Day 4-The Blue Pools & Queenstown
Nursing aching hamstrings and buttocks from the previous day’s hike to Roy’s Peak, day 4 was less ambitious. With a 5pm commitment in Queenstown much of our day was spent in the car travelling. Thankfully driving the South Island is an activity in itself, as the region is peppered with National Parks and trails to break up a road trip from town to town. We took full advantage of this, and stopped at The Blue Pools, located within Mount Aspiring National Park.
Access to the Blue Pools involves a short easy walk amongst beech trees in a Tawhero forest. Crossing a swing bridge, with the rushing turquoise waters of the Makaroa river below, and then a gentle (slippery) walk along an embankment grants access to swim or play below alongside the river. The brave jump from the swing bridge on warmer days, which had it not been for the frigid temperatures, I may have been tempted.
Word of caution, sand flies are prevalent in this area. (More about this in NZ Tips).
Had it not been for the heavy down pour we’d have spent several hours playing and exploring this area. However, after two hours we journeyed on towards Queenstown.
Taking the Crown Range road towards Queenstown, things became exciting. With each bend in the road audible gasps of amazement and appreciation became the norm. This stretch in the journey from Wanaka, passed the Blues Pools in Haast, headed towards Queenstown is the pinnacle of beauty. This section of the route is where you want to grab your camera. This route passes through the gold rush town of Cardrona, (note: I’m told Cardrona has a few lovely cafe options to refuel).
Two hours on from the Blue Pools, we arrived in the city centre of Queenstown, just in time to check-in with Staysouth, a very professional and specialised property management agent. Check-in was highly efficient, allowing us to be on our way towards Commonage Villas, our home for the next four nights. Now this one definitely needs a drum roll and an introduction in it’s own right. The villa is definitely an experience into how ‘the other half’ live. My opinion is my own, and not sponsored or endorsed by Staysouth. We were once again fee paying guests of Commonage and wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again. The Villas are an experience in their own right, which most definitely contributed to our positive perception and affection for Queenstown, after all, accommodation is often a destination in it’s own right.
The need for food had us reluctantly leaving the villa within moments of arrival. The acclaimed Fergburger wasn’t possible due to the 40 minute queue for burgers, so Ferg Bakery came to the rescue instead. With zero wait time, and a generous selection of gourmet pastries to choose from, dinner was sorted.
Back in the comfort of our villa, with mountain and lake views from the living and dining rooms the day ended just as it had begun. Perfectly perfect. Yes, it had rained, we’d been bitten by sand-flies, we’d missed out on the hoped for Ferberger hamburger dinner, but there is something so grounding and transforming about the South Island’s untameable wilderness, that everything else begins to seem insignificant.
Balcony life whilst at Commonage Villas, Queenstown