Wanaka, wine and wackiness

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January 24th 2010
Published: January 25th 2010
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What a hectic day. We left Te Anau soon after 7 in a deluge but having learnt that unlike back home this doesn't mean anything for the rest of the day we chased snippets of blue sky back towards QT and then the Central Otago wine trail - the home of the best Pinot Noirs. There are over 100 wineries to choose from but we agreed to limit it to 3 stop offs today. Gibbston Valley was the first and best and as a bonus (well for Loz anyway) it also had a cheesery. Whilst Loz tasted the selection Daz was quite happy to find that they also had samples of chutneys, vinegars and other such goodies to dip bread in.

Next up the cute little village of Old Cromwell. We caught the end of their foodie farmers market and did a taste and run at Rockport - not a patch on Gibbston Valley.

It was getting on for lunchtime and our next stop was the Lazy Dog, a cafe/restaurant where you can buy a tasting rack from various wineries. It was great to try a few Pinot Noirs side by side and as the sun tried to break it's way through we sat out on their terrace with a sneaky picnic of sausage cheese and olives! Verdict - The Valli was the winner, Misha's the runner up. Of course we liked the most expensive best so managed to resist buying any. Daz's verdict: Loz had planned her early driving stint well so she could get the lion's share of the tastings...

A sobering sandwich from the back of the Jucy set us up for the 1½ hour sharp steep hike up mount iron for a panoramic view of Lake Wanaka. We couldn't help but run down the other side (and vowed that we must invest in some trail running shoes) so made it back in an hour allowing time for a visit to Puzzling World.

What a great idea. The place has the best puzzling items anywhere in the world with some great perceptive changing items such as a room that can make you look tall or short depending on where you stand (used in Lord of the Rings to create the hobbit look) and one where water seems to go up hill. Daz was in his element. After 45 frustrating minutes trailing around the amazing maze (three dimensional no less and a lot harder than it looks) however Loz was dehydrated, hungry, hot and bothered (could also be something to do with just running over a mountain) so she admitted defeat and took the emergency exit. Daz was not to be beaten by a few fences but suspiciously came out five minutes later claiming that he had completed it, hmmm. The illusion rooms were cool (although the tilting room made Loz feels sick..) and we had to finish off with the famous holding up the leaning clock tower picture.

Wanaka is our kind of place. Amazing scenery (goes without saying here), fantastic restaurants, funky shops and enough trails and activities to keep you busy for years. The Aspiring View campsite is our base for 2 nights and it is quite luxurious (as much as a campsite can be).

Barbie no 2 involved lamb steaks (with our gourmet balsamic mint sauce), courgettes, tomatoes, honey and soy bread and a lovely bottle of rose. And then we did glamorous things like laundry, skype, blogging, losing the keys (Loz), turning the van upside down in a frenzy (Loz and Daz) and then finding them in a pocket of the top Loz was still wearing and had been all along. Oops!

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