Sunday, January 31, 2016

New Zealand 2016 Day 11. The Roteburn Tramp

We were planning on visiting the Mount Aspiring National Park later on, but inspection of the map convinced us that the closest approach to the southern portion of the map was from Queenstown. This charming city is located at the shores of Lake Wakatipu (the fourth of the five great lakes), and is the absolute epicenter of all type of recreational activities (paragliding, bungy jumping, canoeing, motor boating, and many more). Following the lakeshore to the north the road eventually turns into a dirt track, which eventually takes the traveler to the starting point of the Roteburn Tramp, one of a half dozen 4-day trails that the tourist bureau of New Zealand has been promoting heavily. Anna and I are not prepared for a 4-day trip on foot, but we like the idea of walking at least the first half day for bragging rights. A half day is not enough to get into the high country, but we already did that in the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, and in Mt. Cook, so we are happy enjoying the hike through the lower elevations.

In this case the first leg of the Roteburn Tramp took us through “the bush”. This is the local name given to a forest with a rather tight understory of ferns and brushy vegetation. Eventually we reached Silver Lake, where Anna decided to turn back. I kept walking for another hour, hoping for new sights, but the brush is dense and I never got out of it.

On the way back we stopped in Queenstown, bummed around the busy streets of downtown, which are loaded with sports shops, outdoor clothing stores, and tourist bureaus where you can spend a small fortune signing up for all sorts of adventures. Afterward we went to the local swimming pool, where for a modest fee I was able to take a shower, sit in the hot pool reading for an hour, take another shower, and finally get out warm and content with the world.

By now we have the camping routine down pat, and after dinner sought our rest without a care in the world.  

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