What a fabulous couple of days we had in Wanaka

Thanks to Wanaka Wastebusters and the generosity of local businesses and people!

We met Sophie, Ivy and many of the Wastebusters team which was fab having previously exchanged excited emails and phone calls.

We started with a tour of Wastebusters and were so impressed that the dreams of a few people created such a functional recycling site. True Community Development at work –very inspirational!
Then it was off to The Edgewater Hotel where we were thoroughly spoiled by being given an amazing room on the lakeside. The views were amazing as the mountains had just been covered with their first snowfall of the winter and looked absolutely stunning! What a great place to stay!
We were treated to a goodie basket of local food and wine all of which was amazing (Venus Coffee rocks!…not to mention Maude wine!)

Then it was off to Cinema Paradiso. I’d heard so much about this cinema for years with its couches and unique set up, so it was great to actually get to check it out for real! We weren’t disappointed! Calum, being a wonderful host and quite a character, treated us to a movie and freshly baked cookies (AMAZING) & homemade ice-cream (MMMMMM…) at half time (yes – Cinema Paradiso has a half-time interval just like ye olden days!!) It was such a great trip to the movies and a welcome change to the boring cinema’s I’ve grown accustomed to…I digress…

The next morning it was still snowing and the Snow Farm was closed otherwise we would have been up there having a frolic around in the snow enjoying the magic that the Snow Park has to offer, but Ivy and Sophie had a Plan B, and Plan C, and even a Plan D…
Plan B sounded amazing so off we went to meet Ivy, Chris and his awesome Eco Tours boat at the wharf and before you could say “what do you mean it’s got a lake on top of the island?”, we were on our way to Mou Waho, an island with a lake on the top in the middle of the lake…
What an amazing experience we were in for. What Chris doesn’t know about native plants & birds; glaciers and how they shaped the Wanaka region; local Maori history; and a few other things besides, just isn’t worth knowing!!!
The view from the top of Mou Waho is absolutely spectacular – 360 views of snowy peaks, lakes, expansive space, and no buildings in sight. How incredible!
It was such a fantastic trip and I’m so glad Ivy suggested it.
Having Chris as our guide brought the trip ‘to life’ with his information, knowledge, enthusiasm, and love of nature. This is definitely the thing to do if in Wanaka!
He may even show you his Moa bone if you’re good…

…and then there was the food!!!

We were gastronomically indulged (can you say that?) at Relishes
and Kai Whaka Pai! After each hard day of enjoying ourselves and taking in the wonderfulness that is Wanaka, we finished each day off being completely satiated in great style!
Tash at Relishes was incredible generous with her hospitality and we enjoyed a stunning two-course meal – my Wild Hare Relletts were amazing followed by delicious Blue Cod – what awesome Southern fare! James couldn’t have been happier with his Lime Salt & Pepper Squid followed by a Char-Grilled Fillet of Beef…he was in heaven!
Kai Whaka Pai were equally munificent, ensuring we were well fed and hydrated (delicious local Maude wine thank you very much!) before we left their fantastic new premises (new to me as the last time I was a Kai Whaka Pai it was a tiny shed!) We can totally vouch for their Leek & Potato Soup – what a winner!

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and what better way to end it than with one of the best massages I’ve had in my life at ‘Massage in Wanaka’ – wow, how did she instinctively know where my sore bits were? Fabulous!

So, after a wonderful few days in Wanaka it was time to go. We left feeling as though we’d taken some invaluable knowledge of the area with us thanks to the fantastic people we met along with the incredible experiences that we will remember forever.

Mostly, we were left with an amazing impression of Wanaka Wastebusters – seeing how a group of people within a community have created such an awesome programme as this at a grassroots level was an inspirational lesson in how communities can be a creative and dynamic force, taking responsibility and action to provide an essential service not only for their own community but for global benefits.

Thank you everyone in Wanaka who made this trip such a fantastic one for James and I. See you again soon I hope! x