Queenstown to the sounds 22nd – 24th April Blog 161


Queenstown to the sounds 22nd – 24th April  Blog 161

We head off pausing for the obligatry picture outside the Cardrona hotel, a passing group of bikers also take our photo but we are getting used to being as much of a tourist attraction as the tourist attraction. The road on from here is called the Crown Range and it’s a beauty it was only fully sealed in 2000 and it is the highest sealed road in NZ. Just over the Summit we are able to stop at a view point that looks over our route down, it’s a series of switch back hairpins a little reminiscent of the Stelvio pass.

We take an indirect route through Arrowtown a western styled frontier (tourist) town with the autumn colours making a splendid backdrop. It is very photogenic with all the old shop fronts and we stop at an old fashioned sweet shop, the type where everything is in jars, they have a modern twist and are making fudge in yummy flavours. After trying creme brulee then cheesecake we opt for cookies and cream and dark chocolate truffle flavours.  ‘mmmmm’

We make camp at twelve mile delta a DOC site just beyond Queenstown, heading back in the next day for a tour round we view the Shotover river canyon. This is famous for the ‘ShotoverJet’ a jet boat ride up the canyon, it’s good to watch but expensive and we eventually decide that we can’t do everything. When we return to the bike she is lying on her side, the side stand still waving in the air. Some helpful kiwis explain an indian family were climbing on it and messing about, they obviously lost their balance and over she went. It is the first time anybody has really messed with the bike when we have left it anywhere and it leaves us both annoyed although the crash bars did their job and there is no damage. The kiwi lady said they all tried to pick it up afterward but couldn’t, it makes me laugh that four people can’t pick her up but one man and a weakling girl can….

Heading back through Queenstown we pause for lunch before resuming our journey towards Glenorchy and the end of the lake. It is a 40km coast hugging twisty fabulous ride. There is a much more relaxed feel at Glenorchy and we have time to wander across the estuary and view the mountains in the distance, a group of fishermen are wading across the deep part they have caught enough for dinner, the young lad proudly carrying the catch. Our bike is a strange sight out here and attracts the usual questions. We enjoy our ride back to the camp even more, the wind is behind us and the bends just seem to flow.

We are heading eventually for Milford sound but there are many towns to pass through. Kingston catches our eye the sign says Kingston Flyer with a picture of a steam train we had heard it was no longer running. Unfortunately we are correct but it is mothballed on the tracks and we get a good look round. It is here we encounter Chris and his wife Carolyn who invite us to stay in Balclutha if we are passing.

Stopping at Mossburn for fuel we are treated to all manner of intriguing cars passing. There was obviously a show at Te Anau from which they are returning and we see an almost continuous stream as we head out that way. There are yanks, cruisers, hot rods etc a shame we missed the show itself.

The wind picks up and we have a strong head wind all the way but the bike copes admirably and we make it past Te Anau to a DOC camp 20km or so beyond in the beech woods. This will be home for the night we have been advised not to camp further into Milford Sound national park as the sand flies will get worse the further in you go.

Tomorrow we will ride in,  Milford Sound here we come….

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