Well, what a week of excitement it has been here at Wanaka Wastebusters….. You may have thought that you had heard the last of Unpackit for the meantime……Not so!

…….Earlier in the year you may remember we ran a competition to find the best and worst packaging in NZ.

As part of this competition we ran a sub competition for the most creative entry… and the prize was a weekend of fun and decadence for two in Wanaka.

Hannah from Auckland won with her Sealord Tuna Rap…..

Check out Hannah’s winning entry

James and Hannah checking out some of our hand sorted, baled product - good clean recycling!

A lot of thought had went into her entry and what she had to say about the product and the Unpackit team decided she was a definite winner of the uber super prize weekend.

With help from some amazing Wanaka businesses, we managed to put together an absolutely fantastic prize…….

Edgewater Resort donated 2 nights accommodation,

Cinema Paradiso, a meal and a movie for 2,

Snow Farm, Snow Park, and Alpine Coachlines donated a day of skiing for 2, lunch, and transport up the mountain.

Kai Whaka-Pai donated vouchers for Apres Ski beers, and also lunch for 2…..

Relishes donated dinner for 2, and to round it all off…….. a massage each from Massage in Wanaka.

Whew… What a lot to fit into 2 days…. So, tickets were booked, all we had to do was wait for the weekend to come…. sounds easy eh? Ha, nothing is ever that easy…… as the weekend drew nearer, we did start to wonder about the extreme lack of snow… Wanaka winter season was definitely starting late this year.

A stormy morning at Wanaka Wastebusters

About a week before Hannah was due to arrive, a storm was forcast… Hurrah….. Maybe there would be enough snow to open the mountains….. famous last words of nearly everyone in Wanaka, not enough snow very quickly turned into a week long storm……too much snow and too much wind and bad weather to open the ski fields…..

Hmm…… what to do…. well, we came up with a Plan B…… we got in touch with Chris from Eco Wanaka Adventure who came to our rescue, and not only gave us an amazing last minute deal, but he said he would take our lucky pair out to Mou Waho for one of his amazing adventure tours, if on the day of skiing, the weather just wasn’t in our favour. (check out this amazing ‘revealing Lake Wanaka’ video made by local film maker Tim Pierce, about Chris Riley and his Eco Wanaka Adventure tour.)

So, with everyone involved on standby to make the couple of days a great success whatever the weather, we could relax a bit.

Hannah and her husband James flew in a few days early to catch up with friends, which worked out just perfect as the storm did come in and it would have been a bit hit and miss whether they would have managed to land on the Monday….

So, in the area, after getting the full treatment of an electrical storm and power failure in Makarora (and embracing it fully as a delightfuly romantic candlelight opportunity) they rocked up to see us here at Wanaka Wastebusters ready for a rundown of their terrific few days activities and have the grand Wanaka Wastebusters tour….

Sophie showing Hannah into our Ed-Space

After meeting Hannah and James, it was time to get them off and on their merry way to the fantastic Edgewater Resort to enjoy the goodness that was awaiting them…….


Hannah in her lakefront room at Edgewater enjoying a basket of local goodies.....oh to be a prizewinner!

The 1st day, after a tour of Wanaka Wastebusters, and $20 of shopping vouchers for the pair (and we all know how far $20 goes In WW!) it was an afternoon of relaxing at the Edgewater Resort (beautifully set beside the lake with amazing lake and mountain views) before heading off to the wonderfully magical Cinema paradiso.

(for a glance at the workings of the delightful, and soon to be extinct inner workings of extremely old projectors – it really is film, and it really is how it was done 70 years ago!!! – check out another ‘Revealing Lake Wanaka’ Tim Pierce video of Calum McLeod – Paradiso owner, local personality, and all round awesome guy.)

With Hannah and James cosied up on the old couches of the cinema for the eve, it was off to have a chat with the snow gods to ask for a break in the storm so we could get them up the hill on the Tues morn.

Up before the birds, with a very springy spring in my step, my garden full of snow…… the bike ride to work, snow falling all around, in the magical pre dawn blackness….. silence…. I was still praying to the snow gods for a clear morning….

