My refusal to use satnav is well known. My friends think I’m crazy, but I think they are the ones missing out.

A traveller flies into Christchurch, picks up a campervan or rental car, dials ‘Queenstown’ into the satnav and sets off, ignoring road signs, the view, the towns and villages along the way – missing out on so much. ‘Miss Direction’, in the dash somewhere, will guide them down SH1 to Orari, instruct them to turn right and then, just as they are almost in sight of one of the prettiest small towns in New Zealand, command them to turn left and thus miss out on Geraldine!

I hate that. I know what this journey has to offer if you leave the satnav switched off and allow curiosity to be your guide – so this was what I set out to do.

Walter Peak Station – a glorious spot The Glentunnel library – believed to be the only octagonal brick library in New Zealand

The trip didn’t follow my rather loosely laid plan (it often happens) and in the end we bypassed Queenstown; instead, the drive ended at ‘The Colonel’s’ where we enjoyed morning tea under a clear blue sky with a squadron of sparrows for company, and viewed Queenstown in the distance across the sparkling waters of Lake Wakatipu. But, more on that later.

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