As we awoke ready to make our way further south we were greeted by the one and only road to Wanaka being closed due to snow. With assurances from the locals that the road would be open by lunchtime, we set off on what would be one of the most picturesque drives of the trip.
As the snow bounced down off the trees and a freezing river thundered below, the scenery got better at every turn. As we reached Wanaka, the fear of the road being closed long forgotten, we parked up in the local campervan park and went off to explore town.
After an amazing gluten free lunch of venison lasagne and an empanada as good as any tasted in the whole of South America we went off to hire snowboarding gear for the week to come.
Having missed the European snow season Tim was anxious to get back on a snowboard. A great perk of hiring our Jucy van was that we received a weeks free ski access to Treble Cone one of NZ's best ski resorts. This was only improved by the fact that there had been the best pre-season snow in the last ten to thirty years (depending on who you asked).
We had to fit snow chains to the van so we could drive to the very top of the mountain, a thrilling experience in itself! Not for the first time, we picked up fellow travelers and helped them as we made our way up to the resort. The number of runs and lifts was nothing by European standards but there were a number of varying and challenging runs for all levels.
Both Tim and Bee took the opportunity to hone their skills by taking lessons, with Tim learning a whole new way to board and vastly improving his ride style. As it turned out the last fifteen years had brought about one or two bad habits!
In between days on the mountain we went to the fantastic 'Cinema Paradiso'. A great local art house venue offering a traditional interval where we sampled delicious gluten free pizza and the local 'Brewksi' range of ales. 'The Great Gatsby' gets two thumbs up and 'End of Days' was an enjoyable waste of a couple of hours.
At night the freezing temperatures really made themselves known. Luckily the heated blanket came into it's own, as did numerous thermal layers and Llama jumpers. This meant that we stayed nice and toasty as the temperature continued to drop.
A chance to enjoy some of NZ's cheaper après ski drink prices ended off a fantastic week. We both felt like we'd had a proper ski holiday in the middle of our amazing trip. As it turned out NZ's changeable climate wasn't that bad after all!