|On the morning that I left Christchurch, the sun decided to come out and play giving a spectacular show of the autumn colours with the sparkle of rays piercing through the early morning mist.
As the bus made it's way through New Zealand's Garden City, I noticed some of my old hang outs from 20 years ago, which got me started on reminiscing on yesteryear, reflecting on the past couple of weeks of catching up with family, and thinking of what lay ahead at Wanaka. With the satisfaction and the excitement of it all, I found myself sitting back, grinning with the odd laugh and tear of happiness working it's way down my cheek. I realised that this is something that I have wanted to do for long long time....... Get to know the family and the country that I haven't seen for 20 years, and work a snow season.... It was a realization that I was living a dream.
The trip out to Wanaka was much like any bus trip throughout NZ, only this one the scenery is more awe inspiring with emerald blue lakes, fast flat fields with snow capped mountains giving colour to the barren landscape. It's funny to be on the other side and seeing how such beauty rouses every passenger on the bus to get out the camera and fight for an unobstructed piece of window to try and capture the quickly passing photo opportunity.(I was lucky enough to be on the "right side" of the bus to get a great snapshot of Mount Cook ;-) ) . With a few stops on the way, I was able to get the chance to pay my ANZAC day respects with a beer (or two) in a little local pub somewhere in the middle of nowhere. It's always great to see the amount of pride that both Australians and Kiwi's have on this day of remembrance, even better in a little local with a few die hard next generation ANZACS.... Unfortunately there was a bus to catch, so I had to scull the last pint and continue my journey.
The first thing I noticed when I arrived in Wanaka was the significant size difference to it's more popular neighbour Queenstown. Missing the glitz and glamour of Queenstown, Wanaka is missing the busy crowded streets, the fast food outlets, and the glitzy fashion stores. The result is a slower, more relaxed, small town with one main street (and no traffic lights), some cool relaxed café's and bars, and all with amazing lake and mountain views.....definitely a place for a chilled out lifestyle ;-)