By Daniel Deans, Department of Conservation Intern
This year, for the New Year’s break, my friend and I decided that we’d had enough of big cities, flashing lights and inebriated masses, and that what we were really craving was some space, fresh air, and waking up to the unmistakable smell of a tent.
So camping, we decided, would be the plan of attack this New Year.
We grabbed two more friends and scoured the DOC website for a suitable campsite, and settled on 12 Mile Delta, around 20 minutes from Queenstown.
While the campsite itself isn’t exactly the lap of luxury, the lakeside beaches and the stunning views of the Remarkables certainly made it well worth the $6 a night.
We spent four days camped by the bush, being woken by the ‘whoosh-whoosh’ of kereru flapping overhead. When the sun took the courtesy to appear, we took several dips in the rather icy Lake Wakatipu, including a swim at the idyllic, azure blue Bob’s Cove.
A good walk from the campsite took us to Lake Dispute, nestled in a valley between some rugged looking mountains.
When the rain did arrive (which was unfortunately rather frequently), we retreated to the tent and busted out the Monopoly (in which I discovered, rather too late, that everyone else had been cheating, and I’m still bitter). The rest of the time was spent lying on the lakeside with a good book and a glass of wine, or strumming away on the guitar.
The highlight of the trip was undoubtedly New Year’s Eve. Rather than face the chaotic madness of Queenstown itself, we took our sleeping bags down to the lake front to stare at the stars and listen to the lapping of the lake. When it hit midnight, we could see the flashes of light in the distance as the Queenstown fireworks went off, and heard the occasional thundering boom. All in all, it was exactly the kind of New Year’s break we were looking for!