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We left the parsonage at 8 am and headed south toward Queenstown and Kingston. After an hour of driving, we stopped at the east coast town of Oamaru for coffee and breakfast.
The coffee shop is on the right of the photo. It overlooks the beautiful harbor.
Trevor then took us the scenic route to Queenstown over Danseys Pass, which, fortunately for us, was open.
It was a beautiful drive with cloud-covered mountains, valleys, and rivers.
We stopped here just past the bridge and drove down the side road, stopping to walk along the creek. There was a lot of quartz.
The mountains have a lot of gold in them and sheep grazing on the hills. One of them politely posed for us, probably wondering what all the fuss was about. “I’m just a sheep,” he called out.
“We understand,” we replied. “We’re just like you.”
We stopped for lunch at what used to be an old mining town on the downward slope on the other side of the mountain.
As we came out of the mountains, we stopped at Alexandra and spent some time at the mining museum.
Alexandra is the Gold Dredging Capital of the world, the sign proclaims. After the Dunstain Goldfield was discovered in 1862, the people adapted gold dredging methods to riverbeds.
Later, we stopped at another site of an old gold mine, long abandoned, which had been turned into a tourist spot.
The mine was situated above a river, which now features speedboat rides for those who dare to put their lives into the hands of strangers claiming to be expert drivers.
We decided to check the obituaries in the next town before taking the ride. And so we moved on, going to Arrowtown, another mining town in the 1800’s. It imported Chinese labor, as did so many mining companies, but the Europeans treated them quite badly, resenting their presence, even while depending upon their labor. We stopped along the river at the remnants of one of the Chinese settlements.
The one-room houses were small, just large enough to provide shelter for a few people at night. Darla thought she may have found her dream home….
… but wisely she decided to shop around before making a final decision. The others seemed to have a better location, even though they were not as roomy.
From Arrowtown, we continued to Queenstown, where we took the cable car to the top of the mountain overlooking the city.
For Darla’s sake, we also stopped at a place along a river where she could do some bungy jumping. Although she is the adventurous type, she declined this time. It was too cold, and she didn’t want to get her hair wet. So we were content to watch others do it.
Toward evening, we drove from Queenstown to a place near Kingston, where Trevor had rented a cottage by the lake for the next two nights.
This was the view of the south end of the lake as seen from the front of the house.
We got a good night’s sleep and got off before 8 a.m. the next morning, heading toward Milford Sound.