Milford Track Day 0

March 20th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Got into Queenstown Friday afternoon for the pre-trek briefing at the Ultimate Hikes office.

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Had time for a quick drink at the waterfront before the briefing.

The last two tramps were unguided, but for this one we went for the guided option, primarily because it actually gets you into lodges with proper bedrooms rather than bunk beds. I’ll blog more on this at the end, but was an excellent decision! The hot showers alone were worth it!

The briefing took just under an hour and the main thing is making sure you turn up on time for the bus the next morning. They also have day packs available for use, for those who don’t have their own.

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After the briefing we headed up the gondola for a drink and to enjoy the view. Lots of people coming up to mountain bike. Made a mental note to make sure I do that next time I’m in Queenstown with half a day to spare. Looks lots of fun.

We then headed to dinner at Eichardt’s Bar, which had superb tapas. Highly recommended.

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They also do a nice collection of wines to accompany the food.

So a nice half day in Queenstown before the departure the next day for No 3 of the nine Great Walks.

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Lake Hayes

January 4th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

In Queenstown I was staying at the Lake Hayes Estate, which is of course next to Lake Hayes. I’ve heard about the lovely walk around the lake, but the weather looked like I wouldn’t get to do it. However on my last day there, the rain stopped around 7 pm, so I headed out. It was around 15 minutes to the lake, and I did the circuit in around 90 minutes. The last quarter I jogged as I heard thunder and the rain started again.

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On the path down to the lake, a paddock of deer.

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You then start off at lake level on a nice path.

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Then as you go up, you get a pretty great lake view. Bear in mind this is in the evening.

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The path winds around the hills.

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Another great lake view.

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Then after you head down, you circle around through nice grass areas.

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A very old house on the lakefront.

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And a much more modern one. A lakeside house would be very cool. Many of them have boats out front.

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And finally a bush walk path back to the beginning.

A very serene walk, if you are in the area.

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Milford Sound

December 31st, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

In Queenstown for New Years, staying with a friend. The last time I was here, I had the nonovirus and spent it in the bathroom of my hotel room. So far, has been much more enjoyable this time.

On Saturday headed to Milford Sounds on the Milford Sound Select Bus. Not normally a big bus person, but this was a great trip. The driver was superb – knowledgeable and friendly, and we had lots of stops for photos.

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On the road from Te Anau to Milford. Spectacular field. They must have shot some movie scenes here at some stage.

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The hills reflected at Mirror Lakes.

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Note the way the sign is written so it only makes sense in the reflection.

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A field of lupins.

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One of the many bush covered valleys heading into Milford Sound.

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A small waterfall.

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At one of the stops, there was a kea. He happily walked around in front of everyone and then without concern, jumped up onto a car behind and started nibbling at the rubber around their window.

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Mr Kea then jumped onto the roof for an even better perch.

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The lower end of the mighty chasm.

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And the upper end. Not a place to try going over in a barrel!

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At Milford Sound, we went out on a boat. It was pretty wet but the seals didn’t mind.

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A bit of rain on the lens, but still a nice shot of the greenery that grows on often sheer cliff faces there.

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Advancing towards the falls.

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And then the boat approaches them head on and pushes the bow just under the falls, nicely spraying those of us up on top.

Was a great day. I’ve been to Milford Sound a couple of times before, but it never gets old. Has reinforced my determination to do the Milford Track in the next couple of years.

On the bus trip back to Queenstown, they played The World’s Fastest Indian. I’d not got around to watching it previously. Was a very appropriate film to view in Southland.

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In Queenstown

August 21st, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

I’m in Queenstown for a couple of days. BMW NZ must have seen the photo Whale took of my almost backing a car down a bank, and decided I need some upskilling.

So they have kindly put me on their BMW Alpine XDrive, which in their own words:

Put your driving skills to the test in the most challenging driving conditions the Southern Alps have on offer, behind the wheel of our latest BMW X Range vehicles.  Guided by professional BMW Instructors, you will discover first-hand the class-leading, road-holding capabilities of BMW’s xDrive technology – the world’s most intelligent All-Wheel Drive system.

Having acquired the skills you need to drive in these extreme snow and ice alpine conditions, you will then experience power-slides in the skid circle and compete in timed challenges on the ice slalom. High-speed hot laps with a professional driver, on snow-covered roads are the only way to finish the day.

There is a more than reasonable chance that you’ll get to see a photo of me driving off a cliff and landing a few hundred metres down. If I manage to avoid driving into an icewall, it should be a bloody fun experience.

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