Published: March 29th 2009March 29th 2009
Breathtaking view from the top of Roy's peak
This is the mountain i was on about climbing when i was on the phone to you Mart!! See it was a proper mountain!!!
As soon as the bus dropped me at Wanaka I remembered why I fell in love with this little town, I do believe that it is the most beautiful place in the whole of NZ and that is saying something because NZ is not short of contenders. Not only is it so naturally beautiful but its small and really friendly and just gives out this most welcoming vibe as soon as you step foot of the bus. For this reason I was so surprised that only 6 out of a full bus load got off here. Unfortunately all my friends that I had been travelling with for the past few days were also part of the bigger group that decided to head to Queenstown and miss out this wonderful place, so here I was back on my own again. I have to say as much as I love travelling, it’s amazing how hard it is to say bye to people all the time, you build up such amazing friendships and then a few days later you going your own separate ways, it’s something I still haven’t fully got use too.
So having been dropped off I decided that having been
Just look at that view!!
Now it really did seem 1300 meters high
stuck on a bus for the past 6 hours I needed some exercise and Wanaka offers some incredible scenery as I have mentioned before, so I went on lovely walk around the lake and just enjoyed being back here as this where it all started 6 months ago, although this time it was hell of a lot warmer. I had only intended on walking an hour or so but with my IPod keeping me entertained, I wondered further and further around the lake just content with my own thoughts and enjoying a bit of tranquility by myself. I ended up walking for 3.5 hours and covering over 15 km’s! By the time I got back I was well and truly knackered.
Well this was just a little warm up for what I had planned for the following day, since leaving Wanaka last time I had been very interested in a walk that climbs up an elevation of 1300 meters to top of ‘Roy’s peak’ which is said to give the most magnificent views back over Wanaka, the Southern Alps and many of the ski fields around this area. Not only was it going to be a very steep and
hard 6 hour climb there and back but I would also have to walk to the start of the track which was another 6 km’s out of Wanaka. So having been on the phone to Martyn that morning I was feeling lazy and couldn’t decide whether I had the energy to do it or not, but luckily I kicked myself up the arse and just started walking out of town.
An hour later I got to the start of the track and looked up to the top of the mountain and thought, ah well it doesn’t look all that bad. It said that it’s a 6 hour return walk, but looking from the bottom I thought I could make it in a couple of hours easily! How wrong could I be!! Right from the very start the track was very steep and very windy and within the first hour I kept thinking ‘bloody hell’, this is either very steep or I have just got very unfit!!! This is so much harder than any other walk I have ever done. But seeing the view getting better and better with every meter I climbed, I forced myself step by step up the
bloody mountain determined not to give in.
At about the 2 hour stage the top didn’t seem to be getting any closer, but the altitude that I had climbed was considerable and I was now higher that a lot of other mountains in the area. The final climb was so steep and my legs were so tired, that every couple of minutes I had to rest and catch my breath, I swear by the time I got to the top I was nearly crawling on my hands and knees, barely able to catch up breath and saying a few choice words under by breath of which I won’t repeat!! But oh my god when I finally got to the top, I was greeted with one of the most impressive views I have ever seen, my jaw nearly hit the ground, for a full 360 degrees right around we could see the whole area, back to Wanaka where I had started out this morning, right across many mountain ranges, as well as a number of amazingly blue lakes that make up this area (left from the glaciers in the area 1000’s of years ago). The pictures you can see look
very impressive and are among some of my favorite I have taken but they really do not show 10% of the beautiful that sat up here on the highest peak shows! I could have sat up there for hours! I was so happy to have decided to do it; I nearly didn’t but then thought what else am I going to do? I need some exercise and boy I got that, but never did I think the views were going to be that impressive.
I am sorry I am banging on about this but between this and the Tongariro alpine crossing I did the other week, these have to be the most magnificent views I have ever seen, I only wish I could have you there to sit with me and appreciate it too, incredible really doesn’t describe it well enough! Just open the pictures up BIG and see for yourself - I still can’t believe I climbed 1.3kms vertically up!!
The walk back down was a lot faster than the walk up and I had ended up meeting 3 Austrian girls near the top so ended up walking back down with them, they cracked me up and were
completely mad but were kind enough to give me a lift back to Wanaka once we got to the bottom on the track as my legs were so tired by that point that could hardly support my own weight and I really couldn’t have faced walking the 6kms backing to town on top of all that!
Another of the things I didn’t do here in Wanaka last time was to visit puzzle world, it hadn’t interested me that much as I thought I was more for kids etc so didn’t hold much appeal for me! Yet again how wrong I could be! Over the past 24 hours having been in Wanaka by myself I had started to bump into many people that I have travelled with or met before in some other place over the past few weeks, but I was real happy when I bumped into Rowan and Helen who I did the Tongariro crossing with.
