Cromwell to Queenstown - Retyrement on 2 Wheels 5 - CycleBlaze

March 9, 2021 to March 10, 2021

Cromwell to Queenstown

We move on to Queenstown Trails and the temperature drops ...briefly.

Days 14 & 15 March 9 & 10 Tuesday & Wednesday 

Queenstown  47kms

 We move on to Queenstown Trails and the temperature drops ...briefly.

 Tuesday. After packing we wait for Steve who arrives in the now almost brand spanking new Transit. Bikes loaded, we head for Queenstown. All the way through the Kawarau Gorge we look to see how it could be managed by bike. Steve is adamant that it’s not a good idea. ‘The Dutch and the German cyclists do it ,’ he tells us but the narrow road and frequent bends mean trucks aren’t prepared for what’s around the corner. He makes it sound like they have a death wish. The Gibbston Valley section is much straighter. It’ll be interesting to see how/if they complete the rest of the Gibbston Valley trail to Cromwell. 

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Steve finds our motel on the lakeside- which may be why it’s called Lakeside Motel. We find our room and are also pleased to find a little space in front where we can securely stash out our bikes. We are just enjoying a settling in cuppa, when Earnslaw  passes by on the lake, giving a blast on her horn. 

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We take a walk around town Queenstown is a reminder of the busier world beyond the wilds of Central, though, in reality, there’s a scarcity of tourists about. Many staff of cafes and stores seem to be Europeans caught by Covid. Then we cycle out to the Frankton marina in order to get a feel for the track. It’s a pleasant ride even on a cold day and we decide that we will try the Kelvin Peninsula tomorrow.

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Boatshed Cafe.
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Wednesday. rain is forecast, but we get away in clear weather. We are wearing several layers though- this morning feeling like an Autumnal change. We follow the same route as yesterday, through the gardens and along the water to Frankton stopping at the old Boatshed Cafe for a couple of lattes. The building has quite a history, having been a railway ticket office and then a holiday bach with a boatshed attached. In the same locale there are several traditional old baches, a couple with massive, green front lawns, one of which had a sprinkler watering despite the threatening rain.  

Traditional baches.
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Latte at the lakeside.
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Frankton end of the lake.
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Below state of the art school buildings.
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One of the information boards in the cafe explains that Queenstown was on the Pounamu path - precious greenstone was taken from the west coast to the east coast, and being swampy in places, was also a valued as an area for food - Moa, eels, and Te kouka (cabbage trees.) 

A little further on we cross the river at the Kawarau Falls bridge and continue around the waterfront for the 17km trail of the Kelvin Peninsula. The trail is rather up and down but passes through areas beautifully planted in both natives and exotics. Kelvin Peninsula and kelvin Heights were actually named after commercial launch operator Jock Edgar’s launch, Kelvin. Who then, did he name his launch after? Coolidge perhaps.

Kawarau Falls Bridge.
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Early 20th century generator part retrieved from the river.
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The peninsula path is planted in attractive natives and exotics.
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The rain sets in just as we reach a wooden shelter at a boating club near the end of the peninsula. It’s beautiful looking across the water to Queenstown through the misty air. Once the rain stops, we head around the top of the peninsula where there’s a golf links as well as some splendid sculptures, the three billy goats being quite lifelike but humorous at the same time. 

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Lunch stop, out of the rain.
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Apparently there have been attempts to build a variety of hotels, and other tourist attractions on this peninsula which started as a place for simple holiday baches. Mostly all defeated, except for the golf course. Around the top of the peninsula are some pretty little bays where the clarity of the water is quite astonishing even for a cloudy day. 

It’s getting cold so the wet and chill factor prompt a swift return on the road for a start and then back to the trail. Closer to Queenstown, we spot the Earnslaw out on the water, a puff of smoke identifying its position at first as it approaches through the misty air. There’s also a crazed jet skier barrelling and pirouetting up and down and around the lake. 

We head in for something stronger than tea and a look at the map of the trail to Arrowtown.

Today's ride: 47 km (29 miles)
Total: 504 km (313 miles)

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