Most forums and expert travelers have told us that we need a car to fully appreciate New Zealand.
As full supporters of public transportation (thank you, 139) and drivers who hadn’t been behind the wheel in almost two months intimidated by backwards (read: left side) Kiwi driving, we wanted to avoid the task as much as possible.
Enter the Connect-A-Bus.
For less than the price of a daily car hire and the absurdly high cost of NZ gasoline, we honed in on our love for the bus.
The Connect-A-Bus shuttled us from our apartment to the lovely town of Wanaka and back. We were the only passengers on the return trip so it felt like we had our own driver…fancy.
Wanaka boasts two main attractions (at least two with which we concerned ourselves): a scenic drive from Queenstown & Puzzling World.
The former surprisingly lived up to the many expectations as the route was full of twists tantamount to or exceeding the number of peaks.
The latter left us (well, this woman at least) rather, puzzled. Heh.
We toured the various exhibits, teetered through the hologram room to maximize our appreciation, took things out of perspective for a bit, and experienced real vertigo.
The most perplexing exhibit was the giant maze one of us made it through successfully while the other, sadly, gave up after wandering in circles for far too long.
Hoping to feed our bodies before the ride home, we started off for town, which was just a 15 minute walk away. A couple of eager Japanese tourists stopped us along the way in search of Mount Iron. Absolutely clueless to its whereabouts, it unfortunately presented itself to us mere minutes since sporting our best: “eeeeeehh???”
Weighing our options in this battle between hunger and hike… the scale naturally tipped towards (Mount) Iron.
Through a series of shadeless switchbacks, saved only by the city panoramas, we muscled through sans food and water to the pinnacle, which had some contrasting 360s waiting for us.
After our self inflicted tiki trail, we finally made it to the middle of downtown Wanaka and discovered Soul Food.
Falsely expecting chicken fried steak and grits, we were treated to some of the healthiest food since slow carbing/carving our bodies pre-wedding.
Quinoa loaf, vegetable lasagna, roasted vegetables and fruit smoothies. This was exactly what we (secretly) wanted!
While chewsing wisely (biggups www.fivethreetwo.com), we caught sound of a local radio station , “Wanaka beats”, which played some oldies, but goodies (i.e. Cinematic Orchestra, Salmonella dub). Gavin, who works at the shop and is a local DJ, was great about name dropping and even went as far as checking for local events around our way.
Well fed and hot red, our connect home was mostly catching z’s.