Tag Archives: remarkables

Wanaka Weekend

Yes, today’s entry will be more of a travelogue and I’ll get back to some beautiful pictures in the near future.

 

 

This past weekend, we drove to Arrowtown, Cromwell, Wanaka and home. The weather wasn’t all that pleasant, especially during Friday’s driving, but it slowly improved.

 

 

Panoramic View of Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand (“click” for a larger view)

Arrowtown is a small, historic mining town a few kilometers northeast of Queenstown (and, Queenstown is about two hours north of Invercargill, in the mountains). Arrowtown is definitely some place that we want to return, particularly in the austral autumn. We ate at a fun place (Mondo’s Café) that we’d love to visit again. The main area of town is small and quaint, and the area is surrounded by the Crown Range on the northeast.

 

Panoramic View from Cardrona in the Crown & Criffel Ranges, with the Cardrona River Valley (“click” for a larger view)

 

On Saturday, we drove over to Cromwell and ate breakfast in a coffee shop. Cromwell seems to be a fruit and vegetable growing region, particularly for fruit trees such as apples, pears and the like. Our weather was a bit overcast, but Cromwell is a pleasant town that I hope we’ll visit again when the weather is more pleasant. Cromwell sits on the shores of Lake Dunstan and it must be spectacular to look over this valley from some altitude! After breakfast, we drove up the Clutha River Valley and the beautiful views across the Valley to the Dunstan Range, with the Pisa Range on our left. There were many orchards as we entered and left Cromwell, and the further that we drove from Cromwell, the more sheep that we saw. Did we mention that it’s lambing season here?

 

 

Since the weather was less than wonderful on Saturday, we visited Puzzling World just east of Wanaka. I have to say that I’m not the kind of person who appreciates the normal touristy things (a.k.a., “tourist traps”) that other people enjoy, particularly in places like the Wisconsin Dells, but I did enjoy Puzzling World. First, there was a large maze that we visited. We spent at least an hour “lost” within it, and enjoyed ourselves. I’m also happy to write that I’m the only mouse who earned the cheese! Asta, Aras and Julija bailed out via an emergency exit, while I suffered through ‘til the end! Inside of Puzzling World there was a variety of visual and physical puzzles – oddly tilted rooms, the Ames Room, holograms, and art by some of my favorite artists like M.C. Escher, Rob Gonsalves and Patrick Hughes (I really like Hughes’ work! It’s inspired me since I first saw a couple of his pieces in San Francisco several years ago).

 

 

Crown Terrace Panorama, overlooking the Arrow River, The Remarkables, Frankton and Queentstown (“click” for a larger view)

After Puzzling World, we finally made it to Wanaka and it’s one of the most beautiful towns I’ve ever visited! (I think that I said the same thing about Queenstown.) Another beautiful town located along a lake (Lake Wanaka) and surrounded by mountains. One of the many highlights of the weekend (at least for me) was finally being able to watch the New Zealand national rugby team, The All Blacks, play. The All Blacks are to New Zealand what da Packers are to Wisconsin, so you get the point. I hardly understand rugby – all of it’s nuances, etc. – but my favorite part is the haka. This next link is to the haka from the September 15th, 2012 match against South Africa, which the All Blacks won (I smile every time I watch that video!). (As a side note, I do believe that the Green Bay Packers could benefit from their own haka; it’s pretty easy to imagine Clay Matthews taking the lead!) The Wanaka area and Mt. Aspiring National Park will be a wonderful area to visit (many times?) this coming summer.

 

 

Finally, on Sunday, we ventured to the Cardrona Ski Area that’s about an hour away from Wanaka. I enjoyed Cardrona much more than The Remarkables – I even skied this time! The weather was warm, the sun was shining and clouds were blowing through from time to time. I was feeling pretty good until Julija started skiing circles around me! The drive from Cardrona to Queenstown was absolutely gorgeous, via the Crown Range Road. We’re looking forward to taking this drive again during the summer months.

OK, that’s all for now. It’s time to get back to reality – picking up the kids from school and planning our next trip around beautiful New Zealand.

 

 

46 S EnZed signing off…

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Skiwi

So, after my last post, I received a nasty comment from one of my most faithful readers.  This reader was upset/concerned that there was too much information on the minutiae of our lives here and not enough presentation of the fun and beauty of New Zealand.  It’s a reasonable complaint.  But, I have been busy with helping to set up the basics of our lives here and have not put a lot of effort into editing images and telling a bigger story.  I tried to explain about Maslow’s Hierarchy, but it went right over her head (and, who would have ever expected to read about Maslow’s Hierarchy in a blog about skiing in New Zealand).  But, that’s about to change!  Yes, She-Who-Must-be-Obeyed will finally get to see some photographs of beautiful New Zealand and of her family having fun in New Zealand!!!

 

 

We’ve been here for about three weeks now and this is the first weekend that we’re going to just sit around the house and be locals.  The first weekend, we drove to the ocean and Oreti Beach, just west of Invercargill on Saturday, and then to The Catlins on Sunday.  We made it back to The Catlins last Sunday.  I’ll share photos and more about The Catlins in another post – I’m still working on those photos (in part because I’m still trying to get my computer to work). During our second weekend here, we journeyed to Te Anau and then Queenstown.  Again, I’ll put some of those photographs later.  Just allow me to write that Te Anau and Queenstown are two of the most beautiful towns/cities that I’ve ever visited.  I can’t wait to get back to them.

 

Whilst in Queenstown, we took a trip up to The Remarkables Ski Area, a few kilometers south of Queenstown.  Down in the valley where Queenstown is located, the weather was cool, but very pleasant, even warm, for a skiing town.  When I’ve been in Colorado and Utah ski communities in the winter, there’s always this crispness to the air.  It’s warmer here as well as more humid.  The low-lying areas didn’t have any snow on them, but we very green for my perception of winter.

 

 

Getting to The Remarkables is about a twenty minute drive up the mountain on a gravel road.  It’s a beautiful drive and there aren’t a whole lot of guard rails alongside the road.  The ski area itself seems smaller than the few American ski areas I’ve visited, but it is larger and more terrain and vertical than Wisconsin’s ski areas!  🙂

 

 

 

 

While everyone else was skiing, I stayed safe with my camera, in part so that someone would be able to drive home.  The skiing looked fun, but not too long or technical – except for the rocks.  Since the temps were hovering just under freezing, it wasn’t really too cold and the kids enjoyed themselves for quite some time.  We’ll be back to The Remarkables or some other ski area either in the next few weeks or next winter.  But, it is a strange feeling to be skiing in August just a few weeks after we were broiling in Wisconsin!

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