Weird and Wonderful Wanaka

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
At a piece of council land 10 minutes from the lake with lots of Gypsies

Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We woke up and split the camping ground area at about 06:45 before the warden arrived. There were signs up saying he came round in the early morning to collect fees but we know that none of the gypsies paid anything at all. We are essentially Gypsies ourselves and therefore took their lead in not paying, at least we ran, they just stay put and tell the warden were to shove it.

Anyway we headed to the lake set up the stove on the lake side and by 07:30 the first coffees of the day were ready and two fried eggs were in the frying pan. We watched lots of older tourists that Erica determined were definitely on a Green Card holiday and started trying to get me to phone my Mum and Dad to see if you have to wear name badges on such excursions, she was a little excited to say the least. Some of these older more conservative types would look at us thinking, stinking gypsies whilst others would shout, what a marvellous place for breakfast and what a wonderful view.

After a quick tidy and fumigation of the van we set off to start our walk. We drove for over an hour down a tiny little unsealed farm track amongst the snow capped mountains, cows and calfs, sheep and lambs and deer and doe, with stunning valleys and streams. It was very bumpy and very slow going. After about an hour we found our first problem a deep ford. There were signs up all around it saying that you do this at your own risk, damage to vehicles is possible and 4WD recommended. The last time we saw a 4WD only sign..... I'm sure something significant happened but can’t remember what off the top of my head. Anyway as I plotted the route through the ford, the lady sat in the car looking at the sticker in front of her "You are responsible for this van, if you crash it or stuff it up you will not get another one". We were also a little concerned about towing eyes and ropes, but then again it looked like no-one has been down this road in years. Our van is rear wheel drive and also seems to have very low clearance on the underside, so for some reason common sense prevailed.

This is a walk we have been strongly tipped to undertake by one of Canterbury cricket teams overseas players (we got chatting to him in Hanmer), it is only about 4 or 5 hours but takes in the Rob Roy Glacier and amazing scenery and we had been quite excited. We parked the van on a piece of grassy shale verge and decided to hitchhike to the start of the trail which we guessed was still 8km away with 4 deep ford crossings to contend with. Anyway as you might suspect despite hitchhiking for almost an hour no other car turned up and we had to call it a day. Still with eagles soaring above us, despite the fact it was glorious weather for the Rob Roy trail, it just wasn’t meant to be (although when I suggested we walk the 8km each way before starting the walk I nearly got beaten). By the time we were back into town it must have been about 11:00. We went to a t’interweb shop to find loads of comments and e-mails. Gregg is back, albeit with metal pins now holding him together, we have had an e-mail from a party we are not naming yet to possibly come and see us on our adventure, watch this space!! Anyway we spent almost an hour there and decided to shoot off to the famous Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World.

We started off with a giant maze which despite suggesting it may take an hour didn’t really take us that long, for some reason I was pretty good at this but the lady was a disaster zone, she had no idea even in what area of the maze she was, unfortunately I did try and lose her but I think she started to panic and shout so I had to let her join me again. While Erica yawned her way around, I was amused by the fact you can keep on bumping into the same people. One woman in particular just seemed to be walking in circles I think she may have had a short term memory disorder as she didn’t seem to realise she was walking in circles.

Then came the puzzle rooms, which again I thought were great and for once so did Erica we have a done a few short videos and some photos to show you the type of thing there. It did cost 5 but Rorie suggested it is a few easy hours doing something different and indeed it was. By this stage it was about 2pm and I was starving, so Eggsy whipped us up a few pate and caramelised onion butbuts as I drove us back on ourselves towards the North so we could do the Blue Pools which we missed out on the way down. After about 40 minutes we were at the car park and a further 15 minute walk and we were suspended on a rope bridge above the crystal clear and almost bright blue waters looking at rainbow and brown trout. It was really nice but my hay fever is doing my nut in so I was quickly back off to the van to wrap myself in loo roll. The only think that cheered me up was instead of saying hello to everyone on the track I greeted them with “alreet mon” much to Erica’s annoyance.

By the time we got back into town we had chance to get a few blogs published and enter my skydiving photo into the competition using facebook, the first time I have ever uploaded a photo on facebook, I already want to delete it, but a free hoody is a free hoody and the woman at the skydive place suggested I may have a winner with my photo. Also of note was the dog (yes in an internet cafe) that vommited next to me almost covering my feet, which was nice but was a tad smelly.

By the time all that was done we had time to run into a chip shop and get a single scoop of chips to make butbuts out of, throw those down our necks and get to the Paradiso Cinema as we had booked in to see a film at 20:15. We got to the cinema at about 20:10 and a very different cinema it is indeed. The best way to describe it is probably as a bar with a room next to it with a big screen lots of old couches, with a car inside you can sit in, airline seats, seats from old busses a right odd mix. Instead of popcorn, they bring you bottles of wine, beer, pizza’s, thai curries, steaks you get the picture. There were probably about 20 other people in there. As the adverts came on amongst the chinking of glasses and knives and forks instead of popcorn possibly the most entertaining set of adverts I have ever seen at a cinema, in particular the home made 'turn off your mobile’ bit which was filmed inside the cinema was fantastic. As it always seems to be on the Westside of South Island the community vibe in the adverts was amazing.

When the film started the lightly titled Animal Kingdom, the opening scene was a guy watching ‘Deal or no deal’ with a woman (his mum) next to him on the sofa apparently asleep, it turned out she had died of a heroin overdose, a nice start. Well all I would say about Animal Kingdom is it was a truly great film, not at all what we expected it is an art house Australian type film so may not be a major international player but it should be. Try and get it and watch it. There was a mid time interval for more people to get more pizzas, homemade ice cream, cookies and wine down and the film finished at about 22:30, we got back to the van and headed for the council grounds for another free night (well if stealing still counts as free). We couldn’t sleep though, in a very dark field in a van after watching that you are joking, we sat chatting about the film and finally fell asleep knowing we would be up early to avoid the warden.
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