Day 11. A distant Cockerel somewhere on the farm signalled the end of what was my best nights sleep so far. I was refreshed ready for the drive to Glenorchy. We left with cloud and rain, on familiar roads we remembered from three years before. The closer we got to Queenstown, the brighter the skies above. With so much head swivelling beauty for Long-suffering to record and the muse as driver to enjoy, it was very much a stop/start drive!
Devils Staircase Lookout over Lake Wakatipu….
Queenstown this time round was just a drive through for us on the way to the beautiful Tommy Thomson Scenic drive to Glenorchy opened in 1962. Previous to this Glenorchy residents relied on thrice weekly Wakatipu steamships. The mountain views were truly stunning.
Seven Mile Scenic Reserve Point….
Mount Crichton Track 2 hour loop return…. From the car park we followed the track over bridges criss crossing the once gold filled 12 mile Creek through red beech forest on the lower tracks, my mini tree guide helping with identification.
We passed by a large open space created by the sluicing and removing of rock from the canyon.
Soon enough our ascent up to historic, Sam Summers Hut started – he and his brothers built this shelter in 1930 as protection against the extreme weather during his ten years living and prospecting along the creek. Sam died in 1997 at age 92.
Inside we could only imagine the hardship of living day to day in this remote and at times unforgiving Forest as violent weather systems did their worst.
Branching off a short track led us to the Tailrace tunnel, dug out by hand using chisels and explosives. Here the water and rock cut from the mining face would flow into 12 mile Creek. I let Long-suffering explore alone, the muse is not happy in dark confined spaces.
Back out on the main track, the steepest part of the climb was to come, but well worth the effort and sweat to get there for the viewpoints out over Lake Wakatipu, The Mountains beyond and Lake Dispute below nestled in woods.
The descent, easier in terms of effort but harder on joints generally along with care to avoid slipping! The print out below was our actual time walking, an extra thirty five minutes was spent enjoying and recording our surroundings.
Lake Sylvan D.O.C. freedom camp…. a beautiful, peaceful place to stay – resting tired legs – situated at the end of a long gravel road. A lot of new tree and shrub planting has gone on here and in time as it grows up the hardstanding pitches will become less conspicuous and more secluded. Grassy fields with ewes and their lambs entertained us while the sand flies munched us!