So Wanaka. Last time I left saying that Wanaka is cute, which is really is. We had a really nice couple of days there exploring around the lakeside area. Our hostel was probably the best we’ve staying in so far in NZ. Wanaka Bakpaka – if you ever go there. We timed it right and arrived on a Thursday which meant we got to see the weekly regatta of sailing boats out on the lake which was pretty impressive. We looked at having a go ourselves but apart from a few very big boats for charter, the majority of the sail boats were privately owned.
Yesterday we did what we had come to Wanaka to do – we went to Puzzling World. This place is what Wanaka is really famous for and after a short 2km walk from town we arrived at a cluster of oddly angled buildings and mazes.
Inside there were various puzzles and optical illusions, including a room with a wonky floor (probably a more scientific name than that) which was very odd. Made you feel pretty drunk / motion sick after a few minutes, but it made for some amusing photos. As did the odd perspective room (again there was a fancier name) that used the same technology as Lord of the Rings did to make people appear bigger or smaller. Rob and I both had a go in there with various strangers, and then realised that there was a screen with a two minute delay – hence the very fuzzy photos from the screen. We went in and wandered about and then went to watch ourselves a minute later. A small crowd appeared right at that moment and had lots of fun laughing at us both walking around, shrinking and growing.
Then it was time for the maze. It’s 1.5km in length and apparently most people take between 30 minutes – 1 hr+ and end up walking between 3-5km. You have to find four coloured towers and then the exit. Well after finding the first tower quite easily, Rob and I made a bit of a race of it, setting off for opposite sides to wave at each other. I won the first tower by a long way (Rob never made it to his) but lost quite miserably on the second two goes. Rob stood at the last tower taking photos of me getting more and more lost and frustrated! Nevertheless we left the last tower together and made it to the exit in under half an hour. Very pleased with that, especially as two girls from our hostel had to give up and use the emergency exits.
We both really liked Wanaka but it’s perhaps too small for us to consider working or living there; only 5000 population! Despite that there were some great cafes and shops, especially outdoors and bike shops which Rob loved, and I even found a wool shop where I purchased some NZ merino to make myself my scarf for this country. I’ve managed to buy one from everywhere we’ve been so far, but a real NZ wool scarf here is just too expensive to buy.
So enough with Wanaka (really fun to say btw), and we left today for Queenstown. It seems nice enough so far, although we have seen our first nz-equivalent chavs here and everything is really really expensive. We have a few days here to make the most of the activities and tomorrow we are hopefully going Jet Boating – just have to decide which one to do as there are loads!
Nic & Rob