The Remarkables

The Remarkables

Alexander Garvie’s career as a surveyor wasn’t particularly long, however he did achieve one remarkable accomplishment in his lifetime. British-born, Alexander Garvie left the English port of Gravesend on the ship Blundell, arriving in New Zealand in September 1848. Initially working as a carpenter and builder, Garvie retrained as a surveyor in the early 1850’s and went on to obtain the position of Assistant Surveyor in the Otago Regional Council. Taking part in many surveying developments in Otago and Southland, his most notable legacy is in naming The Remarkable mountain range in Queenstown. The story goes that during a reconnaissance survey in 1857, Garvie came into view of a spectacular and stunning mountain range that he exclaimed was “Remarkable.” Unfortunately Garvie he died only four years later in Dunedin, in 1861. For Alexander Garvie, his surveying career lasted less than 10 years but within that time he named a spectacular piece of South Island scenery.

The Remarkables

The Remarkables – Buy 

I was staying the night in Frankton near Queenstown in South Islands Lakes District. In the last few years the development and growth in Frankton has been quite amazing. So, I found myself staying there the night before an early morning flight from Queenstown Airport the next morning. Late in the afternoon I went for a walk on a section of the Twins River Trail which is part of the Queenstown Great Ride’ network that follows the iconic Kawarau and Shotover Rivers and provides wonderful views of The Remarkables.

The Remarkables

The Remarkables – Buy 

The next day, I moved accommodation from Queenstown to Frankton as I needed to be closer to the airport. I was flying to the North Island early the following day, so I figured being a short distance from the airport would make life easier first thing in the morning. I was staying at the La Quinta Hotel and after checking-in and exploring my room for a few minutes, which included turning all the switches on and off to see what they did, I went for a walk. It was late in the day and a big bank of clouds was rolling in over The Remarkables and the Kawarau River, threatening to rain.

Kelvin Heights & The Remarkables

Kelvin Heights and The Remarkables – Buy 

At Arrowtown I took Malaghans and Gorge Road (through Arthurs Point) to Queenstown. The hills were covered in clouds and the lake was darker than expected with patches of strong wind gusts creating a choppy surface in the distance. There can be no doubt that the scenery around Queenstown is quite stunning however the lake is something just as special. People often comment about the unique colour of Lake Wakatipu, which is created by glacial dust from crushed rocks falling into the lake from rivers at the head lake I had read.  

As special as the scenery is, navigating the town can be something of a nightmare and deciding I couldn’t face the overcrowded town centre, I headed straight for my accommodation looking across the lake to the suburb of Kelvin Heights and The Remarkables.

The Remarkables At Dusk

The Remarkables at dusk Buy 

Usually, when I travel to the Queenstown-Lakes District I generally try to avoid Queenstown by either staying in Arrowtown or continuing up Lake Wakatipu to Glenorchy. Last year, for something different, I went through Frankton and headed down the lake to Kingston. 

Recently, needing to travel to Wellington, I decided to fly from Queenstown rather than Dunedin, but wanting to avoid Queenstown I stayed a night in Frankton. After driving 3 and a half hours from Dunedin, I found my hotel, unpacked and walked outside to be just in time for the sun to be setting behind The Remarkables as a large bank of cloud was rolling in at the end of the day.

The Remarkables From Queenstown

The Remarkables From Queenstown – Buy 

By the time I reached the end of the Queenstown Wharf the sun was already starting to disappear. The afternoon was moving towards early evening and the last patches of sunlight lit up The Remarkables mountain range that dominated the skyline across the bay. The bay itself was already in shadows as were the trees that lined the distant shoreline and it wouldn’t be long before the last of the sunlight was gone. A cool wind started to whip across the lake. It was time to find a place to eat.