had a great view from our lounge room and listened to the roars of the crowd as they wafted up the hill.