Kirsty & Nick's New Zealand Adventure travel blog

Lake Wanaka

Mountains over Lake Wanaka

Depart Wanaka: 3016 km (09.45)

Actually we didn't depart really because we are back in the same exact spot tonight. We left, did some stuff, then came back again. Very nice place. The only complaints are the lack of wifi and the fact that the washing machines are locked on a cold cycle and therefore don't wash properly. I pays my money, I want hot water for my washing. 5 stars for goodness sake.

The skies cleared last night and it was freezing cold, the coldest night so far, and neither one of us could get warm. At least that meant we woke to clear skies. We didn't wake until gone 8, and Nick didn't get up until I'd had the heater running for about half an hour and had made tea and porrage!

We decided to go to the local ski area – Treble Cone, and check it out. We knew it was shut, as a resort, but it only closed this week, so we thought we should still be able to see the runs and how big the resort was.

It's about a 10 mile drive out of town, around the lake, with some beautiful vistas over the lake with huge snow capped mountains in the background. When we got to the main entrance though, it was followed by a very steep, gravel road, which as I already said, we are not allowed on. We were very disappointed because it was such a lovely day, you'd be able to see for miles from the top. After a bit of um-ing and ah-ing we decided to cycle up it. It didn't look like it was going to be easy, and you couldn't even see where you were heading. No signs indicated how far it was either. However, unperturbed (well maybe a little) we parked the van up at the side of the road, shoved down a couple of mini choc bars, packed a couple more, and set off at around 11.

As soon as we hit the gravel we knew it was going to be a hard slog. The first 500m or so were quite flat, and that was pretty tiring, as soon as it started going up hill...oh my God! By far and away the hardest climb ever...three miles of it. I know what you're thinking, we cycled up 3 miles the other day, down the other side and back up again. This was way harder. The road was more rutted, it was more sandy and wetter too so you sunk and skidded more. I ended up stopping every 50m or so to catch my breath, and that theory about only needing 20 seconds to recover went right out the window too.

Nick asked a couple of times if I wanted to turn back, but I really didn't, I wanted to reach the top, but every hairpin bend we went around the road just seemed to get steeper and steeper. Eventually we cycled past a sign that said 4.5 km to the summit, and it was then I realised I was not going to make it. We went round another hairpin and reached the snow line, which seemed like a good achievement. Unfortunately that brought another problem which was the road started to get really wet with small streams running down it and that made the going pretty much impossible.

When Nick next suggested that we go back, I agreed. We sat for a while and admired the amazing views from where we had got to, then started down again. I was disappointed not to have reached the top, but part of this trip is about redefining what's important and what isn't. We had achieved a lot, and seen some fantastic views. Getting to the top was just about failing and succeeding, and that's just silly.

The cycle down was really hard, and I didn't enjoy it so much as I have the others. I went most of the way with one, other or both breaks on! Nick was hurtling down like something possessed.

Cycle was 6.1 miles. Amazingly we were actually only cycling for 1 hour and 5 minutes, despite being out 3 hours!

Anyway, suitably knackered, we had a quick lunch and then drove back to the camper site (via the supermarket). I was so tired I could hardly drive, and Nick wanted to keep stopping for photo ops – of which there were countless, but in the end, his camera battery died from all the effort.

When we got back to the camp site it was a little after 16.00, so I quickly put some washing on and we jumped in the jacuzzi, which only opened at 16.00. It was a glorious way to soak away the aches and pains of the ride. The spa room had picture windows across one side and you could see the snow capped mountains in the clear afternoon sun. Even snuck a G&T in there! Yummy. Mind you, it got pretty hot pretty quickly, so we were only in there about 15 mins or so, but at least we were all alone.

We were too tired to do much after that. Nick washed the bikes, and I did the washing, tidying up, etc. Then we read a bit, Nick made spag bol for dinner and we zonked out. Again the park was pretty full – I counted 13 campers at about 18.00 in the evening, not one single one parked on the front row with us. Great!

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