Just another glimpse at some of the startling beauty of New Zealand. This time, it features the area East of Queenstown, heading out along Lake Wakatipu to a town called Glenorchy, then on past that into Mt. Aspiring National Forest.
This was actually a couple of months ago when it was supposed to still be summer. I had gone up to spend the weekend in Queenstown, thinking I would do a bunch of hiking, but it ended up being super cold! There was a freak cold snap in the middle of summer. The weird weather did provide some pretty cool clouds and a nice fresh layer of snow halfway down the mountains. (Interestingly, the often forecast snow here as being 'down' to a certain elevation. Being from Missouri, that is a foreign concept to me.)
Lake Wakatipu during our Summer Winter
With nothing else to do, I made a few stops along the lake to snap some pics of the super blue water with the intense sky.
Looking to the 'top of the lake'.
And as if I weren't impressed enough with this spot, of course a rainbow decided to pop out over the lake....
I wish I could take credit for this impressive cairn.
Once at the top of the lake in Glenorchy, I went for a quick trail hike since the weather had settled a bit.
Well worth a look.
Black Swans! They're real. I didn't know they actually existed. I just thought it was some movie about a crazed ballerina or something.
I had to go in stealth mode to get this close.
Pretty cool birds.
A few parts of the walk were made into these awesome boardwalks.
Heading on past the lake, some gravel roads take off into the wild, and several of the big name treks in the area start around here. This picture was taken just past a place whose name is actually 'Paradise'. I don't think anyone would argue that the name suits.
The big old house in Paradise. Could you imagine living here?
Once again, the clouds and recent snow provided some dramatic scenery.
It starts out as a simple field, but there is a very intense mountain hiding back there!
After crossing about 6 or 7 small streams in my trusty Hyundai Tucson, I made it to the end of the road! The trailhead for a very long trail out into Mt. Aspiring National Park. This is near the beginning of the trail. I felt like I was in 'Honey I Shrunk The Kids' because the trees and rocks all seemed oversized.
The feeling continued as I walked out into a vast meadow surrounded by tall mountains with a giant riverbed.
So after I explored as much as I could before weather and time made me turn around, I headed back towards Queenstown. Once again, a weekend that didn't go as planned ended up being more awesome than originally planned!