Today was without doubt the best day so far. It was also the toughest physically. I really learned how to have an adventure in New Zealand today!
Quick recap. We stayed in Cromwell last night and this morning we are going for a run and then later today a hike up the Arrowtown hills.
Best Day So Far? Absolutely!
Day 4 – Rise and shine. Had a great nights sleep, the sun is shining and me and Ally are heading out for a run. Cromwell is on the shores of Lake Dunstan. Beautiful lake and mountains. It is the place that reminds me of England the most so far on this trip. Very green and undulating. You really don’t need to be motivated to go running around a lake or scenery like this.
Ally was up nice and early and we headed straight out. My back was a bit sore today but I had to keep up and not use that as an excuse. I have lost track of the amount of times Ally would fake an ankle injury or feel sick when we were out running. Now she was a fit running ‘beast’ there was no way I was taking the easy way out, as much as I wanted to. So proud of this young lady and her dedication to fitness and health. A chip off the old block.
Our Early Morning Run
Running alongside Lake Dunstan was amazing. The beautiful blue water in the early morning made any pain from my back disappear. We did 5 k’s all up and it was then time for breakfast. Our host’s in our Airbnb were lovely. Elaine had to go and play tennis so we missed her in the morning. Richard made us a lovely breakfast of porridge, tea and toast. It really was like being in England! He also entertained me with his stock market conversation. He is very passionate about the market and it made for good banter before we left.
Our plan today was to head over to Arrowtown which is kind of halfway between Lake Wanaka and Queenstown. I had heard good reports about Arrowtown and looked forward to getting there and doing some hiking.
Cromwell is very much a fruit town. Lots of cherries and the cherries had just come into season. We stopped at a roadside stall and I purchased some cherries for me and some blackberries for Ally. Ally told me she wasn’t a huge fan of cherries. Bonus! More cherries for me haha! And they were delicious as were the blackberries.
Driving into Arrowtown was one of those experiences where you just know once you get there you are going to love the place. We were driving through these beautiful green valleys with lovely old homes and farms dotted throughout the land.
We arrived in Arrowtown and it had that real feel of a quaint old English village. Beautiful old timber homes and shops. Tall green trees and, a beautiful old pub and, after following my nose, a fruit, vegetable and food market at the local school. I loved this place!
We wandered around the market and tried some of the food and fruit. New Zealand has amazing fruit! Ally of course was still hungry so we grabbed a couple of snacks and some bananas for our hike.
I fell in love with Arrowtown. It was nestled in a little valley with mountains behind and surrounded by beautiful green foliage and the Arrow River. Just a small river but it just set the town off nicely. We got my back pack nicely set up with food and water. It was actually quite heavy. But I figured a nice 3 or 4 k hike will be fine. Boy was I wrong! More on that later.
We took off along the river until we came to a kind of 3 pronged fork in the road. One path went around the mountain and was the easiest of the hikes. The second was more for mountain bikes and was very up and down. The 3rd was for experienced hikers. Basically straight up and rugged. “let’s take this low hiking path Al. Not too strenuous but still a good hike.” “No way dad!” Yelled Ally. “We are doing a proper hike. Up the steep hill.” Oh ok I said. Remebering we had run 5 k earlier that morning and that I was carrying a quit heavy backpack. “As long as you can carry the backpack a bit later.” I said. “Of course dad” Ally said. I knew full well that would never eventuate.
So we started the hike. Did I say it was steep? My partner Joy and I used to do a hike in Cairns, in Far North Queensland where we used to live. It’s called Earl Hill. One kilometere straight up and one kilometer straight down. It’s steep and really tough to do. Well. This was worse! It kept going straight up, and up and up and up! Ally was a good way ahead of me and she had no intention of relieving me of the backpack, even though it had our food drink and her clothes in it!.
This was a tough climb. Fortunately the beauty that lay all around us eased the pain a little. My back was really sore but in moments like these you get inspired and forget about that. The higher I climed the better the view. Beautiful and inspiring.
Eventually we made it to a plateau on the climb. The mountain kind of opened up and we had a 360 degree view. Ally was hardly puffing and looked like she could run a marathon. But she was faking being tired so as not to have to carry the backpack. Yes. I know her tricks. She haslearnedt from the best, after all!
At the plateau there was a sign pointing us up another hill. It said one hour. That sounded okay as it headed up another couple of mountains but they were open and green and you could see all around you. And I thought, yes, an hour is okay. We will be down the mountains and sitting in the pub in no time! Wrong! Read on…
The trek up these mountain sides was again fairly steep but the 360′ degree view made it easy. It was damn hard work but we both felt inspired by what kept laying itself out in front of us. We could now see down to Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. Stunning!
We had hiked for a good hour but seemed to be just getting higher. Eventually we came to the end of one mountain and assumed there would be a pathway down. Wrong! It went down alright. Straight down! There was no path. We had to turn back. We were both a little frustrated but the scenery kept our spirits up. We had eaten our bananas and water was getting low. And we were both getting tired. Still no offer from Ally to carry the bag. Even though I was now crawling on hands and knees and begging her to take the bag…ok I’m just kidding, I was on such a high with the view the bag was no longer an issue.
Reaching the Peak
We stopped at the highest peak. The wind was howling. Ally was a little scared. I took a video of the beauty all around us – SEE VIDEO BELOW
It really was magical. I had never quite experienced anything like being this free and inspired. We really felt like we were on top of the world.
You hear about how mountain climbers have that special moment of euphoria once they get to the peak. A zen like feeling. This was our zen like feeling.
Eventually we got down to the plateau area and realised we would have to go back down the same way we came up. So a long walk ahead. Neither of us said to much as we descended. Ally avoiding any mention of the backpack. Me just happy to be alive. As we arrived at the bottom Ally checked her running app and declared we had hiked for 10 k’s! Wow. That is a long hike. Especially after running 5 k that same morning!
The Fork and Tap Ale House
We got to the bottom and it was a relief to see the Fork and Tap Ale House. Food and drink!
It was great fun the hike, even though it was so tough and tiresome. I really felt a greater bond with Ally through it all. We were getting to know each other better and I was learning a lot from her. Like never rely on her to help carry a backpack on a long hike! Haha!
We had a great meal, Al had a ‘superfoods salad’ and I had a vegetarian pizza. Did I tell you we are both very healthy? They were delicious. Of course an hour later Ally was hungry again!
It was a massive day and we both loved every minute of it. Tomorrow we are off to the magical Milford Sound. And I thought today was the best yet! Wait till you see tomorrow!
Keep an eye out for tomorrows amazing adventure when we take a cruise around Milford Sound. I seriously can’t wait!
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