Monday, February 13, 2012


We said goodbye to Te Anau about 10am on Monday.  The drive to Wanaka took us back to Queenstown, and then north through the mountains.  Just outside of Queenstown we stopped at the Stoneridge Estate Winery for lunch.  It is a beautiful property, complete with 6 room inn and a chapel for weddings.  The café had only been open 4 weeks, and was being run by a young English couple from Camberley.  They are getting ready to move back to England and start a coffee and sandwich shop there.  We talked for at least 30 minutes about their travels, coffee, the winery, our travels, etc.  It was really a delightful visit.  They encouraged us to stop at Arrowtown on our way to Wanaka.  Arrowtown is an old mining town with the historic buildings restored and now filled with interesting shops, cafes, restaurants, and ice cream parlors – our type of city.  After walking around the town we went to see an old Chinese settlement.  Just like in California, and about the same time, the Chinese came to New Zealand to mine for gold.

After Arrowtown we drove to Wanaka, over some pretty impressive mountains.  The road was under construction a lot of the way and the speed limit was 30 kmh, about 18 MPH.  The rest of the time the speed limit was 100kmh, about 60 MPH, except due to the tight curves it was hard to go over 45.  Basically it took a lot longer than expected to get to Wanaka, but it was worth it.  Our hotel is a nice resort with three swimming pools and perhaps 10 hot tubs.  Misa was very excited, she finally got to go swimming.

After swimming we did homeschooling and I ran into town for groceries.  These motels and apartment-style hotels are saving us a lot of money because we are cooking in the room.  All three breakfasts and dinners in Te Anau and now dinner in Wanaka we ate in the room.

The setting here in Wanaka is very tranquil, open prairie surrounded by soaring peaks.  Tomorrow we will leave for Franz Josef Glacier, stopping at Mt. Aspiring National Park on the way.