24/25 December - Arrived in Wanaka - decided to stay in accommodation for 4 days over Christmas and for my birthday. Wanaka is a quiet little town, very different to Queenstown. On Christmas Day we set off for Mount Aspiring National Park. Lovely journey through a flat valley - last 20km on a back country road - unmade and stony. Beautiful view of Mt Aspiring - Pat fished the river but again no luck. Had a picnic lunch - a couple of beers and a cheese and onion roll! Our Christmas dinner was spaghetti bolognese!
26 December - Went to Diamond Lake - climbed Rocky Mountain 775m. Quite challenging in parts but again awesome views at the top of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea and the surrounding area.
27 December - My big day had arrived, bit upset that I was 50 thirteen hours earlier than I should have been! Never mind. We did a lovely walk up Mount Iron only 225m this time but still took some effort to get up there. In the afternoon we went to Puzzling World where we spent an hour in the maze before taking the emergency exit to get out! Went into the illusion rooms which were very good - one of them made you feel as though you were going to fall over - all very clever. Had a lovely meal in the evening - the whole experience of the holiday so far will always make for a memorable 50th birthday for me.