Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Queenstown to Hokitika

The following is Matthew's contribution to our NZ Road Trip blog.

I realise that this may sound as if I’m a tad spoilt. For I could easily understand if tourists were to find the drive along the west coast from Queenstown to the seaside town of Hokitika to be truly one of the majestic drives to be seen on the planet. Yet while meandering our way through the natural beauty on display I couldn’t help but think that at what point are their just too many lakes!!! Sure they look beautiful the first time and even after the second, third and fourth they are still good. But after seeing our 63rd lake on our 6 hour drive today I couldn’t help but think that I had seen enough lakes to last a lifetime and I for one was just a little bit over them.
We left Queenstown this morning at around 9.00am. I was still a little bit crook as the previous day on our trip out to Milford Sound I suffered the worst case of motion sickness that I have suffered almost bringing my heart up in the Novotel bathroom.
I for one was happy to be leaving the tourist mecca of Queenstown. I found the place a very superficial town that has completely sold itself out to tourism. Whilst for some, particularly those who have an interest in extreme sports I could see that the town would be a drawcard yet for me personally, I would honestly rather spend 3 nights at the Great Northern Hotel in Gordonvale.
I tried to make the journey as quick as possible and that meant limited stops. As I looked in the rear view mirror I tried valiantly to escape the cavalcade of caravans and Camper Vans with their “I love New Zealand” stickers emblazoned on their bumpers. However we were unable to escape as a much needed fuel stop required a short stopover in the town of Wanaka. Upon stepping into the local cafe I was able to get a good indication of the type of town that it is. Tourists spilled into the cafe all demanding their mocha soy latte’s and gluten free lentil soups. All I wanted was a toasted ham and cheese sandwich yet in the entire town couldn’t find a place to service my needs. Instead, was confronted by cafe after cafe trying to outdo each other with bizarre organic menus to service the silver tails that frequent this lakeside town.
After settling on a packet of chips from the service station I escaped the town as quickly as I could. The drive was a picturesque one. The lakes are stunning and I did find it fascinating the contrast in terrain that exists in this country simply by travelling a couple of 100km’s. But after a day of being violently ill and 6 days surrounded by forest and lakes I probably couldn’t fully appreciate it as much as I should.

We got into the seaside town of Hokitika at around 3.00pm. The town was a lot quieter then the ones that we had become accustomed to and I for one was relieved to be in a town where I couldn’t see one novelty sheep souvenir, "I love New Zealand" shirt or silver fern bath towel. The so called beautiful beach however wasn’t what I would consider to be world class with the colour reminding me more of the champion Lloyd Williams stayer “Efficient” being a steely grey in appearance. I decided a quiet Indian curry was in order and I found the local curry shop. Being tired from the long drive I decided to get it to Take Away. Upon returning to the Hotel Room I was disappointed to discover that I wasn't provided with any cutlery. This then meant a walk to the local supermarket to purchase my own army of plastic knives and forks to last a lifetime. The meal eventually was very good.
A pleasant little town and a short stopover as we headed for the last leg on our journey through to Christchurch.

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