Right, now where was I?

Oh yes, I had just spent time in little Arrowtown.

After that, my parents flew into Queenstown! We hit the highlights – wandering around town, they went to a Kiwi bird park, Arrowtown and Ben Lomond (some of these photos will be theirs).

First, my parents got a scenic flight from Auckland to Queenstown thanks to the stellar weather. This was their view as they flew down the South Island.

One of the huge glacial lakes (Tekapo or Pukaki, I’m not sure) and the west coast laying beyond, quite a nice sight to see! Once they arrived in Queenstown, we toured the town and had a relaxing first day while they recouped from a long day of travel.

The next day it was the first day of hiking! Off to Arrowtown we went, which was showing good fall colours now.

We hiked the Sawpit Gully track, a 2-3 hour ‘moderate to high’ fitness required track, which had us going up and over hills.

We weren’t the only ones out there, quite a few goats were watching us from upon high.

Then it was just down to enjoying the rolling and folding hills.

I think we were supposed to pose for this shot back to back, but didn’t follow instructions very well.

Coming back down into Arrowtown.

From there, we jumped into the car and went through Queenstown to the other enjoyable, quiet town nearby – Glenorchy.

Here, we did a river and lagoon walk, nice and flat after the more strenuous climb in Arrowtown.

Lots of big black swans on the lake, with Mt. Earnslaw rising up in the background.

That made for a busy 2nd day, but it was in preparation for a tiring, exhausting and rewarding 3rd day. Tackling the Ben Lomond summit.

Not for the feint hearted at all, the 1750m peak is a serious 5-6 hour return climb. But my parents wanted to make it to at least the saddle, and we made it there without issue.

Great views from the saddle, but my parents were determined – you don’t hike all this way up and not do the last 1/3. The toughest and most brutal 1/3, but the peak is the goal.

So up we went.

Taking a break, looking back down to the saddle far below.

After a tough climb, we were rewarded with stellar and clear views from the peak.

Looking towards Glenorchy from the peak.

After a much deserved break, snack and water, we made our descent back to Queenstown.

We made one final stop at the Gondola for some photos before riding it to the bottom.

Where, wonder upon wonders, delicious Fergburgers awaited us. So incredibly tasty after an exhausting day out in the sun!

My parents headed to Milford Sound the next day on a long (12 hour) day trip, while I relaxed in Queenstown. For the next day, we had a long drive ahead of us, up to Franz Josef!

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