for a few days.
I've heard about the wonders of Wanaka for awhile. My sources of information were Department of Conservation officers to fellow wanderers. "The town lies in a rain shadow region. It's different than a lot of New Zealand places." I liked those words-rain shadow. They went on to say it's a cool town with plenty of hiking nearby. With a "Why Not?" Attitude, I booked four nights of pricey accommodation close to the Hub Bub of this Burg of 6,500 residents.
Upon my arrival, I discovered Wanaka was gearing up for a full/half Triathlon to be held on the morrow. Cyclists with determined looks and shaved legs sped past on five-$-digit-figure bicycles. Others were swimming laps in the massive lake. Many were seen trail running along the shoreline while glancing at their stopwatches. Amazing Type AAA athletes in action-before the event! I didn't envy them.
I strolled over to the DOC office and scored enough hiking info to occupy me during my stay.
So that's what I did. I hiked in the early morning to tops of fine mountains devoid of the
that bothersome temperate rain forest. (A real nuisance for views). The climbs were steep on well trod tracks. Warm sunshine was the prevailing weather. It felt and acted like summer. I wore shorts, sunscreen, tank tops, sunglasses and a huge grin. I was feeling my Mojo again.
The rest of my days were spent, drinking coffee or beer (depending on the hour) while gazing out at the mountainous scenery. Lake Wanaka's waters changed colors from dawn to dusk. It made for great photo ops. Active people ran, biked and swam throughout the day. They even had muscles. It felt like being in a Colorado mountain town minus the smell of Ganga. I loved the place. It felt sort of like Home. For the first time since I've been in NZ, I seriously thought, "I can stay here for awhile and it wouldn't drive me nuts."
In a few years when I return to the Land of Kiwis, I'll do just that.
From cloudy, foggy but not cold Fox Glacier Town,
PS. A few of these photos are from nearby Mount Aspiring National Park.