Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday, 15 February, 8 pm, Snow in Wanaka

Yesterday, we sat out in the sun in the afternoon when we got to the campsite in Wanaka (and I actually got slightly sunburnt on my tummy – I had applied factor 20 on my face, my arms and my chest, but forgot my stomach).

Last night, we were woken up by the heavy rain, which lasted for hours, and this morning, we woke up to the view of the mountains over the lake completely covered in snow! This is their August, and snow is not expected for another month at least, but snow there was.

We moved on to Lake Tekapo today, and were glad to find all roads were fine and dry, including Lindis Pass. Unfortunately, the sun has deserted us and we have the heat on in the campervan this evening. I put on all the layers I had to go into town this afternoon, and I bought a woolly hat, made of merino wool (a big thing here) and possum. Now, I wasn’t sure what a possum looked like, but the shop assistant kindly showed us a stuffed specimen and told us that it’s the dead furry things you see on most roads here (which, up to now, we had called “unindentified road kill”!). Sometimes there is something as too much information!

Wanaka was a lovely little town on the lake (Lake Wanaka. For an interactive webcam view, click here - don't forget that it's the middle of the night over there if you're in Europe. Also, have a look at the panoramic photos, such a gorgeous place - you'll need java to see these.), with a few nice shops (one of the best souvenir shops we've seen), a nice lakefront walk, good public facilities, and plenty to do (it has a lot of festivals and high-octane activities, if you’re that way inclined). While sunning myself, I watched the local rugby team in training from the back of our campervan – to be honest, they didn’t look fierce at all – I don’t think they’ll make it to the All Blacks.
It was a lot colder this morning when we got up, and the snow on the mountains was a big attraction for all the tourists in the town. And the pies from the local bakery were only gorgeous. I had a vegetable pie and Brendan had a chicken and corn pie, all before setting off at 10 am this morning.
Lake Tekapo is a very scenic location too – the lake is this fantastic turquoise colour that looks completely unreal. But unfortunately, the sun didn’t come out much, so it looks a bit dull right now. The town of Lake Tekapo has put in place a big development plan to relocate the town centre closer to the lake and improve the tourist amenities. It's badly needed, to be honest. The town itself is one drab street, with some tourist shops and a few very big restaurants that obviously cater for the coach tours that stop over here at lunchtime on their way to Mount Cook (The Kohan Japanese restaurant offered great bento boxes, though!).

Arrowtown, Te Anau and Wanaka were much prettier – though Lake Tekapo would have looked just as good with a bit of sunshine.

On our way to Christchurch tomorrow, where we have one night in a hotel before we fly off to Perth and Western Australia. And I still haven’t finished telling you about Sydney, nor about the interesting facts and figures I’ve read in the Lonely Planet guide.

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