Have Car, Will Travel. Will go off the beaten track. Will follow hair-brained ideas.
We heard from two different people that a very special, rare gemstone, a special “greenstone” could only be found one place in the entire world. Hollyford, Gunns Camp, deep in Fjordland Park. From Manapouri it was 2 hours north, then 2 hours back the same road, then 2 hours to Queenstown, our next stop.
Off we went.
To say this place is remote is an understatement. We wound around roads slicked by incessant rain, drove up mountains and down valleys. And finally we arrived.
The few cabins, each devoid of conveniences,are totally booked night after night. Stoves provide warmth and groups renting them provide memorable moments. And yes, they sell the only known Bowenite greenstone in the world. Its history and story involves the Maori,an entrepreneur, and good luck. Here’s mine,although I must admit that I chose an iridescent variety rather than the dark green. Somehow, it just appealed to me more. You know me, always a bit on the outer cusp of things!
The camp itself is a throwback to sometime in the past. Maybe the 1930’s??
Now if the govt had built that road, we would have travelled just 17 km to Queenstown. But NOoooooo……..we had to totally retrace our steps back to Te Anau (great town near Manapouri),then east to Queenstown. . .over 300 km. But we did. And on the way back we stopped off at Cascade Creek.
We estimated that there were no less than 5 acres of lupines. The sight was magnificent! They were everywhere you looked and Don happened to snap one of the best all time photos of. . . .ME!
A nature walk in the same area. . .around Lake Gunn. . .led us into “the forest primeval”. . .a wonderland of mossy beech trees and ancient growths.
And then it was off to Queenstown, where we are staying in our best,most fabulous accommodations yet. We’re right on the lake, walked less than 10 minutes to dinner at the Frankton Arm Tavern, and have new friends, Quentin and Jo, our hosts. Here’s the view from our room. . .but more on that tomorrow. Good night!!