Friday 13th November 2015
18.11.2015 18 °C
Our second short visit to Queenstown had come to an end and before we left the hostel I felt it was only fitting for me to add a comment to the graffiti wall. The message was "Wow NZ you are amazing, Gill & Nigel 2015" which seemed to sum up my feelings. Having checked out, we took our bags the short distance to collect our hire car and then we were on our way. Although neither of us had any desire to do a bungy jump it is part of the New Zealand experience. We decided to stop and have a look at others doing it given that we had to drive right past Kawarau Bridge home of the father of the bungy, A. J. Hackett.
The setting is stunning as the bridge spans the beautiful Clutha River. It makes compelling watching, although it made me feel very nervous for them. Just after we arrived two girls were going to jump together, but in the end one of them couldn't go ahead. Speaking to her later she said their boss had paid for it as a special surprise for them. In the end the other girl went on her own. Non jumpers are also allowed on the bridge from where there is a great view of the river.
Whilst we were there we had a coffee at the cafe before watching another couple of brave souls jump before then getting on our way. The bridge is very near the Gibbston Valley wine region and we drove past a number of vineyards as we continued along the spectacular Kawarau Gorge.
Grapes then gave way to fruit and as we got near the town of Cromwell there were lots of orchards as well as the customary giant fruit to advertise the fact. The road then started to climb higher and there were patches of bright coloured wild flowers alongside the road.
When we reached the Clyde Dam we pulled over and had a look at the hydro-electric plant and the river and the lake on either side of it. It was a pretty impressive structure and the first of many we would see over the next few days. As we drove on we started to see snow capped peaks in the distance and the high valley was strewn with dramatic rock formations and heather covered heath land. We saw a really lovely spot near the Butchers Dam and so we pulled off and found a place near the water to sit and eat the picnic lunch we had bought in Queenstown.
The scenery continued to be really picturesque as we wound our way along river valleys and past the turquoise blue Lake Roxburgh. Mid afternoon we stopped for coffee at a rather isolated and slightly strange inn, before continuing on our way. We road maintained a south easterly direction until we got near to the Pacific Coast and then turned northwards driving between the ocean and the coastal railway that runs between Invercargill and Dunedin. We found the cottage quite easily, and the owner Emma showed us around. We settled in and then we walked across the small field at the back of the house which took us to the cliff top and some amazing views of the coast.