26.-28.02.10, Queenstown again and Christchurch
It has been beautiful weather here for the last two days. Yesterday I climbed Queen’s Hill in the morning direct from the hotel above the centre of Queenstown. It had been on the program with the first group but was cancelled because of rain and low cloud. It was good but did not of course compare with the walks I had been doing – no jungle and no views of snow covered mountains, but the Lake Wakatipu is quite impressive. Both arms of it are visible from Queen’s Hill. In the afternoon I took the old steamer, Ernslaw, across the lake to a sheep hill farm as Gill recommended, not for tea and scones but for wine tasting and antipasti. We (only 19 people on this part) were also shown round the gardens which was interesting. I took some pictures of the old farm buildings which are an idyllic setting in such weather. There was another fine sunset afterwards.
Today I had of course to catch my flight to Christchurch, unfortunately without a window seat as there were excellent views of the Southern Alps including Mount Cook. I had a quick look at the centre of Christchurch around the cathedral square and at some of the pseudo Victorian wooden buildings which count as the old part, before taking a bus to the beach at Sumner for a last swim before returning to winter. Afterwards I walked past the botanic gardens and Christ College. It is funny seeing a replica of a Cambridge College here. Darwin went to Christ’s but the famous man here is Rutherford of atom splitting fame. He was born here and lectured at a college which is now an Arts and Crafts centre. I intend to go there tomorrow as well as visiting the park and botanic gardens where they are preparing for a big ‘international’ flower show, which does not unfortunately start until March 10th.