I had a long, eight hour bus journey from Fox Glacier to Queenstown ahead of me. So the night before, I asked Intercity Buses if I could reserve a front seat on the bus because I get motion sickness easily and surprisingly they said yes. I thought because of it being a busy route to Queenstown that it might not be possible to do this but I very gladly got a front seat the whole way to Queenstown.
We had a few touristy stops along the way, thankfully, to break the journey. One particular place we stopped at was called Bruce Bay. It’s a small village, surrounded by forest and small farming communities in the Mahitahi and Makawhio River valleys, three hours drive from Wanaka. There is a lot of driftwood on this beach and a great photo opportunity for tourists on their way south. We got off the bus here and all the sand flies got on! So needless to say, I was scratching like a trooper by the time I got to Queenstown.
There are some really remote areas in this part of the South Island. Paringa, a tiny little spot, twenty minutes drive further south, is the last village for 50km where they have electric power. People who live in this area use solar energy, diesel generators or hydro power from the river. This part of the road to Haast was only finished in 1965. There were two stunning lakes on the route to Queenstown: Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. When we came over the brow of a hill, there was a glorious view of Lake Hawea before us. The left hand side of the lake ran a merry dance around the edge of the lake and even though the weather wasn’t the brightest, it was still an amazing view. I got to the hostel: the Alpine Lodge, on Gorge Rd at around 6.30pm. It’s quite a nice hostel, clean and only ten minutes walk to the city centre.