At the Glenorchy end of Lake Wakatipu there are a couple of islands that you see from the highway, and we have always wanted to kayak there to explore. When we arrived in Queenstown yesterday and saw that the lake was flat and glassy we decided to take the opportunity.
As we neared the island we could see that the bush was quite stunted, and learned that there had been terrible fires back in 1996 and 2003. When we arrived at the beach a curious weka came right up to us – probably to see if it could make off with any of our possessions.
Around the corner we came to a big clearing with a hut. There were about a dozen Italian tourists waiting for a water taxi, with huge amounts of gear. The hut is administered by the local council, but is open to the public on a first-come, first served basis.
We continued around the island, and discovered that the fires had not reached the eastern side, which meant there were large areas of big trees. Unlike the mainland, we could hear loud bird-song – mostly bell-birds but lots of others as well.
There is a freedom camping area beside the road just next to where we launched, but it looked as if it would be quite noisy so we drove part of the way back to another spot at Twenty-Five Mile Stream where we found a lovely spot right next to the lake.
As we were eating dinner we noticed that the wind had risen considerably, and that the lake surface now had white-caps which would have made kayaking unpleasant. We went to sleep listening to the waves lapping on the beach.