I'll make this brief. The country we walked through today is some of the most spectacular we've been through. Cool beech forests. Greenstone rivers. Deep pools. Waterfalls. Mountains - both snow covered and bare. Nice DoC rangers. Amazing bridges over amazing gorges. Deep forested valleys. The works. If you get the chance...
Whiona's maxim of "good things come at the end of a hard day" was either looking shakey or was about to come true again.
We'd blown our accommodation at Kinloch Lodge by arriving a day early. There were NO FREEDOM CAMPING signs up and we were buggered.
We were a day's walk from Glenorchy and the road was empty.
This is the one "section" of TeA where walking isn't on the agenda - Queenstown to Kinloch is kind of a TeA black hole - especially if you are Nobo (Northbound). We'd tried to find an alternative route but would have missed the outrageously beautiful Mavora Lakes.
Four cars and a grader passed us in two hours. The water taxi advertised at the jetty would have cost us 600 bucks.
We weren't getting desperate or anything...this is an adventure after all. It just would've been nice if...
Maui and Cynthia were on holiday from their jobs on the Survivor TV series. She was an Hispanic speaking Californian. He was from French Polynesia. They called Bora Bora home.
They had two Rainbow Trout in the car and were feeling generous.
Queenstown is a bit like a big feed of fish'n'chips. You crave it. It smells good. But half way through you start to feel a bit...uncomfortable. By the end you're bloated and swear "never again". But...
As we sat in the small park in the middle of town surrounded by excited young tourists priming themselves for a MASSIVE Saturday night we felt old, disheveled and smelly.
Note to self: We were old, disheveled and smelly.
A few desperate phone calls and a felafel later and Evan was coming to pick us up. That's right - pick us up. The guy who runs Scallywags is not your normal backpackers type...not that there is one.
He doesn't seem to approve of Queenstown's hype...refreshing for someone in the tourist game. The ride wasn't what we expected as he gave us a rundown of local body politics...the apparently unpopular Conference Centre...and the gambling it will likely bring to town.
On answering the phone to a prospective customer: "Sorry. I don't do one night stands. They always prove very unsatisfactory."
"I guess the only real use for an Internet cafe these days is for writing anonymous letters to the council."
Evan cares about things.
I wasn't going to write about our day off (what we call a zero day) in Queenstown...but sitting here in the shade with a million dollar view, Evan's retro tourism art and his classical music going on in the background I've changed my mind.
Scallywags is one of the best backpackers we've stayed in. A perfect TeA retreat.
Could I have another scoop of chips please...and a deep fried Mars Bar.
P.S. As we left the day's trail for Kinloch we came across the stoat traps. We were in the operating area of the Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust. The trust looks after some pretty special critters - Mohua, Robin, Kakariki, Rifleman, Kaka, Kea, Whio, and Rock Wren. As well as New Zealand’s only native land mammal the Pekapeka or bat.
The trust has a big presence around the area. Signs and promotional stuff are all over Queenstown's tourist and outdoor shops.
An impressive "PR" campaign.