Welcome to Year Two of my global seeking adventure.
Just one year ago I began by flying to New Zealand. I loved it, but needed more time to even scratch the surface of this big beautiful island nation. This time, I’ve allocated 3 more weeks to South Island, and three weeks to North Island.
Here is my plan for the next five months:
First destination: Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand
Beautiful as ever. November 23rd is the ‘down under’ equivalent of May, and snow is forecast for the 25th at 2600 feet and higher elevations.
My first day hike was around Moke Lake.
I love the Kiwi placenames! Some are names we see in Hawai’i, such as Waimea, which may be due to the shared Polynesian heritage.
My next day hike was the Mount Crichton Loop, an 8 km trail up through the mountain beech forest, past the stone hut of a local gold prospector.
You can can sleep there if you wish:
I awoke to a rainy morning. It had snowed during the night up on the surrounding hills. As soon as the rain paused, I put on 3 layers of local Marino wool, and headed up to see the hills.
Up at the Jean Hut, there was fresh snow from the night before. This historic miner’s hut is very simple, with a single bed and a fireplace.
No pillow top mattresses for the miners, and apparently plenty of mice.
Burlap feedbags are the wallpaper. A simple, hard life, mining.
Along the way, you pass some of the mine shafts. I like the Kiwi policy: They warn you not to enter, but don’t bar the entrance. So you can stick your head (or more) in at your own risk.
But by damming up the entrance a bit, you face a flooded tunnel, and are not likely to go in very far. Clever point of interest management! These particular mines were for the extraction of scheelite, which is calcium tungstate (tungsten ore), which was in high demand as an additive to make artillery gun barrels stronger.
The snows extended down the hills surrounding the lake.
Now, it was time to drive down to Lake Te Anau.