We left Franz Josef anticipating the beauty of Lake Wanaka and a day of skiing at Treble Cone the next day. Psyched doesn't even cover it.
On our way we stopped off at the beautiful Lake Matheson to check out the stunning mirror reflection of Mt Cook. I'm told that it was brilliant, since Shil & I, knackered after my walk (& his day of rest!) the day before decided to sit in the cafe and drink in the scenery from there. Cue a more than expensive breakfast and a totally unnecessary and equally pricey pot of tea I ordered, feeling a little nostalgic for a good English brew. It may have just been because we were all pretty shattered, but I don't remember Josh or Matt, who actually got as far as the lake, raving about the scenery: it's ridiculous, and you do take it for granted, but in NZ beautiful scenery is never more than another half hour away!
We stopped off soon after at a gorgeous beach equipped with lookout towers to help spot any dolphins that are often found just offshore. A few people claimed to have seen some, but the scene itself was beautiful enough. The next stint of our bus ride was the most spectacular as we rolled on through the Haast Pass with snowcapped mountains reflected in the lakes of the Mt Aspiring National park. A few stop-offs ensued for some group photos and shortly after we pulled into Wanaka and checked in to the base hostel.
On checking in, I was a little surprised that the receptionist mentioned that there had been lots of Burgesses checking in recently - my immediate thoughts (due to the presence of numerous ski resorts just a stone's throw away) were that Dad had arranged a surprise NZ trip, desperate for some fresh powder - but after a reality check I assured myself that skiing must just be part of the Burgess name: a family ambush was out of the question.
All that remained of our afternoon was spent in preparation for skiing the next day. We sorted out kit for a decent price; Matt, Shil & Josh on skis, and I was to be the only gay on a tray (boarder). A quick supermarket sweep later and we had enough PB&J to sink a ship, and most importantly: to make our skiiers' lunch. We opted, for the first time in a while, to cook our own dinner and before long we were ready for some drinks and our last night out with the girls on our bus - they didn't have enough time in NZ to spare for a day's skiing. Error.
Drinking games proved a little too much for the girls who struggled to grasp the rules but it set us up nicely to get ready for the 'UV rave' that was supposed to be going on downstairs. After a good half hour of face paints everyone was finally satisfied: Josh & Shil had particularly high standards after their full moon exploits but they had to let these go as the painting standard (without a brush) was a little poorer and definitely less experienced!
We should've known after the fully clothed pyjama party in Rotorua, that themed nights just don't really happen in the base hostels. But where's the fun in assuming that? However, inevitably, on entering the bar we could clearly see that we were the only idiots with UV face paint on. To add insult to injury our get up didn't even mean we got any free drinks but we didn't really care and had a quality night.
When I finally got to bed in the early hours of the morning I just hoped that I would be able to wake up in time for a day's snowboarding in Treble Cone!
Just a little.
Over & out
Dan / Burge