Today dawned sunny with just a few puffy white clouds in the sky. We set off from Wanaka early and chose the drive the Crown Range Road rather than the regular highway to Queenstown. This was recommended to us by our motel host in Picton and it was a great choice. The road takes you through the tiny town of Cardrona with its little old historic pub (which we somehow didn’t get a photo of).
Once again we were surrounded by mountains on all sides. Very few trees and bare hillsides were again an indication that there is plenty of snow around in the winter. This area is well known for its skiing and snowboarding areas.
There are a couple of other historic towns along the way and then you arrive at the top of the Crown Range Saddle. The view from here is spectacular once again. This is the highest sealed road in New Zealand and from here you look down over lush valleys and pastureland and Queenstown on Lake Wakatipu, and are surround by rugged peaks.
We didn’t go right into Queenstown, just stayed on the highway and continued to head south towards Fiordland. We passed the Remarkables, on our east side, which truly are, well…remarkable! Really jagged, craggy peaks right alongside the road which, we’re sure, must look even more remarkable when the sun is on them, rather than still behind them as it was as we drove through. On our west side was Lake Wakatipu, backed by more stupendous peaks.
At the southern end of the lake is Kingston with its historic steam train. About 50 or so kms further on and the road swings west towards Te Anau and passes through Mossburn along the way. Mossburn claims to be the deer capital of New Zealand. We’ve been seeing deer farms for the past couple of days, including this morning just outside Wanaka where we took photos of stags with really big antler racks. We didn’t see many more today until we got closer Te Anau. Then they were almost everywhere; there were paddocks with good sized herds of them. And still there were paddocks with cows and sheep, of course!
Driving through Mossburn and on to Te Anau was extremely windy. The wind was so strong our little car was rocking around; it wouldn’t have been pleasant to have been in a campervan!
We arrived in Te Anau and checked into our motel early in the afternoon. It’s very nice with a view over the lake. We’ll be here for 4 nights, so it’s good to have such nice accommodation. We’ve been for a walk and to the supermarket. We’ve book tours as well. Tomorrow we go on a cruise in Doubtful Sound, the next day we’ll drive to Milford sound and go on a cruise there. On Tuesday we do a short cruise across Lake Te Anau and tour the glow worm caves. That’s a much shorter trip and we’ll have plenty of time for more exploring that day.
We’re at the mid-point of our holiday now.