Thursday, March 6, 2014

New Zealand Day 21: From Wanaka to Queenstown

We woke to some clouds and intermittent showers, so no last minute dash for the hills. Instead, we headed off to Puzzling World, which is a Wanaka institution. They have a big outdoor maze as well as some indoor “halls of illusion,” and we thought B would enjoy it.

The fun started in the bathroom. There’s this funny mural outside:

And then the toilets are quite interesting as well:

 A royal flush?

Then we headed into the maze to try to find our way to each of the corner towers.

After an hour or so, B’s enthusiasm and wiggles were all pretty much exhausted and we’d only found one tower. My dad had lasted about fifteen minutes, my mom about forty-five, and B was rapidly getting cranky. She insisted she wanted to see it through, but after ten or fifteen minutes more, she and I bowed out, leaving Alex as our champion, and went to get a snack.

Thus fortified, we played with the table puzzles for a few minutes and then headed into the illusion halls, which would be worth a visit even without the maze. B particularly enjoyed this tilted room where the chair appeared to glide you “up” the wall.

We had a tasty lunch at the Soul Food Café, which had lots of vegetarian options. Then Alex and Dad headed out to the Wanaka Beerworks for a tasting and tour, which they report was terrific.

Us ladies planned on food shopping and then a playground visit—with the playground plan derailed by a downpour. Instead, we met the guys for ice cream at the delicious Black Peak Gelato:

...then got some coffee and headed for Queenstown.

We tried out the direct Cardrona Valley route, which turned out to be very twisty-turny—we should’ve gone around the geographically longer way with the campervan! Queenstown is a cool little city, and we wanted to be right in walking distance, so we paid a premium for the very tidy and well-organized Top 10 Holiday Park Creeksyde.

Though it was raining on and off, we wandered into town to get the lay of the land. We walked right near the gondola base, which was operating despite the weather:

There are approximately seven trillion outdoors stores in Queenstown, so we checked out a few. Eventually we made our way down to the waterfront and discovered Patagonia Chocolates. With a name like that, I could not resist! Besides, what could be nicer than hot chocolate on a cold, drizzly day? It was delicious.

On the way back to the campsite, B and I stopped at the local primary school for some playground time. It was a hit!

Alex made us a delicious supper (lentil curry on rice; we also finished the leftover Indian food from last night).  We went to bed in the rain again—after nary a drop the first two and a half weeks of our trip!

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