#25 - craziest driving experiene from franz josef to wanaka

Wanaka Travel Blog

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Lake Matheson....gorgeous reflecting views.

*****DAY THIRTY EIGHT (Friday, January 9, 2009) - HOLY *&@#& - CRAZIEST RIDE!!!  followed by AMAZING Wanaka*****

I got up early (not surprising since I went to bed so early!), had my breakie & headed out towards Wanaka.   And wouldn't you know it - I forgot to charge my iPod again!  AH!!!  Another day of singing random songs!!

Anyway, I'm SOOO glad I got up early because the day turned pretty quickly.  I was able to do the walk around Lake Matheson before it started to rain (I saw some reflections but - I didn't get to see the awesome reflection of Mt. Cook though that you see in tons of pictures!  Oh well!  I'll buy a postcard I guess.

OMG. I can't even describe to you what the rain was like driving from Franz Josef to Wanaka!
  ;)) but OMG.....I ended up driving in the CRAZIEST rain storm EVER!  It was pouring down so hard....I just kept singing camp songs really loud to keep my sanity. 

When I decided I couldn't take the driving anymore, I decided I was going to pull over at the next possible stop.  It's not like there are lots of stops along the road, so I was praying that one would come up soon!  When I saw the Salmon Farm, I was SO excited!  I pulled in and sat in my car for awhile debating how I was going to get to my raincoat in the boot (that's the trunk) of the car without getting drenched.  When I realized I was pretty much doomed, I just ran as fast as I could into the Salmon Farm. 

As I walked in, I immediately ran into two other Americans.  I think I said something about the rain and the woman asked me right away, "Where are you from in the States"?  They were so nice and asked me to join them for lunch.

I stopped at a Salmon Farm/cafe because I couldn't keep driving & I was so lucky to meet Larry & Sheila Brown. They are from Larchmont! Love it!
  So that's how I met Sheila and Larry Brown from Larchmont, New York!  I just loved that they were New Yorkers & that they were from Larchmont (I was named after New Rochelle, which is right by Larchmont).  It really felt like "home" sitting and chatting with them.   They were heading to Wanaka too so we thought we may run into each other again (and hey, this is forshadowing because I'm writing this after my time in Wanaka - so stay tuned for when I run into the Browns again...very exciting)

So, I got back in the car and braved the rain again.  It really was the craziest drive EVER.  When I FINALLY got to Lake Hawea and saw the sun shining, I can't tell you how happy I was!  :)  And then, when I pulled into Wanaka it was PERFECT.

SO beautiful!
  I drove RIGHT to the lake and just sat down on the grass, in the sunshine and was SO happy not to be driving anymore!  :)

I checked into my hostel at Fern Lodge and decided I needed to go out and get a drink!  First of all, I have to explain my hostel...it was the most BASIC accomodation. I was in my own room for TWENTY FIVE NZD.  SO cheap - that's like $13ish a night!  All I had was a little twin bed & a concrete block with a piece of wood on it for a table next to the bed.  There was another room with bunk beds next to me & our two rooms shared a common area w/a t.v., frig, microwave & a bathroom.  At first I thought it was kind of gross - but I actually learned to love it really quickly.  It was PERFECT & it was fun to have a little more quiet & privacy than some other hostels.

Emer & Ronan doing the jumping picture!!! :)

Ok - so I headed into town and sat myself down at a table outside the Speight's Ale House.  The sun was shining (it stays light until about 9pm!) and it was just so gorgeous out!  I orderd a glass of wine and just happily sat there by myself.  There was a couple sitting next to me & I could see they were trying to take a picture of themselves with the lake in the background, so I offered to take their picture.  Well, all I have to say is that the night took off from there.  They were the nicest couple - Ronan and Emer from Ireland. The fact that their from Ireland should give away where the night was headed.  We proceeded to order more & more wine!  (And yes, we were drinking Sheep Shagger's wine)  We proceeded to close out the bar and as they walked me home,  we got to take some jumping pictures...you know how I love those.

Such a great first night in Wanaka - and thank god I made it here in all that rain!!!

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Lake Matheson....gorgeous reflecti…
Lake Matheson....gorgeous reflect…
OMG.  I cant even describe to you…
OMG. I can't even describe to yo…
I stopped at a Salmon Farm/cafe be…
I stopped at a Salmon Farm/cafe b…
SO beautiful!
SO beautiful!
Emer & Ronan doing the jumping pic…
Emer & Ronan doing the jumping pi…
Views from Lake Matheson.
Views from Lake Matheson.
Flax again!
Flax again!
the weather definitely strated to …
the weather definitely strated to…
I played with some of the features…
I played with some of the feature…
Then I put it in black & white.
Then I put it in black & white.
The HAAS(t) visitor center!  :)  A…
The HAAS(t) visitor center! :) …
Crazy waterfalls were coming off t…
Crazy waterfalls were coming off …
I just kept saying WOW the whole t…
I just kept saying WOW the whole …
And then, when I got through the H…
And then, when I got through the …
Lake Hawea.
Lake Hawea.
WOOOO HOOO!!! Finally!!!!!
WOOOO HOOO!!! Finally!!!!!
Can you tell why I love Wanaka?!?
Can you tell why I love Wanaka?!?
The lake!
The lake!
I couldnt stop taking pictures of…
I couldn't stop taking pictures o…
My first sunset in Wanaka.
My first sunset in Wanaka.
Me & the wine I had at the Ale Hou…
Me & the wine I had at the Ale Ho…
yes, its called Sheep Shaggers.…
yes, it's called "Sheep Shaggers"…
Emer & Ronan - the coolest couple …
Emer & Ronan - the coolest couple…
We closed down the bar!
We closed down the bar!
Hilarious!!!
Hilarious!!!
Wanaka
photo by: Koralifix