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Old Posted Feb 11, 2017, 4:55 AM
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hkskyline hkskyline is offline
Hong Kong
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 6,196
hkskyline's 2016 exploring New Zealand - From Queenstown Through Lindis Pass

With the $125 refund from the previous day's unexpected disaster in Milford Sound, I rented a car for the day for a drive from Queenstown through Lindis Pass and hopefully spot Mount Cook from the other side (I previously did a helicopter tour out of Fox). The weather was once again picture-perfect today. The storms from a few days ago were long gone although the snow was still very visible down the mountains.

Good morning, Queenstown!

First stop was Lake Hayes. Since it was morning and the sun came up from the east, the lighting was perfect when I stopped at the public park on the east side of the lake.

Encouraged, I decided to drive up to the Crown Range, where I had driven the other way from Wanaka a few days earlier in the white-out snowstorm. I couldn't see beyond 100 feet that day. What a difference now!

After my mini-detour, I headed back down and continued along the highway to Cromwell, winding through the Kawarau Gorge. Seems the water was more turquoise than Hokitika Gorge.

Lake Dunstan looked great in the morning sun with snow-capped mountains on the other side making a picturesque backdrop. So it was time to go crazy stopping frequently to enjoy the views.

There were many campgrounds and parks along the way with safe places to stop as I headed north. Most were utterly empty except a few campers every now and then. There is plenty of real estate for everyone.

A million photos later, the lake faded away and the surroundings became more arid. I had read the rain shadow effect is quite prominent on the other side of the coastal mountains. But snow soon came on the horizon after I passed Tarras, and the gentle climb through the Lindis Pass began.

The mountains here were not as tall, but with snow reaching the road level, the white wonderland was far more pronounced here than in Queenstown. There was no ice or snow on the highway itself - the sun had melted it away as expected. There wasn't much traffic today, so I made my way slowly to the observation point.

While my GPS would tell me the maximum speed limit, many curves and slopes have additional guidance on safe speeds. The drive may not look long on the map, but travel times won't reflect average 100 km/h speeds.

Yikes! It took me 3 hours to get through the Lindis Pass from Queenstown thanks to my photography bonanza!

The other side of the pass was quite barren with barely any trees in sight.

More photos on my website : http://www.globalphotos.org/nz-lindis.htm
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