Wind in Wanaka

From Franz Josef Village to Wanaka is quite a jaunt with two littles, at about 4 hours. We weren’t sure we wanted to go the distance in one day, so had intentions of stopping in the township of Haast at another Top 10 Chain do deal with our serious need for laundry.

However, we opted to push through after we realized that not only did the campground not rate well, but there was nothing else to do but hang out at the sandfly infested little playground in town. Those little buggers are like blood sucking zombie’s… they hang out on your windows and wait for you to open your screen for a split second then swarm you and bite your toes and ankles. They are tiny like a fruit fly, and appear harmless, but your feet will just burn with itchiness!

Another picture of Zo eating. It’s the only time she sits still long enough to photograph her.

The girls were happy, and one sleeping, so instead we found a campground in a lush green farming valley with monstrously large rocky looking mountains towering on either side. It was quiet, and sunny and a perfect place to call it a night, just a short 1 hr drive to our Wanaka destination. We tackled the laundry, had dinner outside for the first time in several nights, and let the girls play in the soft green grass. No playgrounds here, but there were sheep and cows to practice making animal sounds with. It was a relaxing place to be.


I had high hopes for Wanaka as we’d heard good things from other travellers. On our arrival we went straight to Puzzling World- a weird and wacky place of illusion rooms, a giant outdoor maze, and numerous tables in the cafe with mind boggling puzzles one could sit at for hours while having a coffee or a snack. We definitely killed a few hours of enjoyable time here.

wanaka puzzle museum wanaka puzzle museum wanaka

puzzle museum wanaka
The eyes follow you, a very cool illusion.
Puzzel museum
Josh harnessing his inner MJ.

Our campground was about 2km uphill from Wanaka town, set at the base of a breathtaking mountain, which was more brown and barren, than treed, reminding us of Kamloops, BC or maybe even Peru.


I ran into town and scoped out the route which was a gravel pathway weaving along the lake shore. We opted to move the camper closer to town so the non-nappers would have better access to explore the shops, however the wind was rocking the camper and white capping the lake, which hampered any such explorations. We had intentions of renting bikes to explore but the wind was a huge deterrent. Instead we loaded up on groceries, wandered a few shops before moving the camper back to the tree lined shelter of the campground.

Day two we parked close to town again. We parted ways early in the morning, as Josh and Ry hit up the park, while I carried Zo around to some shops and ended up doing a long walk nap. The wind was howling again, but not nearly as bad. It’s a good thing our camper is a good size because lately we’ve been spending a lot of time inside either just hanging out or eating our meals…what with wind, cold mornings, and/or overall lack of a place to put the picnic blanket.

Our last day in Wanaka we headed out to the Transport and Toy Museum, which is an amazingly wide array of collectibles related to those things. It’s a private collection grown by a man over the course of his lifetime. There were three large airplane hangers full of old cars, fire engines, bikes, motorcycles, planes, and then any kind of toy you can imagine, from Star Wars to Barbie, model trains, dolls, and other trinkets small and large.

wanaka toy museum

Ry thought this old red phone both was a blast. It was a functional display and she spent a good ten minutes going in and out pretending to make calls. She’d make us walk to the opposite side of the hanger, and then pretend to call us. Lots of smiles for sure.

On our way to Queenstown we made a quick stop at the bra fence. We really don’t know the history behind the fence, but had heard about it prior to our trip. The bras have been left by passerbyers, and have become a sort of shine for breast cancer awareness.

Bra fence

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