Alas it was not to be………….. Mary up at the Snow Farm, who has been so helpful, let me know that the weather was no good for opening but they would be meeting people in town at 11.30 to see what they could do to help…, so so helpful.. The whole of Wanaka has been on standby, mountain staff, holiday makers, businesses, everyday,  people waking and hoping that it was the day the winter could really start!….It really makes you feel good inside when communities come together to help each other in times like this, so much support…..

I got on the blower to chris, at Eco Adventure Wanaka and an hour later Hannah, James, and myself were all rugged up at the marina ready for an adventurous boat ride to Mou Waho. This predator free island/nature reserve is a mecca for native plants and trees, birds and insects….the beauty of the flora and fauna engulfs you as soon as you step off the boat…the sounds of the bell bird,

A bell bird having a grand ole time feasting its little heart out!

the smell of the lush vegetation, the welcome of the friendly Weka……… Chris is full of information, he knows the names of every plant and tree, the stories of the local area and NZ as a whole, back to the tales of how he got his Moa bone, stories of Gondwana…. and how we got to be here, information on the lake, the mountains…. I could not even begin to do justice to how awesome the trip was, for that you will have to book and go yourself…. but I will will tell the story of our boat trip with some pics….

A mean and moody morning didn't put a dampner on the proceedings. we moored the boat at the jetty on the original boat building site on Mou Waho.


arriving at Mou Waho

digging some trenches to protect the track from too much water damage, feed the trees......

the sun came out..... just in time for a spot of coffee and biscuits by the lake on the island on the lake on the island in the ocean!

A Weka visiting for biscuits.... amazing being on a pradator free island, these birds have no fear!

The clouds parted and the sun came out to play....The island on the lake on the island on the lake on the island in the ocean!

Hannah and James enjoying the magic of Mou Waho.

A slice of paradise!

The best seat for contemplating the universe!

Such dramatic views, cloudy, sunny, stormy, magnificent.... we could not have been any luckier!

After a walk to the top, and being blown away…..not by the wind…. it was time to plant a couple of trees. Chris gives all his clients a chance to plant a native on the island with every trip he does to the island. With the support of Te Kakano nursery, who harvest the seeds from the island, grow them into seedlings, and then Chris re-plants them back on the island.


Leaving the green fingers to James... Hannah stays clean!

James loving doing his bit to help the island grow and flourish

I got my chance to get down and dirty with Chris.....

Well, after a good few hours exploring this beautiful island learning all sorts of new info from Chris, ( I will know forever how to tell a Manuka and a Kanuka apart….. thank chris) it was time to jump back on the boat and head back to home…..

happy trampers......

Checking out some snow melt waterfall action on the way home... so so fresh!

but not without first enjoying the joys of outdoor fresh air boat ride, waterfall, extreme beauty and all round goodness on the way!


Ivy having a fresh waterfall facewash!

mean and moody and totally delightful trip home.

Thank you Eco Wanaka Adventures

Well…….. thats it….. I would have loved to stay with James and Hannah to enjoy the rest of their trip…. but I don’t think that was part of the plan… so, after we docked, I left them to their own devices….

I pointed them in the direction of the world famous Kai Whaka-Pai to sample some of the renowned Wanaka brewed Brewski beer to warm their cockles….

To top this off, they still had an evening of fantastic feasting at Relishes, perfectly situated by the lake, with a roaring fire to keep you warm on these winter nights, with food that just the thought of it makes my mouth tingle…….. another night at the amazing Edgewater resort, more feasting at Kai Whaka-Pai (great new pizza menu to check out…)….. and to top it off, a massage treatment each…..

I will be following up with a few words from the happy twosome in the near future……

Until then….. please do think about the rap that started of this awesome adventure for James and Hannah….  We will be running the 2012 Unpackit packaging awards next year…. Do keep thinking about what choices you make when you go shopping, and please try to make the best choices you can.

Thank you to all the amazing wonderful generous businesses that made this adventure holiday happen….

So, from  me, Ivy, here at Wanaka Wastebusters… It’s See ya later….