Sunday, 7 November 2010

Ben Lomond in New Zealand

We moved on from Wanaka today, but just an hour or so down the road to Queenstown. We started with a walk down by the lake before deciding that we should do at least part of the planned route to Ben Lomond as far as Ben Lomond Saddle. The walk was made easier by a gondola that saved several hundred metres of ascent.

It was 12.45pm as we left the top gondola station following the signs for Ben Lomond. It was hot work with blue sky everywhere. We reached the col after an hour or so.

The sign said an hour to the top so although we had only intended to go as far as the col we decided to carry on, after a brief break. In 2.5 hours after leaving the gondola we were on the top of Ben Lomond, including stops. It was an easy track all the way and I'm sure it would have been quicker if we had kept to the ridge line.

It was a good viewpoint for photos. Snow was still on some of the more sheltered slopes and the view was extensive for 360 degrees. We lingered a while on the top but still made it back to the gondola lift by 5.10pm and were in one of the bars in Queenstown at 5.30pm.

The beer wasn't great so we moved on to another bar (Atlas Beer and cafe) where we had the cheapest meal of the trip so far. Jolly nice too, as well as banter with some locals who had moved in to Queenstown from Canada and Australia.

We staggered across the road to our lodgings for the night and crashed for the night.

Tomorrow Milford Sound and a good forecast. Fingers crossed for a good day!
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