jen yu: new zealand 2004 - day 5

new zealand 2004 - day 5

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puzzling work, wanaka, queenstown
november 29, 2004
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After the previous day's tortuous hike, we gave ourselves a day off to recoup, relax, and pack up for the Routeburn Track. We went to the DOC office to secure a reservation at Lake Mackenzie. If the weather was forecasted to be awful, we would stay at the hut ($80 for two!). If the weather looked decent, we would reserve the tentsite ($30!). The weather looked iffy, but we opted for the tentsite. We felt the huts seemed so extravagant. Next door, we booked a shuttle to the Routeburn Track with Backpacker Express, and then walked around the corner to get some brekkie and stamps.

The cafe in Glenorchy (there's only one) has some great food for decent prices. We sat outside on the porch watching Dart River boat tour groups load up and leave. I hate the Dart River jet boats. We could hear them from the Rockburn Track and they are loud and obnoxious. I find it interesting that the natural resources of the country are a large part of what drives the tourism industry, and yet the way New Zealand offers tours (jet boat, helicopters, cruise ships) are environmentally damaging and aesthetically (for those not on the tours) gross. We wrapped up business in Glenorchy and began the drive to Wanaka.

We took the scenic road over the Crown Range to Wanaka because it is a lovely drive. Wanaka is the staging ground for Mount Aspiring National Park. It is situated on beautiful Lake Wanaka, surrounded by snow-capped peaks and on this day, sparkling in the sunlight. We stopped in town to pick up some fish and chips takeaway. I was/am addicted to fish and chips. The walkway along the shore had a tile for each year (we didn't start at the beginning, but it ends at 2000) with bits of interesting history on each tile. After delicious fish and chips by the shore, we drove to Puzzling World - the purpose of our return to Wanaka.

First, we did the maze, which makes you feel like a lab rat. We opted for the difficult challenge, which is to find the colored towers in a certain order and then return to the finish/start. Typically times were 1-1.5 hours. We finished in 45 minutes. It was so much fun! People had one of three looks on their faces: 1) shit-eating grin 2) annoyance (usually accompanied with many small children in tow) and 3) bewilderment. Standing above on the stair platforms doesn't actually help you figure out the lower level maze because the tricky parts are under the stair platforms (I know, I tried it). Next, we visited the museum of illusions. This was great fun until we got to the room sloped at 15 degrees. It takes getting used to, and then you watch water flow uphill, a billiard ball roll uphill, you slide uphill... After 10 minutes in this room playing with all of the weirdness, I suddenly felt VERY nauseous. Luckily, this was the end. Out in front there is a cafeteria, gift shop, and tables full of puzzles for people to sit down at and play.

In town, we filled petrol and loaded up at the local (and excellent) grocery store. We drove back to Queenstown where we had booked a motel stay at Thomas' Hotel (Thomas is a cat and we're friends). It rained like hell in Queenstown, then cleared up during our dinner at a sushi restaurant. We walked around and I had to take a picture of some local real estate listings. That's right, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1 car garage, all for a mere NZ$1.495 million. Back at the motel, we packed gear and went to bed.

back to nz 2004
[ day 4 | day 6 ]