The Quiet Traveller: Day 17 – Wanaka

If I’ve got my days right in my journal, today was St Patrick’s Day, which meant the innards of the bus were voraciously decked out in green and all things Ireland related. That’s what happens when the driver is Irish. What also happened was a lengthy playlist of Irish artists booming through the bus speakers, including but not limited to Snow Patrol, The Corrs, and Ronan Keating. Try as I may, I could never explain.

Wanaka was today’s destination, a small town on route to the major destination of Queenstown. But before we even got there, New Zealand’s scenery hit pengest fleekness or whatever the kids say now. It was a stark contrast to the cloudy views in Franz Josef.

Lake Matheson –¬†someone hit the Inception klaxon.

The lake is famous for its near-perfect reflection of Mount Cook. If you look at the image upside down or sideways, it’s very hard to tell which way is up. It was about a 35 minute walk to this location, but it was worth it. No man made water-feature can beat feature au natural. A quiet place to reflect indeed.

Generic NZ lake #2237

Every stop along the way was like this.

The Stray bus at a watering hole.

These sights accompanied by a banging Irish soundtrack resulted in one of the best days of travel on the bus so far. Also on the bus was the signup sheet for activities in Queenstown, including activities such as hang gliding, skydiving, power boating, and bungy jumping.  In a rather rare impulsive move, I signed myself up to throw myself off a high ledge while attached to a piece of elastic band. I decided not to tell my parents I had done this.

I felt surprisingly calm after signing up, but I have always wanted to jump off something tall to see what it feels like, so I guess I felt like this was progression towards fulfilling a lifelong ambition. Of falling rapidly towards the earth. And isn’t that strange, how things like making smalltalk and talking to strangers and interacting with people for long periods can be difficult and draining, yet you give me an elastic band and a cliff and I’ll happily jump off it. Fears are strange things. Which I suppose makes them less scary in a way. Weirdos.

Upon arrival at Wanaka, I was sad that we were only spending the one night here. It was gorgeous. Sitting lakeside amongst the mountains, it’s a bit of a hidden gem when it comes to the NZ backpacking route. Nearly everyone I spoke to shared my desire to spend more time there, and I heard tales of people returning to the town after seeing the rest of NZ.

Naturally, as the day was St Patrick’s day, the evening would be a big green party. I hung around for a bit to witness a beverage fuelled limbo competition, and then decided to head to bed. I was enjoying myself greatly, but being around people all the time was starting to take its toll. Luckily no-one else had to signed up to the particular bungy I was doing, so tomorrow I would be able to venture off on a solo quest to dangle from a ledge.

In a weird coincidence, the quote at the bottom of my journal page of the day read ‘Abroad is the place where we…follow impulse’. Eloquent indeed.