An MTMD Guest Post from Dave at Is a mans world.
The Remarkables are an extremely steep, rugged mountain range that rise to a height of 2234 meters and dominate the Queenstown, New Zealand landscape. In 1857, a European surveyor gave the range its English name. They are located in the south-west of the South Island, or about 285 km (177 mi) west of Dunedin in the Otago region.
In pre-European times, the Queenstown area was a stopover for Maori prospectors on the fabled greenstone (a type of jade, called pounamu by Maori) route to the West Coast. European sheep-farming settlers arrived in 1860, followed two years later by gold miners seeking nuggets and powdered gold in the Shotover River. The gold rush that ensued lasted only until 1865, but small gold-mining ventures still remain which can still be explored by 4WD wilderness tours.
The mountains were allegedly named The Remarkables because they are one of only two mountain ranges in the world which run directly north to south. An alternate explanation for the name given by locals is that early Queenstown settlers, upon seeing the mountain range during sunset one evening, named them the Remarkables to describe the sight.
Queenstown is the South Island's premier tourist resort, and tourists agree that the Remarkables live up to its name by rising sharply to create an impressive backdrop for the lake waters that lap at the shore Queenstown is built upon. Queenstown is not only famous for jet boating, skiing (there's 220 skiable hectares accessed by three quad chair lifts within three sunny, wide open bowls. For the first timer through to the seasoned expert, skiers of all skill levels will be challenged by narrow chutes and rock drops;) bungee jumping, adventure sports, and spectacular scenery, but it's also famous for the filming of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Compare the mountains above in this still from The Return of the King with this daylight shot of The Remarkables below:
Can you tell that they are the same mountains? This same shot of The Remarkables was used over and over again throughout The Lord of the Rings and the various landscapes were digitally added at the base of the mountains and the features of Queenstown removed. Here's another view of The Remarkables just peaking out above the clouds. Shots like this were also used dramatically in the scenes where the beacons at Minas Tirith where lit and in succession from the White City to Rohan in the pivotal scene where Gondor calls on Rohan for aid.
The area contains a number of beautiful features, such as Lake Alta, a small lake nestled within a natural amphitheater at the head of a glacial valley and below the towering Double Cone peaks. Glacial tarns, schist outcrops and bluffs, waterfalls, unique flora and fauna, recreation opportunities and spectacular views over Lake Wakatipu draw large numbers of visitors to this special area. High points in the range include Double Cone (2340 meters) and Ben Nevis (2330 meters, which is named after a Scottish mountain of the same name).
If you are in New Zealand and you are looking for fun then you can't go past The Remarkables. The Remarkables are all about fun, families, freestyle and the love of the big mountain environment. Sitting high above Queenstown the scenery is stunning. The sun shines all day, and the fun & entertainment never stops. The emphasis here is on entertainment with live music on the decks of the ski resorts and the festivals such as The Remarkables Spring Carnival which attract a huge following. There are plenty of places to just kick back, fuel up and bask in the sun too. Then when you feel recharged, head to the UP&GO Terrain Park or go off-piste for extreme riding and skiing. For something a little different, try the Ozone Tubing Park.
Thanks Dave for an awesome post. For more like this, please visit the most awesome Kiwi I know! Cheers, Mate!
Thanks for reading.