A Change of Plan...

Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
Trip End Feb 27, 2006

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

I celebrated my skydive by going to Shooters again with Jeff, although we only shared the 3 jugs of beer this time. The opening session of the Ashes was on the big screen, and when England had the Aussies 90-5 at lunch, I was delighted. Jeff, being from Scotland, didn't share my enthusiasm for cricket. In fact, he was in hysterics the next day when it emerged that England had thrown away the initiative, and were 91-7 in reply!

Friday was another fine day in Wanaka, so on Miki's recommendation, I did a 2 hour walk to the summit of Mount Iron. I inadvertantly took the steep route up the Eastern face, which was faster but a lot more tiring! However, the hike uphill made it all the more satisfying when I reached the top, and once there, I spent at least 45 minutes basking in the sun and taking in the 360 degree panoramic views. The walk back down was a lot more gentle, reminiscent of the track at Mount Maunganui.

I didn't want to leave Wanaka without seeing the sunset over the lake and mountains, so at about 5pm I did a short walk to Eely Point. It was a pleasant stroll through forest area, adjacent to the beach around Roy's Bay. Once at the Point, I made my way onto the pebble beach, and watched as the sky changed from blue, to orange, to red. There were some great colours on show, and it was yet another therapeutic experience a la the sunrises at Hicks Bay.

Saturday, my last full day in Wanaka, was a day of planning and organising. I really wanted to go to Queenstown, and I had already planned to meet up with George there for a beer, but I decided to change my plans at the last minute. I think it was a wise move considering that Queenstown is activity obsessed and very expensive, i.e. it is better to go there when you have a bit of money behind you. Therefore, I think I will go there towards the end of September when I will be able to enjoy myself and not think about money as much (plus I'll be able to do the bungy swing!).

Of course, I have more than one eye on my trip to Melbourne on August 12th, and I don't want to be broke for the 10 days I am there. So, I decided to head to Christchurch instead to find a job for a couple of weeks, which will keep me ticking over until I get back from Oz.

I felt a lot better after setting some concrete plans, and I could now relax and enjoy a last night out. Jeff and me were joined by Zak, a very cool guy from New York who could easily have been the sixth member of The Strokes, and we shared a few beers at the hostel over a few games of Connect Four.

We had heard that the Rock Quest Final was taking place in Wanaka that night, a Battle of the Bands contest that sounded appealing to all of us. So we made our way down there at about 9pm, only to find out that: 1) Half of the bands had already played, 2) There was no alcohol being served, and most surprisingly 3) It was an event aimed at people younger than us...quite a bit younger than us! It was a teeny bopper event, and I felt very old being surrounded by 14 and 15 year olds! I'm sure the kids' parents on the balconies were keeping a close eye on the three dodgy looking characters stood in the middle of the dancefloor! Still, we'd paid our money and so we watched the rest of the event, and personally I quite enjoyed seeing the youngsters doing their thing on stage. Who knows, we may have witnessed a future Beatles or Rolling Stones - now that would be a great story to tell the grandchildren!

Although we did go to Shooters afterwards, it wasn't a late night as we were tired, and I had a bus to catch early the next morning. So after scoffing down 3 sausage rolls on the way back to the hostel, I got my head down and enjoyed some much needed shut eye.

My time in Wanaka had come to an end, but I'll be back at some point as I really enjoyed it there. The lovely walks, the amazing skydive and the excellent nightlife have provided me with some great memories for sure. But after travelling around for 5-6 weeks, it's time to start thinking about work again...

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