Greetings from Queenstown! I’ve finally had a moment to relax and reflect after what has been thus far a chock-full time in NZ and have been having a blast! After flying into Christchurch via Singapore (excellent airport and Singapore Air is top-notch!), I emerged from my travels to clear blue skies and a crisp spring breeze. After about 10 minutes beside highway 1 with my thumb out, an old car pulls up and conveniently is going to my goal, Dunedin. 4-5 hours later we pull around and into the grey, stormy weather that is typical for Dunedin (settled by the Scots, it must have reminded them of home). Dunedin was designed with the same layout as Edinburgh, but the architects didn’t account for hills, so some streets reminded me of San Francisco. After a quick bite to eat, my buddy Greg (from Machermo in Nepal) loaded up his Subaru Legacy with climbing gear, camping equipment and mountain bikes and headed for Wanaka.
Pitching our tent in the dark at a riverside campground in Wanaka I immediately fell asleep when I finished zipping up my sleeping bag. Greg and I awoke the next morning ravenous, so we headed into town for some snacks at the grocery store and a venison pie on the the shores of the beautiful Lake Wanaka. Getting back with the group at the campsite, we drove a short distance past snow-capped peaks and green rolling hills to Hospital Flats, a gorgeous climbing area where we promptly roped up and climbed for the day. There was a significant spectrum of skills in the group, but there were routes for everyone. I didn’t climb my best, as I was getting used to the new rating system and the extremely sharp rocks, but had a great time.
Returning to Wanaka for dinner, Greg, Martin and I sat out overlooking the lake and a few sailboats coming back into the marina while eating fresh seafood before returning to the tent and getting some sleep.