We awoke after a chilly night’s sleep in our (not so) faithful Brucey the Jucy (the fridge doesn’t work, the DVD player is broken and part of the rear bumper is hanging off) and set off into Queenstown centre. Around 100 yards from the campsite is a Savlation Army charity shop and seeing as we’ve been getting cold toes for the previous few nights we decided to nip in to see if we could snag a sleeping bag or two. Luckily we did and it’s improved our nights no-end.
After dumping our wares and faffing about at the airport (alla Brucey the Jucy) we found a parking spot and headed into town. On the last post I mentioned about the gondola which takes you upto the hill which overlooks Queenstown, well we hopped on board and took in the scenery as it motored us up to the top where there is busy tourist playground. There’s a restaurant, dry luge slope, canyon swing and bungee jump up there. We rolled a dice and it told us the luge (pretty much a downhill go-kart track) was the activity for us. It was really good craic and hopefully the video has uploaded so you can see me leaving Milly for dust! It goes without saying too that the views from the whole area were nothing short of amazing.
After our luge fun we watched a couple of diabled guys do the bungee and as much as I tried, I couldn’t get Milly to give it a go, so we jumped the gondola back down the slope and ventured into the town for a quick beer.
We ordered our usual tonic of a Speights and a vodka and diet coke and chilled out next to the marina. As I ventured around the side of the bar to take a peak if there was a better spot for us to sit, I saw a guy with his head in a Kindle and hand around a glass of white. I took a second look and low and behold it was a friend from Marple, Andy Coop! Small bloody world! We spent a few minutes, as you do, going on about the coincidental nature of our meet, Andy spent a few more admiring my tan and beard, then we had a few beers and a chinwag about travel, weddings (his daughter had just got married), life back home and mutual friends.
We ended our short rendezvous with Andy in afternoon and set our eyes (and stomachs) at the critically acclaimed Fergburger restaurant/takeaway burger joint. After copping out of The Ranch in Te Anau, Milly was determined that our dinner for the evening would be a Fergburger and she braved the, at least 40 person deep, queue to snag us our quarry.
We took our lush looking burgers into the grassy communal town area and scoffed them down whilst being watched by the hawks (seasgulls and ducks) of the town square. As for the burgers, they were decent. They’re certainly no Ryan Yates’s pulled pork sex burger but they do come close and if we go back to Queenstown I wouldn’t be against sampling another.
Given we had a few miles to cover between Queenstown and our next destination, Wanaka, we headed off around 7pm and stopped at a few town’s down at a small place called Arrowstown.
With our van packed we again hit the gas and made way towards Wanaka. We’d heard great things about Lake Wanaka from our friend which we’d met in back in Katoomba, Gabriel. It didn’t disappoint. The drive their was pretty sweet too. From behind the hilly landscape it opens out into and enormous lake with snow topped mountains to the north and a vibrant small town to the south.
We pulled up directly facing the lake and took in the morning sunshine and a bowl of muesli, then proceeded down the stoney beach and came across a small kayaking type van/stall. The price was half decent for this place in the world so after we’d downed a coffee at a beautiful busy cafe/bistro type place across the road from the beach we decided to take the kayak out for an hour across Lake Wanaka. As you can hopefully see from the footage below, we had a good laugh (and a good work out too for me) as we pissed about and circled a good part of the bay.
Once we’d finally arrived back on shore and had a chat with the British girl who was working for the rental company, we went for a tramp up a small hill which was ideally situated just next to the village but in the centre of group of mountains to give 360 degree view of the region. It was a delightful mid-afternoon walk in the warm Wanaka wind upto the summit of Mount Iron and it did indeed give you wonderful views. One view it did give you was of a local amusement ‘centre’ called Puzzleworld. Naturally this heightened our curiosity so we decided to give it a go when we had decended from our most recent hike.
Puzzleword is a mad little place. There is a scaled up 3D maze nestling around the central building and some quirky sculptures plonked about in its courtyard. It’s the birth child of a guy called Stuart Landsborough who I guess is a localish artist/serial LDS abuser. It’s essentially an entire building dedicated to puzzles or rooms which play with your mind. A hologram room full of pictures that jump out at you, a gallery full of pictures (like the one everyone’s seen on Facebook where you can’t tell how many legs an elephant has got), one of those rooms where it looks large at one end and small at the other, a slopped floor room and an entire canteen full of small individual puzzle games which were jolly good fun. My brother would have spent the entire day there. Unfortunately we couldn’t as time was pressing and as we’d booked in a glacier trip at Mount Cook the next day, we had to put in a few more miles until we stopped in a place an hour or so away in a town called Omarama.