Sunday, March 5, 2017

Lake Wanaka....

Friday, March 3, 2017
Leave the west coast rain forest and head to Wanaka. A 3 hour ride in the van, rainy, and cloudy weather that is supposed to be typical of that area especially but we have managed to avoid it thus far. As we go over the mountain pass - these are the Southern Alps - the sky begins to clear and it looks like we could still have a good day.
We stop short of the town of Wanaka and take a short (5 km) hike along the lakeside to our lunch spot, a restaurant in Wanaka where we are served a buffet of salads, quiche, vegetable lasagna, sausage rolls and wedge fries, with a couple of squares for dessert. After a brief look around town, we load back into the vans and head out for the main hike of the day. Shania Twain is somewhat of a local legend here - she has a $40 million home and has put a lot of money and assistance to helping complete the Te Araroa Trail (runs North Island, South Island and can be equated to the Pacific Coast Trail in North America) locally.
The afternoon hike is a bit taxing, especially after that bigger than usual lunch! Big mistake! We are hiking from Diamond Lake to Rocky Mountain Summit - 8 km out with elevation gain of 410 m/1,350 ft elevation gain - the 8 km would not problem but that elevation gain is a killer! Both Janet and I stop at the interim point which is at 5 km with 800 ft elevation gain and then back down to the start.
                      Our hotel for the next two days is The Edgewater. We have a suite, with bathroom, bedroom with 2 single beds, kitchen, dining area and a sitting room with couches and chairs centred around a flat screen TV (the other places we've stayed have all had TVs but we have not even attempted turning them on. We have been without internet/reliable wifi which seems to matter greatly to the others in our group but as I do not have a cellphone, it means little to me.
We have dinner on our own tonight and we have to get into town on our own - it's a 3 km walk and to be honest with you, I'd be happy to stay in and order pizza, but Janet is determined to go and to walk there at least. I grudgingly act like that's okay with me and I get ready to go. As we go outside, it's beginning to rain and I gladly go to the front desk and order a taxi. The ride cost $12.50. The cab driver drops us off at the Landing where we have 6 pm reservations, made a few days back by moi at Janet's request because she doesn't hear well enough to use the phone. The place looks fine, modern and we do have a lovely view out onto Lake Wanaka. We order a 'little', the salmon confit ($21) an iceberg salad ($8) a 'big', the monkfish en papilotte ($29) and greens ($8).  Humm, a slight case of pretentiousness, possibly... The food does not live up to the hype - the monkfish is served in a  sad, foil pouch! (And my photo didn't turn out.) It should be in a cute little pocket of parchment paper. WTF? And the prices! But they did have the wine from the Mount Pleasant winery in the Hunter Valley that we sampled last week.
It's 7:30 by the time we are finished and still lots of daylight so we walk back to the hotel. Halfway there (we are following the lake edge) Jan decides to go off-roading and follow a recreation trail further along the lake. With some misgivings, I follow but I've checked the time and I'm giving her ten minutes to produce results. I pick a path to go back up to civilization and we are in a spot with all fenced backyards and no trail to follow. I eventually find a pathway that does lead us to a street and I make her get out the infamous blackberry to 'Googlemap' where we are. We do manage to get back to the Edgewater resort before dark.
Fitbit, 12.4 km, MA, 12.4 km plus 3 km walk home from dinner.

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