|After the Abel Tasman experience we finally got back in the car and drove to the first town we came to - Motueka. We just wanted to relax, have a decent shower, warm meal, and a normal bed. It's funny how much this is taken for granted, even if you were only tramping away from civilization for a few days.
The following morning we were up and ready for what we hoped to be a short drive to Fox Glacier. It took us about 5 hours to get there, but driving for extended amounts of time here hasn't been that difficult with a constant flow of new scenery to look at around every corner. We made it to Fox Glacier eventually, decided we thought it was more of a tourist trap, then continued further south in the direction of Wanaka. We made it to Haast, and with no vacancies we were forced to continue on, the driving hours were piling up. The drive from Haast to Wanaka was incredible. The road ran along a river which flowed a crisp turquoise color...pretty amazing. We had to stop a few times along the way for photo opps. About halfway to Wanaka we decided to stop at what seemed to be a nice little "resort lodge", or so we thought. The resort was in the middle of nowhere, with some camping and A-frame lodges. We checked in and the manager, who seemed a little off, told us where our A-frame was - we would be sharing with 9 others and no key was exchanged due to lockless doors. I immediately had a strange feeling about this place...it seemed like a wonderful horror film setting. For the first time during our travels the people weren't as friendly and everything was a little too gloomy. We hadn't really seen our roommates before going to bed, but I woke in the middle of the night to some middle eastern looking guys in the adjoining room shining flash lights around - in our room, their room, all while whispering with the small door separating the rooms slightly ajar - this was around 4am...it gets better. Next, our other roommate walked in around 4:30am or so - bare in mind, we are in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do, why would someone possibly stay up till 4:30am in the morning? - with one eye opened I watched as this bald dude sat upright in his bed for about 20 minutes, not moving, continuing to grunt and make strange noises...weird. Needless to say, we were up at the crack of dawn to get the hell out of this place. It was a very random and strange night, take a look at the A-frame picture and tell me you don't get the willies...
So, the next morning we made it to Wanaka bright and early with only a few sheep slowing us down along the way. Wanaka is a small town just north of the renowned extreme sports capital of Queenstown. We stayed here for a couple nights, doing hikes and mostly hanging out. Our hostel was great. On a hike we came across an American friend we had met in Abel Tasman named Wally. He was traveling in a van, which are everywhere in this country, so we caravaned down to Queenstown where Wally and I had agreed to bungy jump if we crossed paths again after Abel Tasman! - I really didn't think we'd cross paths again, but I've come to realize random encounters aren't as random as you might think - so it seemed fate pointed towards the bungy jump! Overall, Wanaka was a great place to relax and enjoy the gorgeous south island landscape.