Depart Auckland 7.10am, arrive Queenstown 9.00am
Near the end of June Jo and I spent a few of days in Queenstown during their Winter Festival. We planned this trip months back in hope that if we booked a nice room and hired a car, by the time June came around we might have saved enough, sure.
The day we arrived in Queenstown we went north in pursuit of Arrowtown, Cromwell and Wanaka, on the roads that loop back to Queenstown via Highway 6 and the Cardrona Valley Road.
All roads led to Luggate
From Cromwell, Highway 6 is the Luggate to Cromwell Road, traveling first beside Lake Dunstan and then the Clutha River, gradually bending westward toward Luggate. Here for a brief moment Highway 6 is Main Road Luggate, just enough to become the Albert Town to Luggate Road itself becoming the Wanaka to Luggate Road.
On the Cardrona Valley Road south from Wanaka you start to feel the climb up the Crown Range Road soon after Cardrona, from here it steadily climbs, and climbs. The Crown Range saddle is the gatekeeper to Queenstown, controlled by the weather. As the highest sealed road in the country it can benignly hide in the clouds just as easily be snowed in, iced up, or closed at this time of year.
The following day while the ski-field workers, tourism operators and the Winter Festival folk prayed for snow we drove south to Glenorchy and on to Kinlock. We had even better weather this day; cold, to very cold with any elevation, especially in the breeze. With the sun’s low angle plus clear skies the light seemed perpetually like a late afternoon.