Wanaka is a town on the West coast of the South Island that’s a more subdued version of the nearby, sports crazy town, Queenstown – where things are punctuated by exclamation marks: Jet Boating! Bungee jumping! Skydiving! Soup and Sandwich!! Relaxing massage!!!!!
Instead, Wanaka more or less keeps to itself until winter when it swells a little for skiing at one of the many mountains surrounding it. Still, it’s no less attractive in the summer/spring months with a lake on its doorstep, drawing cyclists, swimmers and water skiers.
The drive in to the town was dramatic: after a series of windy roads with lush green trees, we popped over a hill to a lake, and mountain range:
Sadly this picture looks like any other nice looking picture you might see. Though it can’t fully translate the view, I think it’s a better option than me sharing all the synonyms I can think of for the word: “majestic”.
I know, I know. What do they look like? We’ve talked about them enough now, why not include a photo? Well, the truth is we haven’t got one. So, ladies and gentleman, once again, for your viewing pleasure, Neeeeeeew Zeeeeeeealand:
Of course, a NZ destination wouldn’t be complete without some hiking time. We made sure to climb up the highest thing we could in a day, giving us a view of the entire city:
Wanaka is also at the top of the Otago wine region. So, we also planned a trip to the single winery in town for a look, and I immediately wondered if the owner just built the winery on the location for the sake of the view:
But the wine also turned out to be really good, which led us to ease off our dogmatic budget constraints, and spring for a bottle with a plate of food.
After sitting outside for a bit, Rose and I decided to play wine marketers, and did our best to put together an iconic shot of wine country. A shot we see a thousand times over in wine marketing material: wine bottle, glass with wine in it, hunks of cheese, if not all sitting on an old barrel, then on a piece of worn, rustic wood.
While we assembled the ingredients, I think the major lifting was done by the mountain and lake in the background:
We also met a couple at the winery who just finished the Kepler Track in Te Anau. Another “Great Walk” – which Rose and I had been debating about, but didn’t think we’d have time to fit in.
However, after polishing off a bottle of wine, somehow it seemed like it was always a good idea, and agreed we’d head there next.
Next stop: Te Anau and another light stroll.