Our latest stop in NZ brings us to the lakeside town of Wanaka. It is a resort town about an hour outside of the city of Queenstown. For our NJ/PA readers, it has a feel sort of like New Hope. While we have seen plenty of lakes on this trip, this is the first one that that has been oriented toward typical lakeside fun; think boating, fishing and the like. It is still not quite the high season but in another month I think this place will be swarming with holiday-makers, especially on the weekends. The photo at the top is known as the Wanaka Tree. It’s apparently unique because it grows out of the lake, though that is not an unusual sight in rivers back home when swelled.
We are staying at a B&B called the Lime Tree Inn that is about five minutes outside of the town. It recently changed hands, purchased by an Asian investor (the Chinese are buying up everything they can in NZ), but it appears much of the staff is the same. We are the only guests on the property at the moment but two other couples are arriving later tonight. Most of the guests that visit here are evidently from the U.S., including the group coming in. As I write this it is overcast and a bit on the chilly side after two really glorious days in Mount Cook. It is spring so not a total surprise.
Last night on the recommendation of our host we went to a place called the Wanaka Gourmet Kitchen for their lamb shoulder dish. It was marked as a dish to be shared, which we did, but it was huge; we could not finish it.
It was still light after we finished dinner so we were able to catch another nice sunset over the nearby mountains, and we amused ourselves with some of the playground equipment meant for the much-younger set.
We wrapped up the evening with an after-dinner drink at a place that featured classic cocktails. What appeared to be an after-work gathering of locals was going full steam, so it was fun watching the scene. Some of these people were pretty drunk, but it made for good people-watching.
Also, just want to note that the drive over from Mount Cook took us through some more dramatic changes in topography. It’s like you come to expect it. The scenery really is quite dramatic.