Climbing Cerro Campenario and our first introduction to the Llao Llao peninsula
After breakfast on day 2, we made our way to the small group of shops around 200m away to top up our Subte card at the little kiosko (corner store / newsagent). This card is like the Go Card, Opal Card, Myki card etc, allowing one to preload money and travel on public transport. Unlike Australia, the Subte card can be used across the provinces of Argentina, so we were able to use the one that we bought in Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, the machine that does the top up wasn’t working – so we were stuck in the middle of nowhere with no transport. We checked with the receptionist at the hotel and as she thought we could go into a small negative balance, we waited for the bus. Whew! It worked, and we were on our way in the opposite direction to town to explore some of the trails.
Cerro Campenario, a 1050m peak, was our first stop. Instead of taking the chairlift up, we chose to walk up what turned out to be a very dusty path. We have since discovered that most of the paths that go directly up or down are very dusty, with the sand being very deep at times. No luck keeping hiking pants or boots even vaguely clean!
The walk was well work it though, giving us views across Lago Nahuel Huapi, the large lake alongside which the town of Bariloche lies.
In addition, we looked out over the Llao Llao Peninsula and the smaller Lago Perito Moreno. We took our time soaking in the views and breathing in the fresh air.
After our walk down, we knew that we had to find somewhere to top up our Subte card so that we could get home. A km or so down the road, we came across a bicycle hire place, so we considered renting bikes – not only to get us home but to navigate the Circuito Chico, the scenic roadway around the peninsula. After much deliberation, we headed off without bikes and continued our stroll up the road. One of the staff at the bike place – a local who had lived in Perth for a while – had told us there was a kiosko a couple of kms up the road. Soon we were topped up for the bus trip home and as said kiosko was a small deli, we’d even managed to buy some food. The guy there didn’t speak English but did speak a little French, so we had an entertaining exchange before making our way back home. The following day, we were amazed to discover that some of the same products we’d bought from this little remote store were cheaper than from one of the large supermarket chains.
Hiking the Llao Llao peninsula (pronounced yao-yao)
Day 3 was a rest day, taking the bus into town to explore some of the shops, drink hot chocolate and exchange money. It was a lot busier than it had been earlier in the week – there seems to be a worldwide trend that everything gets busier as it gets closer to the weekend ie. except for gyms!
So when day 4 dawned, we were ready to get our hiking boots on again and make our way to explore the rest of the Llao Llao peninsula. We took the bus from our hotel at 7km to 25km – which means it’s 25km from town – and started out along the road, Circuito Chico. It was a relatively cool day and as the road was under an avenue of trees, we kept our jackets on. After 15 minutes or so, we found the bush trail that would take us to our next peak, Cerro Llao Llao. Cerro Llao Llao is the highest point in Bariloche’s Parque Municipal Llao Llao. It’s really more of a hill than a mountain, but it offers magnificent views of various hills and lakes in the area. The view is similar to Cerro Campanario, perhaps not quite as impressive, but we found the experience far less commercial and much more peaceful.
After the summit we continued around the peninsula, visiting beaches (rocky ones) and forests along the way. All in all, a nice easy scenic day hike through enchanted forests, gorgeous lakes and beaches, and impressive distant mountain vistas.
We caught the bus back to 8km where Kuntsman, a German restaurant and brewery is located across from the lake and Playa Bonnita (a popular beach that even has lifeguards).
Whilst the wind had picked up, it was warm enough to sit outside on the terrace with jackets on. Walter enjoyed one of the local brews and we both indulged in some German food with an Argentinian flare. The only downside was the huge number of stray dogs that roamed around the terraces scavenging for food – we thought the gulls and kookaburras were bad!