New Zealand, Slider, Wanaka

Labour Day Weekend in Wanaka

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Last weekend was our first ‘Bank Holiday’ weekend in New Zealand. It was Labour Day on the  Monday and I left a work a touch early on the Friday so we could start our 6 hour drive down to Lake Wakana as early as possible. We had no traffic and even made such good time that we could stop at one of our favourite camping spots from last year, Lake Tekapo, to eat our dinner of pulled pork sandwiches that J had made and test drive our super cool new Stanley flask. The views never disappoint and it is truly one of the best spots in New Zealand, to make it even better we only had the sheep for company.

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We made it to Wanaka just before dark and went straight to the lake to get a glimpse of it before the sun went down. As the only other time we had been to Wanaka we had slept in a camper this time we decided to sleep in a proper house and we booked a room at a B & B run by some really friendly Brits called the Criffel Peak View Bed & Breakfast. Even though we were much later than planned they were really welcoming, offering to make us tea when we arrived. The room was very nice and we had use of a shared living room with big sofas, a tv and a fire. It was perfect for me as I could have use of the kitchen anytime to make tea and coffee and I could even make myself a piece of toast before my morning run at 7am. But the best thing was the bathroom! After our sorry excuse for a bathroom in ChCh, this one had a double shower with hot water on demand, no cracks around the room, a bathtub and best of all, towels that didn’t malt all over you leaving you coughing up hairballs like a cat.

You know how when you read travel articles or blog people often describe a ‘vibe’ of a place as being really good or relaxing etc. and in my experience this never really holds true, except for Wanaka, for me it is the most relaxing, friendly place I’ve ever been to, with a ‘vibe’ like no other.

On our first morning we got up at 7 and went for our 5K run as part of our torture program, however the views made it a bit more bearable. But having usually run in a totally flat city, I must admit the hills were a real struggle. On returning to the B&B we were given refreshments by our hosts and went off to freshen up for breakfast. We ate with the other guests at a large benched table and were offered a choice of eggs, pancakes, freshly baked goods or fuit and cereals. After a long chat about life in Wanaka we headed back out to drive around and generally explore, which we did for most of the day. For lunch we grabbed a ‘select your own’ sushi box and ate it by the lake and at 5pm we went to see The Martian at the wonderful Paradiso Cinema, where you can order your dinner to be served to you at the half time interval, something we took full advantage of.

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After the movie we drove to the other side of town to the Edgewater resort, which is a hotel, wedding venue and restuant right on the lake. Lucky for us the final of the ITM Ruby Cup was playing and of course having been to the last few matches and living in ChCh we were ready to support them against Auckland. So we sat there with a glass of wine and a beer, enjoyed the game, the atmosphere and the views and then headed back. With the rest of the evening spent relaxing and chatting to other guests from Quebec and Argentina we went to bed and looked forward to another day in wonderful Wanaka.

Another early rise on Sunday, but no run this time, we had a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon and chatted with a Swedish mother and daughter about what they should do in Sydney. We then set of to walk/climb Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain, a track we did not do last time and one that promised amazing views over Mount Gold and Wanaka. It took about 3.5 hours in total with a steep start which then levels off and then another steep haul to the top. The track was damaged in places and involved a bit of impromptu rock climbing, which scared the life out of me, but it was achieved in the end. The views from the top were well worth it and I think it’s one of the best views I have ever had in New Zealand. The wind was very mild and we spent a good 20 minutes up there drinking our flask of coffee and enjoying the view.

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I was pretty grubby after the walk and very muddy from the climbing sections, so we went back to the B&B to shower, drink tea and chat about the Rugby. We finished the day of by driving into town to get some fish and chips from Boaboa on the waterfront and ate them by the lake, despite their efforts the sea gulls didn’t nab any of my chips!

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We finished the weekend with another early morning run before hitting the road to drive back to ChCh, but not before grabbing a coffee for the road. It’s amazing how the same drive can look totally different going the other way and we were exceptionally lucky with the weather to have such a clear sunny day that Mount Cook was all lit up by the sun. For lunch we stopped at the epic, observatory cafe in Tekapo, a cafe with one of the best views of any in the world. We topped of the weekend with a smoked salmon bagel and then I was set to go back to work the next day after the most wonderful weekend!

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If your heading to Wanaka and want to see the availability for the Criffel Peak View B & B then CLICK HERE.

For further information on the Edgewater Resort CLICK HERE.

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