So I’ve got a bit of catching up to do. I’m blaming this on terrible wifi not laziness, but in truth it’s been a combination of the two.
After glacier country, we got back on the bus and headed to Wanaka. We had a really huge bus driver who could barely fit up the aisle of the coach. He kept leaving his microphone on and deep breathing/coughing into it for the entire journey. But for me, the highlight of the journey was when he did an emergency stop at a roundabout and exclaimed “crikey tits!”
Wanaka is a small town at the base of a big blue lake. There’s really not much to do there, and we’d booked three nights in the hostel. We were back to dorm rooms, all blokes (standard) but I was just delighted to have a bed to sleep in, and a lot of sleep to catch up on post-camping extravaganza. I’ve also discovered ear plugs. God send. The hostel was small, but so friendly, and we actually had a great time and met some really nice people.
Above is the most photographed tree in New Zealand – can you see why?
On our first day we did very little. Wandered the town and then did some shopping and cooking. On the way to the supermarket I had my eyes glued to a bookshop window (standard) and Tom suddenly spun round on the spot, staring at someone who’d just passed us. He said “Oh my god I think that was Richie McCaw!” A kiwi guy walking towards us confirmed “yep, that’s our Richie!”
For those of you who don’t know, McCaw was the captain of the All Blacks – taking the rugby team to victory last season, and possibly the biggest NZ celebrity. Typical kiwi style, he just wandered the streets, respectfully being left to his own business.
The next day was pretty much the same. In the evening we met up with Ernest, our lovely fruit thinning friend, who happened to be in Wanaka. When I went to hug him, I hadn’t realised that I’d dropped half an icecream down my front so I awkwardly covered him in chocolate which was embarrassing. It was great to catch up and see how he’s getting on. Ernest was staying at a backpacker’s hostel called Wanaka Bakpaka. Isn’t that just the best name ever?! I kept muttering it to myself “wanakabakpakawanakabakpaka”until I felt more crazy than usual.
The next day we tackled Mount Iron along with Fabian, who we’d met in the hostel. It wasn’t too much of a challenge – 45mins up hill but it was pretty hot so we worked up a bit of a sweat. Good views from the top too. Again, fairly chilled day as there is sod all to do there if you don’t have a car to see the area, and don’t fancy spending a small fortune in the restaurants.
The next day we had a long wait for the bus, but we spent it on the beach so that was gooood. And guess who was waiting to take us on the bus to Queenstown? Our favourite deep-breathing bus driver!