Daisies at the Lower Reaches
Imagine for a moment the letter “S”. Now stretch it horizontally until the connection between the upper and lower arms of the S is almost vertical. and then rotate it 90 degrees to the left. It now looks a bit like a fork of lightning. Are you still with me? That is the distinctive shape of Lake Whakatipu in Central Otago’s “Lakes” region. Imagine then that the popular tourist town of Queenstown is near the corner of the zigzag before the vertical drop.
This image was taken near the southern end of that vertical drop.
The southern arm of Lake Whakatipu “below” Queenstown is known as the Kingston Arm, named after the small town that used to be the terminus for the railway line from Dunedin. Kingston is also the place where the famous lake steamer TSS Earnslaw was brought in parts, assembled and launched . The Wikipedia account of this remarkable story is shown below:
“At the beginning of the twentieth century, New Zealand Railways awarded 21,000 pounds to John McGregor and Co shipbuilders of Dunedin to build a steamship for Lake Wakatipu. TheEarnslaw was named after Mount Earnslaw, a 2889 metre peak at the head of Lake Wakatipu. She was to be 48 metres long, the biggest boat on the lake. Transporting the Earnslaw was no easy task. When construction was finally completed she was dismantled. All the quarter inch steel hull plates were numbered for reconstruction much like a jig-saw puzzle. Then the parts were loaded on to a goods train and transported across the South Island from Dunedin to Kingston at the southern end of Lake Wakatipu.
Six months later, after being rebuilt, on 24 February 1912, the TSS Earnslaw was launched and fired up for her maiden voyage to Queenstown, with the Minister of Marine as captain.”
She then became a valuable vessel for the New Zealand Railways (NZR) and was known as the “Lady of the Lake”.
But that’s another story.
It was late in the afternoon as we approached the lake from the southern end. After stopping briefly at Kingston to look at the “Kingston Flyer” steam train (sadly mothballed at the time), made famous in the 1980s in a TV chocolate advertisement, we recommenced our journey to Queenstown. Just as the lake came into view we were presented with this field of daisies between the brown seeding Dock weeds. It was the contrast between the white of the daisies and the green and brown of the pasture that first caught the eye. The slopes of Mt Dick fall to the lake on the left of the image, and in the distance the Remarkables drop to the lake on the right. Queenstown is around the corner to the left at the far end of the view.