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Excerpt from the Journal of Olds – Day 280-283 – New Zealand – Lake Wanaka

Ah Lake Wanaka – what I lovely time spent taking a break from travelling. Long before our arrival we’d heard of Aspiring Caravan Park in Lake Wanaka – a fabled place where people were ‘reasonable’ and provided free internet and great facilities for a sensible price. You’d have been forgiven for thinking such a statement madness had you travelled Oz & New Zealand as we had but low and behold it was true!

We spent four nights here doing not much more than catching up on blogging, sorting photos and relaxing. We did have a couple of adventures though, the first of which came as the result of booking onto a tour at Wanaka Beerworks. We drove up and met Pete the head brewer. It was a tiny place – a microbrewery and no mistake – but they supplied the local area with a wealth of interesting little beers. It had been bought by a European chap and for the most part Pete was the only person who worked there. A former chef, the owner encouraged Pete to push the envelope and experiment with new flavours between production of their regular and seasonal beers and he’d just finished a batch of cider containing cinnamon and served hot. The three of us got on like a house on fire all passionate about good beer and by the end of the tour I’d tried most of the beers and bought at least one of everything they sold! Pete pointed out that one of their main customers – the local bar Kai Whakapai – had a happy hour on that evening so we said our goodbyes and Fi – who’d only sipped a few – drove us back to the van park where the owners then shuttled us down to the pub. We met Pete there and chatted into the evening about our shared love of beer. As I nipped up to get a final beer for myself (I was on rare home 2-to-everybody-else’s-1 form for some reason) I was informed by the bar lady that Pete & Fi had ‘had enough’ and wouldn’t be allowed any more. While this was no issue at all as we were on our way for food anyway it was pretty comical as by UK standards we’d barely got started.

We treated Pete to a curry to round off the night as a thank you for an awesome day and then made our way back to the van for the night.

Our only other jaunt of note was the local cinema to see The Dark Night Rises. While this would normally only be noteworthy because of the fantastic film the cool thing about Wanaka’s Cinema Paradiso is that it’s all couches, funky chairs and car seats – like someone’s massive lounge. Add to this the bar and half time intermission fresh baked cookies and you’ve got a great way to see a movie – I can’t believe there aren’t more of them around.