They had mentioned about going to puzzle world so I thought what the hell, why not it might be laugh, so roped in a few more people including the 3 Austrian girls I met doing the walk the previous day and before
Was suddenly all worth the walk to see this - this is one of my favorite pics
I knew it, we had gone from a group of 3 to a group of 15!!
Now I don’t think I have ever had more fun from 10 dollars in my life, I don’t think I have ever seen so many mid-twenties year old so entertained by such random exhibits. There were two main areas that made up puzzle world, the maze and the puzzle rooms. The puzzles rooms started with the most impressive holograms I have ever seen, there looked so realistic and life like-There was this gun that comes out in complete 3D and follows you where ever you move. We moved though some other rooms that had many weird and strange optical illusions on the wall, like an elephant with 8 legs etc (many of these you would have seen in emails sent from friends). But the next room was very strange as it was a huge semi-circular room with 200 huge 3D faces from top to bottom. I was instructed to cover one eye and the walk around the room in front of the wall and it was the freakiest sensation as all the faces seemed to come out of the wall and follow you
were ever you walked. It wasn’t just the eyes that followed you, but the whole face appeared to turn and move to follow your every move!
Once out the room in was funny looking back at every else walking around the room with one hand over there eye, ducking and diving and trying to avoid the staring faces.
The next room had to be the best as all the walls were completely vertical like in any house but the floor was at a steep incline, so as soon as you started to walk it felt like you were drunk! This room was filled with items and stuff that really fooled and confused your brain. Like the water that appeared to be running up hill and the snooker table where the balls did the same thing. But the best object had to be the chair you sat in that looked like it rolled up hill. It was really incredible how easily your brain can be fooled by such a simple thing as an inclined floor. I know you won’t full appreciate what it was like without being there but we all found this so funny, we were all laughing a
joking around like we had been drinking all afternoon.
We then headed to this room, called the Ames room which is a type of visual effects room that was used in the Lord of the rings for making people either look big or small. This was as highly amusing cause if you ran to one corner of the room you appeared to be huge and the ceiling was only 5 feet high, but if you then ran to the other corner where the ceiling was double the height you suddenly appeared to be half the height. Oh how little things please little minds!! I left like i was Homer Simpson (not because I love beer!) because I found myself running from one corner to the other and then back again laughing my ass off ……...now I’m big!!! ……..now I’m small ha ha!!!
Finally finished our time here with the maze, we had to find all the 4 coloured towers which was pretty easy then just had to find our way out, which was definitely the hardest part, our group kept getting smaller and smaller till at one point there was only me and Rowan walking around lost. There
were a few bridges that gave you an elevated view over the maze which you would have thought would have helped us out of the maze, but the designers were crafty and it really didn’t help at all. I think it took us something like 20 mins to find all the coloured towers but then 25 mins to find our way out.
I really had an awesome time here, it was a great and like with many things having such a cool crowd made it all the more enjoyable as you feed of each others excitement. I felt like I was 10 or 11 again!!! If you ever go to Wanaka you have to do puzzle world - it’s great!
The weather over the past couple of days had been great and it was so hot and sunny (sorry England!) so once we came back from Puzzle world we headed to the lake front and sat on the beach which was lovely, then Rowan decided we should swim in the lake, so we did……well if you can call it swimming, me, Rowan and Verena stood on the beach counted to three and then ran in, dived under, swam for
about 15-20 secs and then ran back out as it was to bloody freezing!!! I think it would have been lucky if the temp was into double figures!!!
As I had mentioned in my last couple of blogs, I have been really good not drinking too much, staying in and doing loads of different activities, well this was all about to change over the coming few days!!
Our last night in Wanaka Rowan, Helen, Fiona and I all started doing stupid drinking games back at our hostel, which we drank our way through a box of beer in next to no time! I learnt a few new drinking games which were great fun but by the time we headed out to ‘Shooters’ we were all pretty pissed. We met up with one of their American mates Mikey who came and joined us. The games continued further into the night where we had a jug in the middle and we all had to put bits of our drink into it and flipped a coin to see who had to drink it. Fiona definitely got the worst one where she had to down a whole pitcher (plastic jug) plus half a
glass of all various drinks mixed together it was so disgusting. It was great night and great group of people, although I did feel pretty rough in the morning.
I have had an awesome time here in Wanaka, with the weather and the group of people that I have met it has been great, especially as I arrived here not knowing anyone, that’s the thing about travelling, you’re never on your own very long! The night’s outs, the laughter and that climb up the mountain to ‘Roy’s peak’ have been so memorable once again I say to you Wanaka is the best place in NZ, get your ass out here and see it for yourself!
There are more photos below