Road tripping is a great way to pack a lot of sightseeing into a short amount of time. But there’s something to be said for being stationary for a few days and giving yourself a chance to absorb your surroundings.
Glenorchy, a tiny village at the head of Lake Wakatipu, is our home-away-from-home for the next six days We blew into town yesterday on some wind gusts that had to hit 50 mph and today is another blustery day.
The wind is bringing water with it as tomorrow’s forecast is rain drenched. Luckily, there was a sunny break in the showers today and we took advantage of it to explore Glenorchy, population 300 or thereabouts.
Glenorchy was established in the mid-1800s, a farm and lumber outpost, shipping goods downstream to Queenstown.
Today, it’s primarily a tourist outpost, populated with a general store owned by an American who made a sizeable fortune in the technology industry, and two or three cafes, and assorted lodgings for those of us who come to worship at the altar of Mother Nature.
In Glenorchy, I feel like I am on the edge of the world. Roads end here. Traveling to civilization requires that we drive back the way we came. To reach Milford Sound by car, for example, we must return to Queenstown and drive around the lake –a long day trip. The most direct route is on foot…several days backpacking through wilderness. Unlike back home, wilderness in New Zealand is free of bears and poisonous reptiles, but the weather is a bit unpredictable.
Locals tell us there’s talk of building a road through the mountains from Glenorchy to Milford Sound. There’s even been talk of constructing a monorail. But it’s all just talk. No one really wants to disturb the wilderness.
Can’t say that i blame them.