Since moving here we've done the drive a few times and no...Adam hasn't driven every time.....just mostly. On this occasion, the sun was comforting and turning the afternoon golden and warming. The views are far reaching and the mountains seem to smile back at you. We head down into Wanaka, heading to the outskirts and a hunt for campsite......
Oh the joy, I knew just driving up the gravel road we were onto a winner here. Yes it's a wee bit out the way, but boy is it worth it. So no, you can't stroll into Wanka for an evening meal or drink but there is a well stocked shop on site with just the amount of goodies you need. Plus you can walk round the lake into Wanaka, it'll just take a hour or so.
So this place has soul. There are numbered, powered sites, but not lined up like a regimental ground. There are trees, dirt and mud. Plus you're on a lakeside, on a slight incline, so there are varied views and outlooks. There are a few folk here, some in tents, some in very small tents. There are trailer tents, and campa vans plus huge trailers with the whole deal of heaters, satellites etc. What I'm saying is that it copes, encourages and welcomes all types of camping. Yes Lake Outlet Holiday Park is the place to stay.
The showers/toilets are the best designed I have ever come across and despite the wind and rain (oh boy was there rain) they stayed warm dry and cosy. The warmest of our trip in fact. Now these aren't flash, big or brand new. They just work and are just right. There is a sufficient sized kitchen that given the rain was always quite busy in the evenings, folks playing cards, writing, computering as well as cooking and washing up.
We were here for Anzac day which we marked with a good breakfast and a stunning walk from the campsite to Albert Town. An absolutely great track that we were blessed with sun and warmth as we strolled the easy path along the lake outlet up the river about 6km of walking, then a rest with treats and then a walk back.
Another must do for Wanaka is the cinema. Now a cinema visit in New Zealand is always pretty good, They have leg room, normally wine or whatever you fancy really. There are those with bean bag seats or those with posh lounging recliner chairs where you can have food delivered to you mid way through the film. There are huge screens. There are some amazing independent cinema with great style, class and ice cream. There are quirky famous in there own right cinema and this one, the Paradiso in Wanaka is one of those.
Tis full of armchairs, settees and other oddities to sit upon - namely a Morris minor! You can eat before, during or after. It was busy when we booked our tickets, busy when we turned up and busy when we ate pizza after the film. They have this amazing tradition it seems of home baked cookies, ready fresh from the oven for the intermission. Yes an intermission, the stampede was a sight in itself. Service excellently friendly banter and fun with a healthy approach to annoyingly noisy children.
We did brave the rain, got dressed up - no such thing as bad weather just bad clothes kind of attitude - and off we went. Only a short one, I'm all for getting out there, but the cloud was low , the rain was full on and I don't want to die! Anyway Diamond Lake it was. A a great walk around the lake, we then went up (oh how I love walking uphill), as we got to on viewpoint, the clouds lightened, the rain eased and we took it all in for a moment. Deep breaths, joy of living and all that. Then we walked back, more rain came and the clouds thicken. We are blessed, joyful, appreciative, wet, happy.