After leaving Franz Josef, we embarked on a lengthy drive to our next stop of Lake Wanaka. The drive took about four hours but was filled with some of the most spectacular and varied scenery of our visit. It was fascinating how different the terrain was within just a few miles. About an hour into the drive, we stopped for a hike through a lovely, lush forest that ended at a historic bridge. And, despite the density of the woods we all noticed an absence of wildlife – it was eerie. Apparently, on the island there are no large predators, snakes or other creatures to worry about except for these annoying little sand flies that hang out by the water and are out for blood!
We only spent one night in Lake Wanaka which seemed much too brief to explore everything the area had to offer. Lake Wanaka is the fourth largest lake in New Zealand and attracts a lot of vacationers in the summer months. Since it’s the beginning of fall, here in New Zealand, we just missed the high season on our visit.
On our way out of town, we stopped at Puzzling World and spent several hours. It was created about thirty years ago by a couple that loved puzzles and over the years they have created and collected lots of different illusions including many that involved our participation. In addition to the illusions, there is an enormous life-sized maze outside that we spent a long time trying to navigate.They predict it should take about 1-2 hours to complete the maze — it was really hard! How did it go? Let’s just say….. no one wants to get lost in the woods with the Evans! We eventually found our way out but, not without a lot of complaining from the younger participants who kept wanting to go out the “emergency exits” — wussies!