We’ve been living in Wanaka for six weeks now and here’s what we’ve been up to!
Ha, all of a sudden we have a house, and a job, and a two-day weekend again. I think Thomas had a bit of a shock, going back to work after not being employed for exactly a year. But by now, we’re in the swing of things and we’ve found our daily routine: get out of bed around 6.20am, do some yoga, have breakfast and coffee until Thomas leaves for work around 7.50am. It’s a 5-minute bike ride up the road for him, which is awesome. I work pretty much every day as well, doing a few hours from home before heading into town (a 5-minute bike ride or a 15-minute walk) to get some groceries or visit the library.
After work, Thomas tries to get in some climbing, either outside (a bit tricky at the moment as days are still very short, but he bought a massive light for night bouldering/climbing) or in the gym (a bit tricky as it’s tiny and always busy). Otherwise, he might hit his homemade gym in the garage to do some climbing exercises. I’d rather spend my time going hiking, biking or trail running. Wanaka has an amazing amount of trails in and around town, which I am slowly ticking off. And finally, we hang out with friends, have dinners together or go to free avalanche information sessions in town.
Climbing in Wanaka
One of the main things we love about Wanaka is the fact it’s a small town, everything is so close when you’re used to living in the outskirts of Auckland! We bike and walk pretty much everywhere, and only need to take the car when we’re heading out of town. There’s a number of climbing crags not far from Wanaka, which we’ve been exploring in the last month. Some very nice climbing, lots to choose from and mostly nice, grippy rock or perhaps that’s just due to the temperature’s being in the single digits when we’re out these days! And then there was the day that Thomas topped a route to discover Lynn Hill at the top of the crag 🙂
And then it was 21st of June, the shortest day of the year! Surely that needed to be celebrated, and what better way than to make mulled wine, lentil stew and hot chocolate and head out for a night bouldering session? We invited some friends, turned the van into a party venue and hung out near one of the lakeside boulders, where the brave ones among us even had a go at bouldering, trying not to freeze off any toes or fingers in the process.
Of course, I’ve been trying to get out hiking as well. One of the first dayhikes I tackled with some friends was – of course – Roys Peak, THE dayhike to do in Wanaka. We got lucky and had snow for more than half of the route, which definitely added something to the (steep!) hike up. All in all a long day but with beautiful views and only one person shouted at us when we didn’t wait in line to take THE Roys Peak Instagram photo 🙂
I also managed to drag Thomas out on a dayhike, which is pretty much unheard of these days, by using my new friend Sabai as a drawcard. Sabai is a loan dog, so I take her out on long walks when her owner is at work. We made the most of having Sabai for the day by driving up to Luggate and doing one of the tracks there, followed by having lunch in the van and checking out the local boulders before we made our way back to Wanaka.
Yes, very happy to say I have already managed two overnight hikes these last weeks! The first one was up to the Motatapu Track, with a girl I had met via Facebook. The plan was to hike two days in and doing one long day out, but when we got to Jack Hall’s Saddle, there was too much snow on the other side to safely make our way down, so we returned to the first hut and spent another night there before walking out. The hut was freezing without a fireplace and the sun disappearing at 2.30pm, but it was nice to be out again and test my gear for winter trips, yay for -8° rated sleeping bags!
And then last weekend, Thomas and I headed up to Brewster Hut, to see if we could find enough snow to practice our mountaineering skills and maybe even bag a summit. We drove for 1,5 hours, shouldered our packs, and made our way up the steep track to the hut. After a quick lunch in the hut, we figured we would just head up towards Mt Armstrong and see how far we would get before reaching the turn-around time we’d decided on. In no time we reached the snow, donned crampons and crunched our way up even further. Such a good feeling to be back on snow (using gear which I have owned for 2 years now without using it yet)! Unfortunately, the summit turned out to be further and much steeper than we thought/were comfortable with so we slowly made our way off the steep patch we had found ourselves on and walked back down to the hut. To our surprise, another 9 people came up so we had a full (and therefore not very cold) hut. After a restless night (as I said, full hut..), a cruisy breakfast and a visiting kea, we made our way back down and home. Such a great trip and so close to home, we can’t wait to do more of these outings this coming winter!