|Dropped Vinnie off about 1/2 an hour into the journey this morning, as he was hitching off on an ambitious route involving unsealed roads and motor camps to somewhere that appeared to be in the middle of nowhere. Each to their own, but rather him than me!
It seems to go without saying that the scenery on the way to Wanaka was as captivating as ever. It's amazing how quickly you get accustomed to the landscape being constantly picturesque - I have to keep reminding myself that Oz wasn't like this, and involved large stretches of trees, trees, more trees, oh and then some trees again.
Wanaka proved to be an extremely pretty little town, with the lake of the same name sitting handsomely against the surrounding mountains. Only a few streets to the town, but after the last few places it felt positively metropolitan by comparison.
Had a pleasant lunch at a cafe overlooking the lake (and V's veggie quiche was more a huge agglomeration of whole veg held together with the barest hint of egg & pastry, so generous were the portions) before splitting up for the afternoon. I was trying to get a haircut, but had to settle for a booking for tomorrow in the only suitable place I could find - had to reject the first 2 on the grounds of (in the case of the former) not wanting a blue rinse and (in the case of the latter) not wanting my hair cut at a clothes shop which happens to do a sideline in hairdressing. Chilled out for a bit on the pebbly beach instead, after much time spent browsing the bookshop for my next reading material (Iain Banks Raw Spirit, in which he goes in search of the perfect dram. A mix of travelogue and generally rambling which perfectly suits my road-bound existence).
Back at the hostel I found V chatting with a couple of cute Canadian girls, who it also turned out are our roomates for the night. Ended up going out for a few drinks in town with them - first night out since Mackay, think I must be slipping in my old age (or finally getting better at sticking to budgets now that the money is running low).
Started with the locally brewed ale at the lunch cafe, which caused much hilarity due to it's name (Brewski, which apparently is really lame Canadian slang for beer) before moving on to a very quiet Irish bar, which instantly redeemed itself by having comfy sofas. Sufficiently lubricated by the time they rang last orders to enjoy the (generally appalling) Karaoke at the one remaining bar in town, before finally calling it a night around 2:30. (Although not before discovering a new late night snack - toast with nutella and peanut butter.