“New Zealand is not a small country but a large village” (Peter Jackson)
For my next short trip I finally went the road along Lake Whakatipu. This way has to be taken when you want to start the Routeburn Track (or getting back), getting to end of the lake or driving the road to Paradise.
After working “my ass off” for 3 days, I wanted to get out of town. Since you there were a couple DoC campgrounds I decided to stay at Kinloch, which contains only a couples private properties, a hotel and a campsite at the shore of Lake Wakatipu. On the way, you pass Glenorchy (which is the only real village in this area) and Paradise. Exactly, there is a place called Paradise and I took of course the road to it .
It is not sure where it got it’s name but it’s there and when you just stop along the forrest and enjoy the calmness, the feeling of nature, you kinda get why its called like this.
At the end of the road you will reach a place called “heavens gate” where you are able to hike up to a point and have the closest view to the mountains. Sadly, the creeks/rivers which have to be crossed were to strong and I had to turn around.
On the way back I went directly to the campsite and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon. As later it got, more cars arrived to stay overnight and I met a really lovely family from the states. As we introduced each other, I realised that they have 4 kids between 3-10 years (i guess) and they are travelling around the world for almost a whole year. I was really impressed about how, especially the kids, have still so much fun and it is definitely a great choice to have a lot of quality family time.
The area around Glenorchy, Paradise and Kinloch offer a lot of opportunities for day walks and hikes. I planed first to do two hikes the second day but I just slept in and needed more time in the morning :D. I finally got to the start of the “Glacier burn track” around noon, which follows through the forrest. As you reach the bush line, you can climb up the rocks as far as you want.
As I took a break I received a mail and finally got my permit for my Pacific Crest Trail truth hike this year, just the perfect moment :). I enjoyed the view for a while and went back to the camp site and had a quiet evening.
The next day I managed to get up earlier and went to the car park of the trail head to hike Mt. Alfred. The track is mostly steep and challenging but as you reached the summit you got a 360° view over the whole area. The landscape of New Zealand is of course also known from the Lord of the Rings movies and the place I have been was used as Gandalfs rides to Isengard (The two towers). One of the requirement to shoot in NZL was that everything has to be set back as it was before (FYI: The shire is on a privat property and only accessible by a privat tour).
It was windy and colder when I reached the top of Mt. Alfred and I was really mad at myself to not carry the extra 160g of my down jacket. Luckily, the sun made it way through the clouds and I could enjoy the view a while longer. As I got back, I stopped in Glenorchy for a nice rewarding lunch and drove back in direction of Queenstown. Since I had one more day to spent of town, I decided to stay again at Moke Lake Campground where I spent my first night when I bought my car. As I arrived I recognised a big single tent and the chairs from the family two days before and it was really nice to meet them again when they got back from town (I told them about the campsite and they were really pleased by my recommendation).