17 April 2016
We felt like Wanaka might deserve more than just an overnight stay but we really didn’t have time to explore it. It is a pretty little resort community with a young vibe. It also has a wine region. I had a glass of the local wine with dinner that was very good; better than most of the Marlborough wines I’ve tried and less expensive as well. We left Wanaka taking a scenic route on Cardrona Valley Road which took us though some lovely scenery and eventually to the historic gold mining town Arrowtown.
Arrowtown is a picturesque place that is apparently THE place to go on a Sunday morning; it was packed! The streets of the old town are lined with little shops and eateries. We got lucky with a place to park and did some looking around before eating lunch. The place we ate had a variety of items but we both chose pizza. Lynnette was really disappointed with her Pepperoni pizza which had salami on it – NOT pepperoni. It seems that this is done here often; not sure if they don’t know the difference or what.
We left Arrowtown and continued onto Highway 6 which goes over the mountains following along Lake Wakatipu. As we approached the part of this road know as the Devils Staircase we were stopped, with about 10 cars in front of us. The roadway worker said traffic was stopped in both directions while an automobile accident was cleared. It took about an hour for the road to reopen. I took some pictures of the lake to pass the time and to try to forget how badly I needed to pee. As the time dragged on it became urgent. The day before we had a takeout coffee. I had rinsed out and saved the cups thinking we might want to make coffee to go. It turns out the the cup came in handy for other purposes! Yikes!
As we passed the accident there were two vehicles involved. One car was missing the entire drivers side of the car; no doors. It looked really bad and we did not see how the driver could have survived. It was very sobering and we felt a bit disturbed for the remainder of the day. Later we found that no one had perished but learned that there are numerous accidents in New Zealand because of foreign drivers.
As we passed through the countryside on our way to Te Anau the landscape was covered in the native Red Tussock grass and littered with small boulders. We commented that this country side looked very much like some we had seen in Lord of the Rings.
We arrived in Te Anau at dusk and checked into the Distinction Hotel. After getting unpacked we decided we were too tired to bother going somewhere for dinner and instead ate crackers, cheese, apples and other finger foods that we had with us. We turned on the television and found the first Lord of the Rings movie playing – cool!! As we watched the credits we discovered that we had been correct and part of it had indeed been filmed in the area we had just passed through. As it turned out, they were playing all three movies; we watched the second and a bit of the third before falling to sleep.