Wanaka is like a chilled out Queenstown. After settling in, we walked over to Puzzling World, which is about 3km outside of town. I loved the “tilted house” exhibit in the Room of Illusions, but I felt so dizzy coming out of it. It’s crazy how easy it is to trick the brain.
We walked the 3-D maze (there are bridges that let you go up/down, adding the third dimension to the maze), which was a blast! It was drizzling the whole time we walked through the maze. After Puzzling World, we walked back to town for dinner and picked up some groceries (hello Whittaker’s chocolate!).
The next morning we wanted to hike Roys Peak. The trailhead is 6 km outside of town. There is an Alpine Connexions shuttle that heads out at 8:45, however we thought we’d try hitchhiking. (Hitching a ride is still extremely common in NZ and most hitchhikers are backpackers. The next time I go to NZ, I’m definitely going to rent a car. If I see hitchhikers wanting to go in the same direction as me, then I’ll definitely pick them up.) After standing around for 10 minutes and no takers–there wasn’t much traffic going out of town in the morning–we decided to take the shuttle.
The hike was awesome. Up we went. We saw tons of cows and sheep, Lake Wanaka below us, and snowcapped mountains in the distance. When we got to the summit, clouds had already begun to take over the view. After enjoying lunch at the summit, we descended. When we were about 45 minutes from the parking lot, it started to drizzle. The drizzle turned into rain, which quickly turned into a downpour complete with thunder. We ran back to the parking lot and asked a couple for a ride back to Wanaka. Unfortunately they didn’t have room in their car. We saw a lady pull out of the parking lot before we could ask her for a ride so we quickly ran to the other side of the road and stuck out our thumbs. She drove RIGHT past us. D: We started walking down the road and several meters farther down, we saw she had pulled over to pick us up! Thank goodness! A walk that might’ve taken 1 hr -1.5 hrs in the rain took us <10 minutes in the car.
From Wanaka, we took a NakedBus to Fox Glacier. My first impression of Fox: it’s larger than I thought it would be. We rented bikes and cycled the Te Weheka cycleway to the Fox Glacier car park. This bike trail through the rainforest was fantastic. As we neared the glacier, I felt the air around me change from humid to cold. We parked our bikes at the car park and walked to the terminal face of the glacier. The glacier has receded so much compared to the pictures I’ve seen on postcards. On our way back to the car park, it started to pour. We got soaked. We hid under the shelter of the bathrooms until it calmed down. Then we ran for our bikes and biked back, which was the great part of the ride since it was downhill. In the evening, dad and I did a 300 pc puzzle of NZ.
The next morning, we biked to Lake Matheson (6 km from the main/only road in the Fox Glacier township). Lake Matheson is famous for being a reflection lake. On a good day, you can see Mt. Cook, Mt. Tasman, and their reflections in the lake! We had a perfect reflection. But it was a reflection of clouds covering the mountains. That’s okay though because I saw these strikingly incandescent blue mushrooms. I see this blue a lot in sea life but hardly ever on land. After Lake Matheson, we walked around town to buy magnets and read away the afternoon (Michael Crichton’s Andromeda Strain).