|Off to Wanaka today which isn't very far from Queenstown so we spent the morning faffing about in town and then drove on via the mountain track to The Remarkables ski village. I don't know what it is about abandoned ski villages but obviously I don't like them as I felt really uncomfortable the whole time and was really glad when we could come back down again and carry on. Wanaka is a refreshing change from Queenstown although the word on the street is that in a few years time it will expand to become very similar so I guess we visited at the right time. Steve went for a run while Whippet and I went to the supermarket. It seemed like a good idea to go via the Speight Ale House, and the supermarket was very busy, so we got back to the motel pretty late. Unfortunately we had the key so Steve wasn't too impressed but I still stand by our story that we only had a pint. The weather here is MUCH better, it's warm enough to waer a t-shirt and not die of exposure which is a very good feeling!
The second day we went for a walk along the Rob Roy Valley Track in Mount Aspiring National Park, which affords spectacular views of the Rob Roy glacier from an alpine meadow setting. It's quite a hike, about a 5 hour return and gentle uphill for most of the way there but well worth doing. It wouldn't be any fun in less than perfect weather as the track is narrow with big drops on one side and there are lots of tree roots on the way which would become quite slippery in the wet. We were sitting having lunch in the meadow when there was an ominous kind of creaking, roaring noise and we looked up to see a load of snow crumbling at the top and falling down the rock face. Cool!
There's also a swing bridge that forms part of the walk which was fine on the way there, if a little rocky, but on the way back a gale had whipped up and the bridge was swinging like a good 'un so we had to hold on really tightly and it wasn't pleasant!
It's about 50k from Wanaka to the National Park and about 40k of that is on unmade road so the crudbucket had had a bit of a beating but it seems to be bearing up OK. We picked up a hitchiker on the way back (having secured our Lonely Planet book in the glove box beforehand) he turned out to be from Preston. Not exactly a foreigner!
On the way out of Wanaka, we visited two bizzare museums. Firstly the Puzzle Museum with a 3D maze. The contained no end of optical illusions and a sloping room designed to completely disorientate you. Entering this room was not a good idea after too many beers the night before, I can assume you. Having recovered from this induced queasiness, we tackled the 3D maze. This is only supposed to take 30 mins, 1.5 hours later we found our way out!
The second musuem was the "Transport and Toy Musuem", however it really was a collections of anything and everything laid out in no particular order. We wondered through ancient Austin cars, cash registers, lawnmowers, jet engines, a real mig fighter, Barbie dolls, giant teddy bears, cadillacs, battery chargers and several Japanese fire engines!!! Totally random, but strangely fascintating.