Travel Diary: The Best of Wanaka, New Zealand. All photos taken by me on a Sony RX100 II compact camera.
Happy New Year, everyone!
As each year rolls past, I tend to keep the same new years resolutions. Exercise more. Eat less junk food. Travel more. Spend less time on my phone. Be more grateful. Save more money.
Every year it is repeated and it sings the same old tune. But this time around, for 2016, I've decided to really focus on my goals and be really specific. I simply cannot say "Travel more" without actually picking a place. It made much more sense to me to have a specific place in mind. The resolution thus came to life in my mind.
New Zealand, New Zealand. Of course, it made perfect sense. I am a passionate hiker and I love the outdoors. Like, I really really love the outdoors.
Imagine a land where majestic mountains sit along the horizon, where the peaks meet the clouds. Imagine pristine lakes and deep blue skies. Imagine crisp air - that's not too humid and is cool to the feel. Time is not rushed. The people are relaxed and friendly. Everyone is out to enjoy the nature and have cheer in their eyes.
I pushed through my fear of flying and escaped Australia for a week with my bestie Betty.
We stayed in sleepy Wanaka, a town a coupon hours drive from Queenstown, Cardrona and Treble Cone. Instantly I fell in love with the place.
Me and Betty spent our days tackling Cardrona and Treble Cone snowboarding. I used a K2 Bright Lite and found it was a really nice ride. As a beginner I took an hour lesson with an instructor named Hiro (!) and learnt the 'toeside' technique so I can create S shapes while boarding.
On our second day of snowboarding, a blizzard rolled in and we were forced to stay indoors. But we reaped the benefits on the third day when we got to board on fresh powder! The thrill of going down a mountain and landing in fresh snow really made me fearless. I highly recommend chasing as much powder as you can.
Forth day - we decided to visit Treble Cone despite the 'caution' against it for beginners. What a mistake. The look of that mountain struck shivers down my spine - it looked so steep. And it was.
I took the 'easiest' route (the green path) and it took me - no joke - about an hour to come down. The track was narrow and tight and the snow was rock hard. My beginner skills were not ready for it. I edged my way down slowly and tried to frantically get out of the way of the advanced skiers and boarders that zipped past me.
After my terrible hour, me and a couple of our friends went straight back to Cardrona and that was the last of that Treble Cone.
Besides that incident, I got to try some amazing foods in Wanaka. We woke early one morning to try the Puff'n Porridge, something rare to find in Australia. I had creamy porridge topped with apple crumble and it was perfect for the chilly temperatures. I ate Japanese Curry with rice (my favourite food) and delicious pasta and pizza.
However, the highlight was definitely the hikes. Twenty minutes from Wanaka, I drove a car down to Diamond Lake, after recommendations from the town locals. I walked up a small hill and to the trail. The vegetation was different to Australia - of course. The trees were lush and of different species, and it was so refreshing to see after being around so many gum trees back at home.
Diamond Lake was grande and it really took my breath away. I didn't take any photos - my lens were just not wide enough. But the sight stills stay with me in my mind.
Betty and I also drove an hour+ to the Blue Pools Trail. This walk is hands down the most beautiful one I've ever been to. I can't exactly capture its beauty through my words, but I can certainly try with my photos... the color of the pools speaks for itself.
We made our way down to the pebble beach and skipped rocks on the lake. We found 'pebble towers' that people had built and has withstood time. We decided to make one ourselves to leave New Zealand with a symbol of our friendship. May it withstand many years!
And last but not least, I found myself standing meters from the famous Lone Tree at Wanaka Lake. It is a sole tree that sits out in the water. I visited it twice and I spent my time staring at the tree in wonder with the mountains as a stunning backdrop. This tree felt magical and I felt at peace.
When I arrived back to Australia, it made me realize how much I missed my boyfriend Hai. We embraced each other like I was gone for years. But I also realized how much I love to travel. And whilst I do know I have a tremendous fear of flying that sometimes hold me back, I never regret travelling once I step off the plane. I am definitely adding more Travel resolutions for 2016 and I am determined to fulfill them. it is all worth it in the end.