Last sunrise of our trip so we have to be up early. It’s about 45 minutes drive to the Church of the Good Shepherd – we visited a few weeks ago but in the afternoon so this was a new opportunity. Florence decided a few more hours in bed were a better option.
We arrived at the church about 6:30am; there was already a crowd gathered so I walked along the lake looking for some different views. There was a lot of mist coming off one of the corners of the lake, which looked like it might catch the first sun. The sky is very clear in New Zealand so almost as soon as the sun’s over the horizon, the best light’s gone. We drove back to Twizel and straight to Poppies for breakfast. I met Florence appearing from the mist having photographed some large machinery left over from building the dams in the area. I had scrambled eggs and a flat white, and a second flat white for good measure.
The final leg of our journey took us back to Queenstown via a section of road that we hadn’t travelled on before – yeah! On the way, we talked about American politics, music, photography and many other less important things.
We arrived at our hotel about 1pm. Queenstown looked busy on the way through so we decided to have a late lunch in Glenorchy at the far end of the lake before looking for sites for our final sunset. Glenorchy Café does some really good food; we had Vege sandwiches – these came with rye bread, brie and lots of salad and roasted vegetables – very tasty! Our leader suggested that a place just down the road had amazing carrot cake; Florence went to investigate and returned with the last slice – it didn’t disappoint.
After lunch, we headed to the lake. The standard view of a group of willow trees didn’t appeal to me so I went for a walk to look at some other views. Nothing worked for a while but I found some other trees I liked and tried a few angles of those. Once the sun had gone behind the mountains on the far side of the lake, we drove to an area of lagoons with boardwalks over them to look for locations to see the sunset over the mountains. The boardwalk is narrow, just wide enough for a tripod, a tricky maneuver if anyone wanted to pass. The perfect view would have meant standing in the lagoon a few feet from the boardwalk so I had to compromise. The lagoon is a beautiful place. A couple of people from our group are staying on for another week so they’ll be going back to spend some more time at the lagoons, lucky them!
Our final evening meal was at the Glenorchy Hotel, a fairly basic bar on one side and a cosy restaurant on the other. I had a Greek salad and we shared a New Zealand cheese board. A number of bottles of Roaring Meg Pinot Noir were consumed around the table. Roaring Meg was a bar maid at one of the local gold mining town in the late 19th century, she now has a wine and a creek named after her.
Our driver/leader spent a lot of the journey back to Queenstown dodging suicidal possums and rabbits on the road. Possums were introduced here from Australia and have thrived. They’re now officially a pest – Kiwi policy is to squash them at every opportunity; we’d heard rumours of bars giving you a beer if you’d got one. A hawk was feeding on some fresh road-kill and only just got out of the way of the van in time.
A few of us stopped in the hotel bar for a last drink before retiring – a long day.