Lake Wanaka, Arrowtown and Queenstown

From glaciers to a beautiful lake with a wonderful scenery, this is how one could describe our journey for the last few days. Lake Wanaka is a wonderful place to hang out for a few days. There are numerous activities that one can do, from kayaking to hiking to just chilling out at the lake. The weather wasn't too kind to us during our stay as it was quite cold, so we chose to get up to date with our blog and later in the evening visit the local cinematography marble the Cinema Paradiso. This cosy little place has couches for seats and it also provides food, so we felt like at home watching the world acclaimed movie Kite Runner (which was brilliant as well).

The next day we were awakened by the annual mountain bike race the Motatapu Icebreaker 2007 where over 2500 cyclist and runners embark on the journey from Wanaka to Arrowtown which supposedly leads through Shania Twain's property in New Zealand and the track is only opened one day in a year. It was quite interesting as the contestants were arriving at our campground, where the start was, already at 6 am. Since there were so much turmoil going around we headed on one of the peaceful walks around the lake and then headed down to Arrowtown for our next advanture.

Unfortunately, due to the race, all accommodations were quite overbooked, so we didn't waste much time and headed down to the trendy Queenstown with the idea to head back up to Arrowtown later. And we did just that. Arrowtown is a small gold mining town with wild west like looking buildings. The gold fever has never left the town as small chunks of gold are still found once in a long while in the river on one side of the city. The local tourist information center takes advantage of this phenomenon and rents out pans and small shovels ($3), so we didn't hesitate a second and got our selves equipped and started our gold chase down the river. After 2 hours of panning with no real results apart from cold hands, we were satisfied with our efforts and returned back to the city for some ice cream instead :). Arrowtown also has a small reconstructed Chinese gold miner's settlement with explanation boards as to how a Chinese immigrant lived in the 1800s in Arrowtown.

In Queenstown we decided to take a bit easy this time and rent a tourist flat even though this place is very well known for its adrenaline rush overpriced attractions such as bungy jumping, skydiving etc. However,it seems that the 5 month journey has taken its toll on us, so we needed some more rest before embarking on the final stretch of our travels.