Up and out by 7.30am. Cool, fun driver called Lefty today. We stopped at Lake Matheson first: where all those postcard photos of Mt Cook reflected in a lake are taken. The only reflection I got was of trees and cloud: its a really crap day!

Originally I was going to stop in Fox Glacier for a couple of days, but since I’ve already done the hike and can’t afford another splurge yet, I decided to keep going through to Wanaka. We played Blind Date and a bus quiz, and also had a game of Bridge Bingo, where you have to guess how many bridges there are between Franz Josef and Makarora (the answer is 27 by the way). We stopped at Ship Creek (rugged west coast beach) and Bridal Veil Falls for photos, crossed the Haast Pass, and stopped at Makarora for lunch. The weather started clearing by then and we could see the snow-capped peaks of Mt Aspiring national park. Lefty also told us about some kids in Makarora who get to school by jetboat every day. Quite a cool way to get to school, don’t you think?

After lunch we stopped alongside Lake Hawea for more photos, and arrived in Wanaka a little later. Steph and Dave were leaving as I was arriving, but Anna was still around for another day. Also found Dimitri and Shehan here (other people from Blue Ice Bar).

Wanaka is a small town (around 7,000) situated at one end of Lake Wanaka, surrounded by Mt Aspiring National Park, and the Treble Cone and Cardrona ski areas. Essentially a big lake surrounded by big mountains, and some small towns in between. They filmed lots of LOTR around here and Queenstown (100km away). There are lots of LOTR tours, but since they put melded different parts of the country together for scenes, nowhere would look exactly as you expect or remember it.

Moved into my room, then wandered into town with Anna. She went to the internet, and I took a walk to Eely Point, about 20mins away. Took too many photos yet again.

Pirates of the Caribbean was the highlight of my evening!

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