Well last night’s New Year celebrations were fun. Saw in 2008 from the lake front in beautiful Wanaka. Lovely sunny evening. Started off with Thai Meal (sweet and sour fish for those interested in my dietary habits) then went down to watch the bands. Loads of people out dancing and having fun, myself amongst them.
Managed to stay up long enough to watch the fireworks go off at midnight and then walked back to camp in the pitch dark (having forgotten my torch in my haste to get out – won’t be doing that again …).
Very slow start to 2008 for me. Nice long lie in, slooooooowwwwwww breakfast and made it into town around lunch time. Another beautiful sunny day so will be leaving here shortly to go chill by the lake after getting the groceries in. So hot you wouldn’t believe there could still be snow on the mountain tops surrounding Wanaka.
En route to Wanaka stopped off in Arrowtown which is a very quaint old gold mining town.
Had a look round the Chinese settlement which was really interesting. Chinese menfolk came to the Otago region mainly from Guandong Province in the late 1800’s to work the gold field. They weren’t treated all that well by European settlers so had to pitch camp on the outskirts of town. Their resilience paid off and some got gold when supplies were thought to be exhausted and the Euros had long since high tailed it to other climes. Eventually in 2002, the NZ government issued a public apology to the Chinese immigrants for years of legal discrimination.
Apart from the settlement there’s lots of other good stuff to see here. Cafes, nice walks, try your luck at goldpanning, etc.
The drive from Arrowtown to Wanaka over the mountains was amazing. Lots of hair pin bends so pretty slow for the first few Kms but awesome views (bit tricky stopping to take photos though).
Campsite is great, Wanaka is great (and the weather certainly helps) so I may just end up stopping here for a bit longer than originally planned and try and fit in a day trip to Mount Cook before heading up the west coast via Haast Pass and the glaciers.