Wanaka Zero

Since we got here a day earlier than expected we camped out last night at the holiday park. It was also fairly expensive like the one in Arrowtown, and the ground conditions were way worse, but at least the showers here were free. It was super windy when we arrived last night and setting up tents in the wind was interesting but everyone’s tent seemed to survive the night, hooray. It also rained a bit which meant wet tents in the morning but the sun cave out and got everything dried up nicely!

Today is a national holiday in New Zealand, Waitangi Day. So lots of things were expected to be closed. Seems like most of the stuff in Wanaka is open though, so no delays on that front. I need to go get some arch supports and a new belt for my hiking pants at the local sports shop, buy some groceries for the upcoming 6-7 day stretch, and figure out what I want to do about accommodation on the other side. Also, given that the street after this one is a 50km stretch with 42 of it being along a canal where you can’t camp or do anything else and it’s just a flat gravel road and you have to do it in one day, I’m probably going to contact one of the bike hire services that can drop off a bike for me, haul my pack, and ride that stretch instead of walking it, so I need to line that up.

There’s a legendary movie theater here in town that has fresh cookies, an intermission, interesting seating, including the back seat of an old car, so we’re planning to see Molly’s Game at 8pm, after we have a little bbq / family dinner at the hostel most of us are staying at.

I’ve also heard good things about Puzzling World, so I’d like to check that out. When I was here last year I saw it but assumed it was more kid oriented, but apparently that’s not the case and it’s pretty fun for adults too. It, too is open normal hours today, so that’s awesome.

Fast forward a bit.

Got my arch supports. High confidence. The sports shop I went to had one of those mats that you stand on and it measures your arch and helps pick the right one. Got a pair and they feel pretty good. Since I’ve been walking for so long with bad arch support it’ll take a little getting used to but I feel pretty confident that it’s the right thing. The guy helping me also commented that my shoes were getting pretty worn. 18 days on the trail and they look like they’ve been through a war zone. I sent my replacement pair on to Methven so I’m still about 2 or so weeks away from my new pair. Gotta make these hold together (literally) until then.

Fast forward some more. We went to Puzzling World. Super awesome. The illusions were really nifty and well put together, especially the tilted room which seriously was making me motion sick just trying to walk through it. Then we went to the maze. There are 4 corners in the maze and you have to go to each one. For an extra challenge there’s a particular order to visit them in. The maze had some flyovers to take you between sections, which were part of the maze and gave you a view of the maze to try to strategize. Super super fun. I think I ended up visiting every corner multiple times both trying to find them in the correct order and then trying to get back out. Super fun. And there were puzzles in the cafe area you could try out. Some captured strings, a couple of sliding piece puzzles, etc. Did I mention super fun? Super fun.

After that we wandered over to the supermarket and loaded up a cart with food for dinner. Given that we were 5 hikers we bought way too much food, but managed to eat most of it, somehow. Tomorrow a lot of us are splitting up. Some pushing onward farther than others, some doing side trips, and one taking another rest day in Wanaka. So since it may be the last time we all see each other we had a nice goodbye and dinner.

Afterward we were going to see a movie, but it was sold out! I’m both sad and somewhat relieved. I’m tired. Today was a very packed day off. And I still need to go grocery shopping in the morning before I head out of town for 7 days! I’m really sad I didn’t get to see the theater and its experience, but “I’ll just have to come back”. My FOMO is definitely hitting me hard right now. But I also really want to get back on the trail, so another day in Wanaka isn’t something I want to do. Plus there are zero vacancies in the whole town, at all. Everything is booked up. I could camp at the holiday park but bleh. Onward I must go.

We stopped into the DOC center to see if there wa anywhere to camp between the town of Lake Hawea and the beginning of the next day’s climb but they said it’s all private property and people had been getting huge fines for doing it. Not to mention it’s not a great way to represent the hiker community. Our only choices are to camp at Lake Hawea and go up the next day, or try to push forward and do it all in one go. Which might be doable for a few of this group, but not for this guy.

Anywho, instead of going out for a movie we’re watching Trading Places back at the hostel. Such a good movie.

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