Friday, December 18, 2009

NZ 2009 Day 4 - Wanaka / Queenstown

Goodbye, Franz Josef. Hello, Queenstown.

another official check out family photo

Stopped by another catholic church before continuing our drive south to Wanaka on the way to Queenstown.

It was a long drive to Wanaka. Good thing there were lots of natural attractions to see along the way. We had to stop every now and then for walks to see falls and flats.

on our way to Haast Pass. We were being overtaken by motorcycles!

We passed by Knights Point Lookout with beautiful vistas of the ocean and rock formations (like islets). There is a toilet facility and a viewing deck.

From Haast Pass

From Haast Pass

Next stop, Pleasant Flat - forest walk. Just 5 minutes return. Along the walk, we passed by a stream (of cold water as expected).

Noone else was there except us and the guy who was from the department of conservation. He asked us if we were enjoying our holiday. We said yes, except for the very cold weather most of the times. He said it was already a "warm" day for them! Well, it was spring/summer season anyway.

From Haast Pass
Thunder Creek Falls - a 28m waterfall. Around 15minutes walk from the carpark.

playing around. They said they were making pools.

Fantail Falls - a 15m waterfall. Walk 5 minutes from the carpark

It really looks like a fan.

We have been seeing a stacked pebbles since we were at the glaciers. The kids love knocking them down.
Mark taught them how to stack flat pebbles.

It started to rain while we were at Fantail Falls. But the kids were unstoppable. They continued playing under the rain.

Blue Pools - around 30minutes from the carpark which passes through gravel path, boardwalks and swing bridges. The Blue Pool was not really blue in color during that time. It was more of greenish in color. We saw a father and daughter tandem who were fishing for trout but with no luck. There was actually one which was visible from the bridge. But I guess it didn't want to be caught just yet.

It started to rain heavily that's why we were wearing raincoats. Good thing I read from travel books that we need to have raincoats and umbrellas in hand for any sudden changes in weather.

Stop for photo op at Lake Hawea:

From Wanaka
it was REALLY windy

From Wanaka
had to hold on to Ira so he won't be blown away

We got to Wanaka Toy Museum ($25 family admission)just in time. Had snacks first and then walked around to see the vast collection of toys and vintage stuff.

Wanaka Transport and Toy Museum
Curator Jason Rhodes 
State Highway 6, RD 2 
Wanaka, New Zealand 
Phone: 64 3 443 8765
Fax: 64 3 443 8750

Opening Hours
Open 7 days a week  8.30am to 5pm
(Except Christmas Day)

Entry Fees 
Adult $10.00 
Child $4.00 
Under 5 FREE 
Family (school age) $25.00
Discount for groups

The caretaker of the museum mentioned that the owner has been collecting stuff for around 40 years or so. The man is currently living in Christchurch and is still sending out more collections to the museum every now and then. That explains where there was a construction somewhere at the back of the property. They are probably going to put up more warehouses to store new collections.

the usual toys for girls and boys (dolls, cars, trains, etc)

and even for the big boys! (vintage cars, trucks, airplanes, tanks, heavy machinery)

The kids enjoyed the museum so much they did not want to leave! They kept themselves busy riding some of the automobiles.

hubby and me playing around with heavy machinery

We still had one more place to visit in Wanaka - Puzzling World - before we head to Queenstown.

Wanaka Puzzling World
Post: PO Box 95 · Wanaka · New Zealand
Phone: 03 443 7489
Fax: 03 443 7486

Open from 8.30am every day
(open Christmas Day 10am to 3pm)
Last admission times are 5.30pm in Summer and 5.00pm in Winter

Puzzling World is just two kilometres from Lake Wanaka and a one hour fifteen minute drive from Queenstown.

Unfortunately, because it was drizzling, and we were there 30minutes before closing time, it was not cost-effective for us to get a ticket and visit the place. We would be rushing and we won't be able to see and appreciate all the exhibits (esp the outdoor maze). We just had some snacks and took photos in the leaning tower and tilted houses.

From Wanaka
the tilted houses

the leaning tower. It's hard to make as many "poses" as we can when th rain just wouldn't stop!

there were puzzles on every table. The kids put up to the challenge.

Even if we did not enter the paid exhibits, we were still entertained.

We headed to the town centre after and had dinner at Wanaka Siam Thai. Yummy seafood fried rice. But the spring roll was not that good for our taste.

We continued our journey to Queenstown via Crowne Range, Cardrona Road / Hway 89. It was a shorter route than taking Hway 6. Although I have to say, I did not expect the road to be winding and going up and down the mountains. It is the highest paved road in New Zealand (I just found out after the trip!).

Along the road, we stopped at the Cardrona Hotel for photo-taking. It is now a restaurant.

From Cadrona

The town had a very "old" feel to it. Like in a cowboy movie set.

From Cadrona

Lone Tree at Crowne Range atop a hill.

As the name suggests, IT is really the ONLY tree in the area. Surrounding it are barren mountain ranges.

Hubby read about this tree before our trip. It was really fascinating how there was only one tree in this vast mountainous area.

We were already in the final stretch of today's roadtrip - all 350kms or so.

When we got to Queenstown, the environment was more vibrant and busy. It was a main city after all. We drove to our hotel (getting a bit lost in the beginning).

We booked Queenstown and I could say the location is really good as base in Queenstown. For parking, you could choose hotel parking with valet service ($15/day) or free parking along the nearby streets.

We unpacked our stuff, freshened up and then settled for the night.


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