Wandering round Wanaka

 Exercise was due today – we’d spent far too much time loafing around recently – so we decided on a walk by Diamond Lake. This is a fairly small lake, by Kiwi standards, located maybe 15km outside of Wanaka. There are a handful of walks around it leading up the surrounding hills, all of which offer spectacular views.

We arrived and decided to ignore the warning about slippy paths and wintery weather being a bad combination. As it turned out, this was fine. The weather was nippy and there was some frozen water around, but it was mainly just a little muddy. Many areas have had gravel put down or stairs added by a volunteer group headed by the guy who started Puzzling World.

 Our original plan was to go the whole hog for the half-day walk, but the weather closed in as we neared the second stage and we weren’t exactly prepared in the event of a blizzard. Instead, we managed lunch halfway up and then slipped and slid our way back downhill to the van.

It was late afternoon when we drove back into town, trying to locate a pharmacist to top up on a few supplies. Hardly anywhere else is open on a Sunday. Spotting one on the right, I swung over and parked up… then panicked when I saw red and blue flashing lights and someone pointing at me. A police car coming the opposite direction down the road was blocking me in and I was sure I’d done nothing wrong. I’d not cut him up or anything when I zipped over the road to park. A brief conversation sorted it – you’re not allowed to park on the “wrong” side of the road in NZ. If the only spare space is on the right, you have to go to the top of the street and turn round so you’re pointing the right way when you pull in. Live and learn. Judging from the way he told me it’s a common thing for visitors not to know this one.

 I now await one of you telling me it’s illegal back home as well…

Purchases made, we drove back out of Wanaka to Have A Shot. This is a small venture about 5km outside the town on the road to Queenstown. For varying prices they offer clay pigeon shooting, small bore rifle shooting, archery, a driving range, mini golf and an outdoor “battlefield” with guns that fire sponge balls. Time was running out as they close at 5pm so we opted for the minigolf. Surprised?

A very difficult course, this one, but well laid out. It would look glorious in the summer as there were a lot of bushes that stood leafless in the winter weather. Several of the water features were dry as well, I assume due to the risk of them icing over. The greens/fairways sloped in a lot of places which made some of the putting incredibly hard, and the generous use of drainpipe caused numerous headaches on the way round.

 The course is based on local geography, people and events. The description at the start of each hole gives you information on whatever the hole is about (a mountain, a valley or – in one case – a pilot who died in a crash nearby) along with directions of where to look if the feature is visible in the surrounding area.

Overall, a great challenge. Which Louise may have won by the narrowest of margins. Though the documentary evidence is in pencil, so could have been tampered with.

We had guests for dinner as we made our cheesy omelettes – two fantails that had decided the kitchen was warmer than wherever they’d usually nest. They flew around for ages, despite all the windows and doors being wedged open for them. Eventually, one decided to leave but after a heated (or tweeted) discussion, the other opted to remain. Posted by Picasa

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