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postcards from wakatipu

postcards from wakatipu

have you seen the TV series top of the lake?
well that is set near lake wakatipu in the south island of NZ


we took a long weekend last weekend, flying to queenstown friday morning, hiring a car and (after a quick wander around queenstown and a delicious lunch at madam woo) we drove up through glenorchy to kinloch lodge at the top of the lake.

saturday morning i get up before sunrise and put on every warm piece of clothing i brought with me. it’s a frosty morning with amazing clear skies and an incredibly still lake, aside from the occasional splash of a duck or shag diving for fish. after a few photos, i text nic and tell him to get up and come see. there’s mist rising off the lake as the sun comes over the mountains and it’s breath-takingly, description-defyingly beautiful.

we wander inside as the mountain tops turn pink, for a nice big breakfast. then we drive up the road to paradise until it’s time to turn around and head to glenorchy. we have a quick bite to eat, then spend the afternoon on a 4WD tour with glenorchy journeys. it’s a lovely afternoon and we visit some places we’d not have got to by ourselves.

back at the lodge, we grab an early dinner, stopping to chat with patrick, the chef and author/photographer of a lovely cookery book called the kitchen sink. it’s a great read, with some delicious-sounding recipes (of course i bought a copy and he very kindly signed it for me). i’m looking forward to dipping into it for inspiration in the coming weeks.


there’s low cloud hanging over the lake when i get up to catch the morning light, so i make a couple of photographs and climb back into bed for a bit to stay warm. after a hearty breakfast we head up to the greenstone/caples track and walk up to the confluence. After a drink of the crystal-clear, cold water we head back to the car and back to the lodge so Nic can make handsome sandwiches and i can post a photo from paradise.

sunday afternoon we walk the first part of the routeburn track, one of new zealand’s great walks. it takes us a couple of hours to get up to the hut on the routeburn flats and i wasn’t sure i really wanted to walk that far, but the view up there is magnificent. sandwiches in the sunshine is the perfect way to relax after the walk up. on the way back down i twist my ankle and hobble the remainder – more annoyed than incapacitated, but looking forward to putting my feet up at the end of the day with a big plate of delicious nachos and a glass of mulled wine.


monday morning, after eating all the rest of the food we’d brought with us, we drive back towards queenstown, then head up to the remarkables ski area. there’s no snow on the road all the way up, but the carpark is packed and there’s plenty of people on the only-slightly-snowy slopes.

madam woo was so good we go back there for lunch again before the flight home. i can highly recommend a visit if you’re ever in the area – try the hawker rolls and, even if you don’t need to go, check out the passage to the loos.

[more photos in the wakatipu gallery, which you will find right here]