Top of lake celebrates old and new

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Glenorchy marks its 150 years of settlement by acknow­ledging old and new this weekend. 

The tiny township at the top of Lake Wakatipu has created a special heritage walk as well as built a new extension to its popular lagoon trail. 

When residents, history buffs and visitors disembark in Glenorchy from a one-off trip on historic steamship the Earnslaw on Sunday, people will have the option of walking around several of the township’s often overlooked landmarks. 

“The idea of the heritage trail came about simply because people coming off the Earnslaw would want to find their way around the village,” Glenorchy 150 celebrations committee member Vladka Kennett says. 

“There are many landmarks situated throughout the village.” 

The heritage walk begins at the distinctive Glenorchy wharf and shed, once the life vein into the town before the Queenstown-Glenorchy road opened in 1962. 

It moves to other landmarks, including the ruins of the Mt Earnslaw Hotel, which burnt down in 1959, and a woolshed built in the 1860s and owned by farmer John Trotter Butement. 

The 1891 Glenorchy Library – which has just been refurbished – is also part of the walk. 

Meanwhile, the existing lagoon walkway has been extended by 1.7km thanks to a $350,000 community fundraising effort and volunteer work by many locals. 

Kennett says about 18,000 people use the walkway each year, and more are expected with the new extension.
“I’m really confident people are going to love it.” 

The town’s celebrations com­mittee has been planning the Labour Weekend event for three years and all 220-plus residents are preparing for the event – including many of the men participating in a beard-growing competition. 

The community wants people from all over the Wakatipu and beyond to join in the festivities. 

The weekend begins tomorrow with a 1950s dance, a Picnic in Paradise on Saturday, food stalls and the Earnslaw cruise on Sunday. 

A calvacade of gold miners will ride into town to officially welcome Queenstown mayor Vanessa van Uden to Glenorchy on Monday.