This is technically our 2nd day in New Zealand, it always messes with your mind a little to fly across the international date line and the equator. Loosing a day and going from winter to late summer. The most interesting aspect is the amount of daylight hours, leaving Cedar City, UT it was still getting dark around 6:00 pm and now in Queenstown it is still light at 8:45 pm.
Our business meeting were today. Short, sweet and to the point. No product partners were present so that chopped off an hour as Linda and I headed for the door. Meetings are good and justify the trip, but it always amazes me at the number of questions asked. Sitting here in New Zealand is a good place for a firm update, if you want to learn something by asking questions do it at home.
Our plan today is a nice loop called the Mount Crichton loop track. it’s about halfway between Queenstown and Glenorchy. Driving through the very busy Queenstown business district I made the comment we should stop by KFC and pick up some chicken for lunch. Our packs contain water and snickers bars, but it is lunch time and getting something to eat before we leave Queenstown seemed like a good idea. We didn’t. So by the time we located the trailhead we were starving and decided to drive to Glenorchy and get something to eat first.
The drive to Glenorchy is a “costal” drive along Lake Wakatipu, which means it is cut out of the mountain side and follows the contour. It is fun to drive with it’s twists and turns. It certainly would be fun in the Corvette, it is a bit challenging in the rental car.
We managed to arrive in Glenorchy and stopped at the first general store that also offered food. One of our favorite things about New Zealand is the breakfast pies. All kinds are available and I have never tasted a bad one yet. Because it was afternoon the selection was slim. I settled for a creamy vegetable, while Linda opted for the chicken and mushroom. Both were delicious and topped off with gelato ice cream for desert. We were full and ready to hike.
We decided not to drive back to Mount Crichton just yet as we collected a trail map of Glenorchy and settled on hiking a section of the Judah Track. I had looked at this track when making plans due to the mining activity in the area. Linda has had good luck in the past finding jewelry quality stones in the discarded tailing pile of someone mining something else.
Getting directions we circled back a few miles and parked at the trailhead. I love New Zealand for their hiking tracks and amazing beauty. We followed the trail changing between roadway and walkway as we made our way up the hillside of Mount Judah. it is sunny out and soon the jackets come off, but the cameras are out as we are mesmerized by the views surrounding us.
The Scheelite Battery was interesting as we wandered the old site, not sure what Scheelite is or what the process is trying to achieve we took pictures like a couple of tourists who aren’t quite sure what they are seeing but want to capture the moment anyway.
Soon the tailing piles become more apparent as we hike toward the “state mine” site and view point. The piles dot the hillside as we move along the old road used to haul the good stuff out.
The State mine Viewpoint is stunning and offers incredible views toward Mount Edward, but the tailing pile is a bust. Whatever the process used to extract the Scheelite is a crushing process and the tailing pile is nothing but crushed rock with nothing of value for Linda’s projects.
We take pictures and decide to head back to Glenorchy and follow the trail map to "Middle Earth”. Glenorchy holds many of the location shots for the movie Lord of the Ring and we pull off the road near the bridge over Rees River. This is the same location where the movie makers superimposed Isengard Tower on the landscape.
Finding some workable material for jewelry we “bag and tag” the stones and move on down the road.
The asphalt turns to gravel and one would think traffic would be few and very far between, but not true on this dusty backroad. Tour vans and rental cars move through the area. It’s not bumper to bumper, but one needs to stay sharp on the narrow hillside road.
We follow the road as far as we can until a deep stream encourages us to park and hike a short distance into the woods. The trees are amazing and little light reaches underneath making the walking easy. Not finding Treebeard or any other Ents, we decide to beat a hasty retreat when a few blackflies start biting my arm. (looks like meat is back on the menu)!
The return drive was long and we arrived back in Queenstown around 7:00 pm. Dinner at the hotel tonight because we are too tired for anything else.