On Day 11 of our big trip, the second-to-last day, we left our friends’ house in Te Anau fairly early and started our two biggest days of travel on the entire trip. We first drove to Queenstown, which took a couple of hours. It poured for awhile, and was cloudy the rest of the day, but the scenery was still incredible.
We drove along this lake for a long time. Queenstown is on the far end of it.
Notice the name on the brown sign? We were were going up the Devil’s Staircase here!
We stopped for a few minutes at a lookout. We would have stayed longer to enjoy the scenery, but a small person in the family had an emergency need, so we got moving again quickly.
Almost to Queenstown!
I think this is the other side of Queenstown, on our way to Cromwell.
Cromwell is a fruit-growing center, so we stopped at a few shops to buy peaches, apricots, and plums. At one, we bought ice creams for the children. Can you tell that Miss Joy loves ice cream?
This place had incredible gardens we could wander through.
This lavender farm was right outside Cromwell.
Mr. Imagination always kept Miss Joy happy when he rode beside her. They spent a lot of time playing with wet wipes. Miss Joy scrubbed her face, neck, hands and feet very thoroughly, over and over!
We stopped in Wanaka just long enough to fuel up the vans, and then headed across Haast Pass. We were no longer in the mood for any sightseeing!
Heading up into the mountains!
After we crossed the pass and were again on the West Coast (notice the difference in vegetation?), we stopped at a waterfall. We saw this log covered with piles of rocks!
The boys enjoyed climbing on the rocks and skipping small ones.
The rocks were all like these.
We debated for awhile about driving the rest of the way home, or camping in a DOC campground a little way down the road. We had about five hours yet to reach home, and it was 3:00 in the afternoon. What a hard decision! We finally decided to stay at the campground and go home the next day, according to our original plan. At the campground, we discovered a creek along a track in the bush. I let the children play in it, and they had great fun! The older boys skipped stones, and coached the little boys in building a dam, and the girls played in the water. It wasn’t very warm, but not cold, either. We had enough clothes for the rest of the way home, so I decided not to worry about wet clothing—we had watertight tubs to put them in for the last leg of the trip!
This was our last night camping with the vans!
I cooked a stew on the campstove in the small picnic area, and we thoroughly enjoyed being by ourselves again!
See how the beds were set up? It was surprisingly comfortable—and quite cozy!
Esther took several short video clips of the fun at the creek—enjoy this glimpse into our evening!
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