Queenstown (3) – Ben Lomond Track

Sunday 11/03

We wake up around 8am.

No homeschooling this morning. Isabelle tries to book our airline tickets for our… last flight: from New York to Brussels, mid-August! And I keep on catching up with the blog, as often when we stay for a few days at the same place, in an Airbnb). The internet connection is so good here!

Today we plan to walk the Ben Lomond Track.

Only Ludivine is coming with us. We don’t try to convince Jules and Florence because it’s a tough 14km, 6-hour walk and because on Wednesday (in 3 days) we do the 3-day Routeburn Track. They prefer to chill in the very comfy Airbnb.

The weather is great.

We take the gentler option and grab a ride up the Skyline Gondola, saving ourselves a 450-metre climb up (and one hour of work). From there (at about 800m altitude), we enter alpine tussocks and shrubs, climbing to the 1,326m Ben Lomond Saddle, with uninterrupted view of Ben Lomond in all its glory. There’s a nice bench here to sit and take a rest (we’ve already eaten our sandwiches). The last part of the hike climbs steeply and is rocky in places, zig-zagging a few times before curving around the back of the peak before summiting quite abruptly. It’s a very steep trail along exposed ridgelines with panoramic views gracing the entire route. From the top (1,748m), we have clear impressive views across Lake Wakatipu to the Remarkables mountain range and down to Queenstown. Moke Lake is visible far down below and the Southern Alps stretch off into the distance to the northeast. The views are simply incredible. It was arduous but well worth it. Ludivine, who hesitated to continue after the saddle, is happy to have continued and to have reached this rewarding summit.

We go down, which is not as tough but still tiring for the knees. We are glad we bought the walking poles yesterday.

We’re happy to reach the top of the gondolas (around 5:30pm). Back in town, we reward ourselves with a good ice cream at Mrs Ferg. Florence and Jules, who went for a walk during our absence, also bought an ice cream there.

We come back home around 7pm.

I prepare pasta.

Isabelle manages to book our flights New York – Brussels: we’ll arrive in Brussels (by train, from Paris) on Tuesday 14 August, after 13 months (395 days) of travel. Today, we’ve been traveling for 238 days. 157 days more. Yippee!

We work till 1am. These posts take a lot of time. I’m sure that on average I spend 1 to 2 hour(s) per day working on them (probably closer to 2 hours). Too much? Yes, probably, but it will make great memories, which we will probably cherish for life.


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