Typical. The day we’re leaving Franz and the weather is stunning. Even see a helicopter as we drive out. Ah well, that’s $350 I have to spend in Queenstown.
We have two stops in succession after leaving Franz Joseph. First, we stop at Lake Matheson for an hour, so that we can take a walk around the area and appreciate the reflective quality the water has on clear days. It’s almost a mirror effect with the mountains, and awesome to see.
The next stop is just a quick lookout point a few minutes down the road, where you can view the Fox Glacier in all its glory. Thanks to the weather, we get a great view – normally it’s covered in cloud and hard to make out.
We roll into Wanaka at around 3:30, and the place is actually pretty cool. The lake is huge (and by that, I mean we stopped to have lunch on it’s very windy banks when we were still half an hour away from the town), and there’s dozens of shops and restaurants littered around its edge.
We’re staying at the Base hostel, which is directly opposite a quirky little cinema that hosts cars and couches as seats, and offers freshly baked cookies at intermission. I try to get in to see Rogue One at 8, but I’m only able to make it onto the waiting list.
Unfortunately, the Base hostel is clearly unprepared for our arrival – it takes FOREVER to get processed and given a room. When I finally had a bed, I hopped on outside to have a walk around the lake.
I also checked out Lolly’s favourite ice cream parlour, ‘Patagonia’ along the way – since she claimed it was the best ice cream in New Zealand. I tried their raspberry sorbet, and have to admit it’s very good. Plus, the portions are huge, this is a single scoop for $5.
Wanaka is known for its lake, but in recent years there’s been a new celebrity popping up, known as ‘That Wanaka Tree.’
The most photographed tree in New Zealand, this willow started life as a fence post before photographs started appearing online as a joke. Apparently the most amusing thing isn’t the photo, but the number of people taking photos. Of course, when I arrived, I was the only one there.
When I headed back, I headed along the opposite side of the lake and checked out the local restaurants, as I knew I’d seen at least one fish and chip shop in the area. My search bears fruit, and I find Boa Boa. They offer frozen fish, or locally caught fish – I grab the day’s monkfish and chips, and eat it on the shore of the lake while every gull in the area eyed me up – REALLY good. One of the few chip shops in New Zealand who uses vinegar, yes!
In the evening, I tried my luck at the cinema, but although I could get in, the seat wasn’t great, so I held back and let someone desperate to see the movie take it. I’ll have plenty of chances later.