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New Zealand Trip Report

Day 18 of 24

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Monday, March 18th
Shopping in Queenstown

While our previous room at the St. Moritz had a wonderful view of the parking lot, our current room faced the lake. We pushed aside the curtains in the morning to reveal a glorious view of Lake Wakatipu on a sunny day. Of course it only rains while we hike. We could see the snow-capped peaks of the Remarkables; they hadn't been snow-capped when we first arrived in Queenstown.

View from our hotel room

After breakfast we went to the DoC office to ask them about the Milford Track. I'd seen a few disturbing pictures of trampers wading through knee-deep water and I wanted to see what I was getting myself into. We were starting the Milford track the next day. The DoC staffers assured us that it wouldn't be like that, even if it rained continuously (which it looked like it might, based on the weather forecast). Relieved, we purchased a map of the Milford Track. While we were there we overheard a tramper relate a story of someone who had come to some hut (we're not sure where or on which track) late at night but didn't have a hut ticket. There were beds available and he offered to pay, but the hut warden apparently refused and sent him out in the cold. Seemed pretty heartless and also dangerous -- what if the guy got hypothermia sleeping out in the cold? I know, it's his fault in the first place, but it wouldn't hurt to be a little helpful. I wonder about some of the hut wardens...

We decided to do some shopping to prepare for the expected rain. We had pretty much everything we needed, having done okay on the Routeburn track. However, our boots didn't seem to handle sustained rain very well and our gloves were soaked (although they did still keep us warm). So we bought some waterproofing spray for our Gore-Tex boots. We also picked up a couple of Marmot gloves which were supposed to be made of waterproof materials. I also picked up an Icebreaker merino wool shirt. Coincidentally, we ran into Jackie at the store. She said Tim had just gone on an acrobatic plane ride and he was recovering outside.

After a bit more shopping, we had lunch at Old Man Rock. I had a seafood pesto penne and Jean had lamb in a pita. Everything was excellent. We also ran into Tim and Jackie there, too. Small town.

We walked over to the Alpine Market grocery store. After seeing what people were bringing to eat on the Routeburn track, we decided to splurge a little and take more food on the Milford Track. We had an extra tube with us, so we decided to fill it with Nutella. We bought cheese, nan bread, dried vegetables, soup, more hot chocolate, muesli cereal, tuna, and tea. This would supplement what we were already bringing, though of course we would do some substitutions so as not to bring too much.

We went back to the hotel to take an afternoon nap and start packing yet again. We were all set to go to town to have dinner, but we stopped when we saw a sign by the door. $15 pizza here at the hotel. It looked too good to be true. We relented and decided to eat at the hotel restaurant, Lombardi. We were glad we did. We started off with corn chowder soup followed by seafood pizza and scallop pasta. The pizza was much better than the one at Pasta Pasta. It was filled with salmon, cray fish, and mussels. The service was quick, too.

We walked down to the convenience store to buy a chocolate bar to bring with us on the Milford Track. Then we returned to the hotel and finished packing.

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