21.02.2014 - 23.02.2014
We finally made it out of Manapouri, and what had been a very comfortable campsite, and headed north to Arrowtown just outside of Queenstown.
Old truck en route
Our route had to backtrack some of the roads we'd already covered, but we had no choice as there's only one way in and out of the Sounds.
Well today was a first for both of us... we picked up a hitchhiker! To be fair, it's a little different over here, you see a lot of backpackers trying their luck. I think we both felt a bit parental as he was only a young lad and looked chuffed to bits when we stopped. It was only for a few miles down the road anyway and he didn't murder us as it turns out, so it was all good.
Arrowtown is a very cute 1860s goldrush settlement, now a photogenic heritage village offering visitors plenty of shops, restaurants and pubs. It made a nice change to camp somewhere within walking distance of a 'town' centre, so we had a few drinks out for a change.
We stumbled on a great little place tucked away which was reminiscent of an old English pub, with low beams, a wood-burning fire (not on I should add!) and flagstone floor. It actually made me pine a bit for a cosy village inn back home and that feeling you get when it's cold outside and you enter a warm, inviting pub with an open fire. Can't say I've missed the British winter though... especially not the last one!
Most people pass through Arrowtown in a few hours, but we decided to stay for a couple of nights to uncover all of its treasures.
Arrowtown's main street, a row of nineteenth century miners' cottages
We wandered down the main street with its heritage buildings, took a walk aong the river and visited the Chinese Settlement - where some of the earliest Chinese immigrants set up home in extremely humble abodes (basically, huts) to join in the gold mining rush.
Life was tough for them. Despite being invited to mine here, they weren't welcomed and were subjected to significant racism from both the local population and wider press publications of the time. It was so bad in fact, that in more recent times the New Zealand government have formally apologised for their treatment.
A quote from a newspaper at the time...
'For the past week Arrowtown has been the centre of attraction for about 200 Chinese who have made the night hideous with their exploding crackers, and their disgusting presence felt in more ways than one. On Sunday night last, even Europeans, and, we believe, females at that were seen to be playing 'fan-tan' while every night for a week, the Chinese stores have been scenes of indescribable vice and repulsive practices. The opium pipe too, we hear, has been freely dispensed, even to little boys. Several people were seen under the influence of brandy and altogether the Chinese camp has been the sink of iniquity for days and nights past. It seems strange that Europeans should so far forget themselves as to mingle freely with almond eyed, leprosy tainted filthy Chinamen, but the fact is disgusting and lamentable as it may appear.'
Ant mentioned an independent cinema, Dorothy Brown's, that he'd read about which sounded fab. We plumped for August: Osage County, and both enjoyed it. Meryl Streep was pure class as ever. The cinema was wonderful... big comfortable armchairs each with a small drinks rest. There was even an interval, where one could refresh oneself with another pinot gris. How terribly decent of them.
Dotty B's - how going to the movies should be...
After the film Ant treated us to a meal out to celebrate our anniversary, it made for a welcome change to put a dress on, make up and jewellery for the first time in weeks!
Just outside of Arrowtown lie the Crown Range of mountains, through which a pass crosses as NZ's highest sealed road. Views were pretty, pretty good!
Historic Cardrona Hotel along the pass
A character we met who's cycling around NZ... but none of us we were sure what the bras were meant to signify!
Beautiful Lake Hawea
From here, we were heading a bit further north and west to the Tasman Sea coast... and to glacier country!