Saturday, June 13, 2015

To Queenstown Via Crown Range Road

Well, friends, signs reading "ice likely" along with brisk winds do not a relaxed passenger make, especially with a caravan in tow. But Saturday's drive from Wanaka to Queenstown was spectacular, based on the squinty glimpses I allowed myself.

This picture isn't mine (what, you think I followed Art in a hot air balloon? it's from this NZ website), but it offers a sense of the majestic traverse.
The Crown Range lies between Queenstown and Wanaka. The road over the range, known as the Crown Range Road, is the highest main road in New Zealand. It reaches an altitude of 1121 metres, which does bring challenges. In winter, the road is often covered in snow and ice, making for very difficult driving conditions.
About halfway over, a stop at the historic gold-rush era 1863 Cardrona Hotel (click here for its fascinating history), where we nearly booked in for a couple nights until we discovered Saturday was opening day. The place was packed with skiers/snowboarders preparing to hit the slopes. It's winter here! Something about that slopey roof makes me happy and sad simultaneously.

Please buckle your we go.

The very definition of a hairpin turn
(35kph is 21mph)

Lots of those as we made our way through Arrowtown on the entry to Queenstown. Look at that Saturday traffic.

A (not great) shot of Queenstown.

A better shot (again, not mine--his). Hey, that looks like fun.

Queenstown Library and rugby game in progress. We're camped a couple miles outside of town proper.
On the streets, it's a melange of adventure sports offerings (NZ practically invented extreme sports), restos, bars, shops, and people. Lively!

We're saving this town until a month from now when we'll be back with our family, 14 of whom are coming for a week. This is a big yay!, because we miss you all terribly. There are at least a few extreme sport types heading this way...

What do you say, Carly and Rich? 
A tandem leap off the world's highest cliff jump?

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