Spring in Queenstown and the Wakatipu is always the most joyous season. The excitement of seeing the mountains covered in their white blanket has faded and cosiness of evenings by the fire has become a yearning for bright blue skies, warm sun and lengthening days.
Snow hasn’t fallen for a few weeks, minimum temperatures are less harsh and sunny day will bring a tantalizing taste of coming warmth. Around now the first “green fuzz” of leaf buds begins to soften skeletal branches, heralding the birth of new life. Everywhere on earth, depending on the species of flora found there, time can be traced by procession of colours and textures as different species burst into flower. In Queenstown and The Wakatipu Basin, I’ve noticed that different colors predominate as the season progresses.
Like a fanfare, this region awakes and trumpets the end of winter with a blaze of pink. Cherries, both ornamental and fruiting, love the climate here and are the first to flower. Within days the streets are lined with waving cushions of pink, ranging from the subtlest, almost white to rich magentas. Still leafless, branches are festooned with sprays of petals. Soon the cherries are joined by legions of apple and crabapple trees bringing darker pinks and soft rich reds into the palette.
It’s as though a party has been announced and the decorations have gone up. There’s a new energy in the air; a spring in people’s step; a sense of new possibilities and new adventures ahead. The daily traffic of buses ferrying skiers to the icy slopes is replaced by a diaspora of tourists young and old heading out in all directions to experience and explore the sights and experience nature on a grand scale.