(Really the title should be to Paradise and beyond, but I didn’t like that as much.)
On our second day in New Zealand, or first full day, we got up early to return to Auckland Airport, where we got on a flight to the south island – specifically to Queenstown. Once there, we found our rental car, drove into town and checked into the hotel (we ended up at Novotel because literally nowhere else had a room available for the entire time we were there and we didn’t want the hassle of changing hotels after 2 days!). We had nothing planned for the afternoon, so we decided to just get in the car and take a drive. A map I had picked up from the airport recommended driving towards Glenorchy, so that’s what we decided to do.
After a drive involving many twists and turns, as well as fantastic views of the lake, we reached the tiny town of Glenorchy, where we parked up and got out to take some photos (along with all the other tourists!)
The map suggested that, if we had time after visiting Glenorchy, we should “drive on and find Paradise”. We did have time, and so on we drove. About 20 minutes later, after driving down some rather bumpy gravel roads and crossing a few fords, we spotted the sign for Paradise.
There are a lot of sheep in Paradise! Also, toadstools, which I couldn’t resist taking way too many photos of.
We drove on for another 10 or 15 minutes, then we reached a ford that we thought looked a bit too deep for our car to cope with, so we stopped the car, got out to take some photos and then drove back the way we had come.
Our next stop was at Diamond Lake, which is back down in the direction of Glenorchy. My photos seriously can’t do the stunning scenery justice, so you’ll just have to go to New Zealand and see it for yourself 😉
Jan also spotted a cricket in the grass and, just as we were about to get in the car, I saw some birds in a tree above us. Yay wildlife! (Click to see bigger photos)
Once we got to Glenorchy again, instead of driving straight back to Queenstown, we decided to drive around the top of the lake. The original plan was to go to Kinloch, but one road was closed, so we turned a different way and ended up in the Routeburn carpark, at the start of the Routeburn track, so we got out and went for a short walk. The trail we took follows the Routeburn track for a little way (the entire track is 33 km!) then turns off onto a small nature loop. Our entire walk took roughly an hour, which was perfect – long enough to stretch our legs without being too strenuous. We saw lots of little birds, but none that would stay still long enough to have their photos taken! So you’ll just have to make do with more scenery, and random plants that I thought looked interesting.
After our walk, we got back in the car and drove back to Queenstown for dinner, having got an excellent first impression of what the south island had to offer!
New Zealand is also my March trip for 2016’s redo of Take 12 Trips, a linkup started by Clare from Need Another Holiday.