The morning brought no improvement in the weather. Both Franz Joseph and Fox glaciers were still hidden from view under a blanket of cloud. We moved on in the hope that, by the time we reached Queenstown, the sun would come out.
Brigid was in a great deal of discomfort with her back, particularly having spent such a restless night. By the time we reached Haast, she was in agony – having been bumped and jolted as the van lurched and swung around SH6, the South Island’s coastal road. Failing to find ibruprofen in her First Aid kit, Brigid swallowed a couple of John’s Tylex, a knockout combination of paracetamol and codeine. This sorted out the pain all right, but the swaying of the van, as we followed the meandering Haast river, soon put Brigid to sleep, and John got no further sense out of her until we stopped at Wanaka for lunch.
From Wanaka we took the steeper mountain route past the ski resort of Cordrona. The South Island has had very little snow this season (none at all in September), and thus the ski season had ended earlier than usual. Certainly there was very little visible evidence of snow.
As we descended the pass, we had one of the most magnificent views of our trip overlooking Arrowtown. The lush green scenery below us gave no hint of the drought that was affecting most of the Island’s farmers.
We arrived in Queenstown at around 3pm and (on account of Brigid’s bad back) checked into a comfortable motel above the lake.
We ate at the bizarre western-themed Lone Star. Neither of us was particularly hungry so we ordered a couple of ‘starters’. Two plates arrived loaded with mounds of nachos and quesidillas – served by a frighteningly obsequious Asian waiter, who rather reminded us of Inspector Clouseau’s Chinese manservant, Kato!