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Thursday 25 Mar 2004
Queenstown, New Zealand


Im still in Queenstown. Yesterday I took the opportunity of a good spell in the weather to venture up the hefty driveway to the ski resort on the Remarkables mountain range. The drive was on the worst gravel road Ive been on yet, made worse by the fact that the climb was on a narrow 5 metre wide at a 30 degree climb (or thereabouts). On the edge of the road is a sheer drop (down 1000 metres at the top!). Lets say it was fairly nerve racking driving up and then having a jeep come plundering down the roadway at breakneck speed, forcing me to steer even closer to the cliff edge while my wheels loosely grip the gravel. Oh but it was worth it I can tell ya!

Eventually I made it to the top in one piece. At the top of the road is a ski resort. It was like a ghost town now though since its closed till the snow starts falling. All around the chairlifts hang like coathangers creeking quietly as they sway in the wind. Boy was it cold though! The wind must have lowered the temperature down to zero, despite the fact that only half an hour ago I was in 25 degree heat at the bottom. Thats New Zealand for ya...

The climb up near the peak of the Remarkables left from the resort and soon the track became a rugged slippy climb up snow-covered slopes... err or maybe I just lost my way. Actually yeah thats what happened. No sooner was I half-way up and clinging onto a craggy, loosening rock than I looked over and noticed the track was well over to my right... doh too late to reach it at that stage though!

You read that right, it was snow-covered up here! Excellent, after seeing all those snow-covered peaks from a distance throughout South Island I finally got the chance to walk on that stuff!! Wahay!

Somehow I managed to crawl up the steep loose mountain side to the top (having nearly slipped and fallen to my death a few times .. I kid you not, it aint an easy climb!!). The view up here was breathtaking! In fact it had the best vista Ive seen yet in New Zealand as I looked down on snow-covered valleys joined by lush green and brown sunny mountains with sheep (hundreds of them) running through the pastures. Awesome feeling... plus it was free

Ive gotten around to getting some photos burnt to cd so Ill stop jabbering and put em up here... next stop is Fiordland to the west.

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