Labour weekend fun in Central Otago


This weekend was a public holiday weekend  (Labour day on Monday) so we made the most of the trip to Cromwell for my ‘Ultra’ regatta and made it into a weekend holiday. 

The regatta started at Cromwell (pictured behind us here) and finished at Clyde, that’s 17km down the river. Further than I have ever rowed all in one sitting that is for sure!!

So, we decided to camp one night in Cromwell, so we were ready and already in location for the very early start off.

We had a wee wander round the town before locating dinner, then bed, ready for an early start! Cromwell used to be further down the valley, but the town was completely flooded when they built the Clyde Dam to create Hydro electric power. Some of the buildings have been rescued and rebuilt. There is only one pub that remains in Cromwell, from the original town – it used to be the ‘Top Pub’!

The morning was an early start, 7am for rigging. We were told that the water was rough, so the smaller boats were not allowed to race. That left just the quads and the 8’s, rigged this year for 2 oars each, that makes them octo’s!

Mark went off down to the other end to wait for us to finish, and did a nice wee run up them steep hills while he waited! It was a stunningly scenic row, here is the full details about the race. GoPro footage to follow!!

From there, we drove up to Wanaka. I haven’t been here before, so I was really looking forward to it. This is where we will be doing the Challenge Wanaka race next February, as a team. It was real cool to see the place. It is just too stunning for words, but my my, you have to be wealthy to live here!!

Lake Wanaka I could stay up here for weeks and never get bored, there are so many tracks to walk and sports to try. Its such a great place, but only to visit, its also very commercial, as you can imagine. We opted for a cabin this time, as the weather was forecast to drop to 0-6 overnight, although the weather was so stunning it was hard to imagine that was possible! So, this was our nice simple cabin, and I mean SIMPLE! It was basically a tent, but will walls and a bed! Still, served the purpose and the view out the window in the morning was mountains!

We had a drive around, checked out the routes for the race, and so on. We did drive a part of the way into the Mount Aspiring national park. I couldn’t help myself but go for a quick stroll to a nearby lake, while Mark went off to take photos. Mountain climbers, cyclist, trampers, you name it the people were out there.

Here’s a wee 5×5 video of my walk.

On our drive around to check out the run course, we came upon a river, at Albert Town. There was some loud music going on, on the opposite bank. We decided to take a drive around there thinking it was just some loud campers or some kind of market. No, it was the ‘Wanakafest’ Dean’s Ridge endurance race. You can enter solo, or as a team, and the aim is to cycle the 10km Deans Ridge track, as many times as you can in the alloted ten hours. When we left there was less than an hour to go and the leader had completed 16 laps!! Have a look at this!

The course apparently, is quite simple. Although, I am not sure I would completely agree. Nevertheless the atmosphere was fab, even from the competitors!! I want a go!! Who wants to be in my team next year? It’s open to anyone, there were young kids doing it even.

IMG_5206On the way to leaving Wanaka, we stopped in at Puzzle World. WOW, that place is crazy! Specially the sloping room, which made me feel quite sea sick! As we walked into the foyer the cafe in seats were all full, and everyone looked real busy. I didn’t understand until I noticed they were all doing puzzles!! We got caught in that trap also, before we even got in through the main doors!

There were illusions, a weird tilted room, all sorts of things, It was a fascinating place. Check out the roman photo that I found in the foyer of the public toilets…

Then there was the maze. We decided on the ‘easy’ challenge, just to find the four corners. Wow, that took us longer than we thought!

Then we took the scenic route back to Queenstown, and home. Through the crown range. Wow. just Wow. This is the highest sealed road in New Zealand apparently, and the views from the top were just amazing.


It is clearly a road that gets closed a lot in winter, as there were several ‘snow chains’ stops, and a sign telling you if the road was open or not. I bet the winter view is equally as stunning.

A quick wee stop in the quaint little Arrowtown for lunch, then on home. Arrowtown is an old gold mining town, very cute, and now a tourist hot spot.