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Starlight Hotel

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August 2019 Issue

Ben Lomond, Queenstown

Queenstown is a party town and it’s the last place where I felt like staying. The hills beckoned beyond the tinsel town though, so I boarded the gondola for my escapade.

Past the Skyline Restaurant, I followed the Ben Lomond Walkway into the shady pine forest. Eventually, the sounds of the town were lost to birdsong.

The well-worn path sidled through steep terrain above One Mile Creek and up to a distant saddle. The trail then switched south-west for the final climb to the top of Ben Lomond (1748m).

Short of the saddle, I followed a subsidiary ridgeline back towards Lake Wakatipu. Traversing a sequence of rounded tussock tops and tip-toeing along a serrated spine of rock, I searched for a campsite. Numerous bluffs peppered the slope, but I bravely pitched my tiny tent near a precipice above Horn Creek. It is said that ‘caution is the better part of valour’, but I reckon if ‘you’re not living on the edge, then you’re taking up too much room’.

I enjoyed my lofty seclusion, only a stone’s throw from the madding crowds below. So close, yet so far. My grandstand view included the Shotover River in the north-east, panning along the Kawarau River to Frankton Arm and Peninsula Hill. Presiding over this prime piece of real estate was The Remarkables, stabbing into a star-studded sky.

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Total Ascent
4-6hr to summit (from Lomond Cres)
Skyline Access Road begins at Lomond Crescent. Alternatively, ride the gondola from Brecon Street

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