Te Araroa Trail Arrowtown to Queenstown
I enjoyed breakfast out this morning in Arrowtown, waiting for what little rain there was, to pass so I could get on my was to Queenstown. Unfortunately it was one of those brekkies where they fill a teeny tiny plate to make it look like a decent size, but actually it’s a very small breakfast…hurrumph. Te Araroa Trail Arrowtoen Queenstown.
I started walking at 10.15am. The sun was out by now and it was another scorcher of a day.
Out of Arrowtown the trail went through the Millbrook resort, country club, golf course and luxury housing estate. It was a pure slice of Americana. With it’s landscaped, lawns, water features, faux stone houses etc. it seemed completely out of place in New Zealand – where you can’t actually get any better than the real countryside just on the doorstep – which had no doubt been bulldozed to create this place. I found it quite surreal!
Lake Hayes Te Araroa Tail Arrowtown Queenstown
The trail led to Lake Hayes, which was extremely beautiful, with the backdrop of the Remarkables mountain range. It then led to the Kawarau river. Note that the first toilet of this morning was after about 12kms (after Lake Hayes estate as you join the Kawarau river) and there is possible wild camping here too.
The trail followed the river for a while, and passed a huge construction site – loads of housing going up on the Kawarau river flood plain – which didn’t seem like a very sensible idea to me.
At 2.30pm I crossed the Shotover river (loos here too) via a restored historic bridge. I was pretty tired by now, but still had around 15kms to go.. I was feeling every kilometre in the hot sun.(This epic weather window had been with me since the Motatapu Track!). The trail went up into Frankton, which is pretty much one huge building site – loads of development going on. There’s a massive Pak n Save and Countdown here, if you want better price/selection of groceries than in Queenstown. I stocked up on a few bits and pieces, and had a late lunch.
Afterwards, the trail skirted the events centre then the airport, then led down to the beautiful Queenstown lakefront for the last 8kms or so. The trail got pretty busy here with cyclists, runners & tourists promenading. The views over lake Wakatipu are splendid, and the lake is clear and clean. It’s possible to swim all the way along.
I got into Queenstown at 5.30pm and arrived at the Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park. Curly and Max were here – Yay! We chatted for a while as I set up my tent then I popped out for a quick dinner. I think all things considered this was the worst value for money campsite of the entire TA. On the plus side, it was close to town – which I guess is what you’re paying for. On the minus side, it’s fairly obvious that hikers, trampers, backpackers (anyone in a tent) isn’t their main priority. For your $40 campsite cost, you literally get packed in like sardines with your tent a metre away from the next, on a hill. In terms of TA (and probably ‘ever’ if I’m honest..) this was the worst pitch I think I’ve ever had. Te Araroa trail Arrowtown Queenstown.
I didn’t recognise any of Queenstown from my trip here 12 years ago – it’s got so big, and everything has changed. I didn’t expect to like it, but I really did. I’m looking forward to my rest day tomorrow, and a bit of a poke around.