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Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Day 278-280: Moving on isn't the same as getting moved on

When we arrived in Wanaka it was shrouded in a rain cloud so thick that you could barely see the shore of Lake Wanaka, let alone the mountains that usually form a beautiful backdrop on the far side of it [below - the next day, as it should be] The streets were soaking and our spirits were low – but luckily there was Cinema Paradiso.

This beautiful one-screen independent cinema is just the thing for a rainy day. Much like Notting Hill's Electric Cinema, seating is made up of comfy sofas and armchairs. There is one exception; perching at a jaunty angle in the corner is ¾ of an old Morris Minor that you can watch from- but only if you're that guy whose lingered conspicuously by the counter that becomes the front of the queue and made a dash across the room followed by a winning smile to your mate whose hung back to collect and carry in your pizza and beers. Oh. Yes – they have a menu too, and a wine list and they bake cookies so that in the half time break (yes, they have one of those for each viewing too) you can stock up on movie snacks again. It's absolute genius.

By the time we emerged from The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest (fantastic, if a little lacking in the depth and detail that make Laarson's book so incredible) the rain had ceased and a few shy rays of setting sunlight were shining on this lovely little town. We ate and after much driving back-and-forth we slept.

And then it happened.

It was always going to happen, but this is when it did. It was 3:49AM and there was a firm knock on our window and a friendly-but-firm torch-wielding DOC officer in a hi-vis vest informed us that we were camping in a “no camping” site (reference here to the “no camping” signs we'd parked besides) and that the police we behind him and if we were caught in said “no camping” zone we'd be charged somewhere in the region of 500NZD each. We apologised for the mistake and he generously pointed us in the direction of the nearest DOC site, about 10km away, and on we drove. We had been moved on.

Well, we weren't about to pay $7 each for a nights' sleep that began at 4:30AM [many DOC sites are operated by leaving fees in designated envelopes that contain receipts that must be displayed in windscreens for “early morning” checks by site rangers] so two hours later after very little sleep we moved on again...voluntarily this time...back to the lake front where we snoozed undisturbed until 10ish. A terrible night's sleep all in all but at least we hadn't paid for it.

Perhaps going to a attraction that specialises in puzzles was not the wisest idea after very little sleep but the sun was out and we were keen to see the famous Puzzling World. It boasts an outdoor labyrinth [right] – which is really fun until you are widely lost and then it's deeply frustrating – and rooms of holograms and illusions that mess with even the most alert of minds [above]. Tables in the cafe have puzzles on them that you can try and try at before giving up and moving onto the next one. It's great fun.

Apart from this we spent most of our time in Wanaka next to the Lake; when the sun is shining it is the perfect holiday town...but after a day or two of beautiful sunshine and catch-up midday snoozes the dark clouds rolled in and it was time for us, again, to move on.


  1. Trish says

    Loved the puzzles - what fun! Must be nice to catch your breath and travel at leisure.

    Mum xxx

  2. hi trish, yeah 'tis lovely...

    also - literally literally JUST got pulled over by the police for having my seatbelt only over my waist and not diagonally over my chest...the authorities are all over us! :)