Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

30 September 2010

Central Otago: The Crown Range

The drive from Arrowtown to Wanaka can be striking but mundane via the safe main roads or even more striking and really exciting (but still safe these days) over this, the Crown Range. From Arrowtown (or Queenstown) you cross the Arrow River bridge and immediately turn left to wind up, via a series of hairpin bends, the steep face that overlooks the Arrowtown basin. Once you get to the top you pause to admire the superb view and then start a gradual descent  to Wanaka, passing the old hotel at Cardrona (now flossied up for the tourists) and the access to the Cardrona ski-field.

The real glory of this trip lies in its wonderful hills which, like those at the Lindis Pass, look as if they're covered in a pilled greeny-yellowy blanket, soft and cuddly. The road (see bottom right of the picture) is an intrusion; one almost feels that the hills should have been left alone.

Imagine all of this greeness changed to pristine white in the ski-ing season. That's what the Crown Range looks like in winter: glorious but often impassable by road.


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By Don Donovan