Day 197: Lake Wanaka, New Zealand
We were told by trusted resources that if we were going to spend time on both North and South Islands in New Zealand, we should spend 1/3 of that time on the North Island, and 2/3 of the remaining time on the South Island. We now completely understand why. South Island offers some of the most stunning vistas from snow topped mountains to intensely shaded blue green waters, and colorful flora and fauna. It’s staggeringly gorgeous. Below is just a fraction of the scenery we were treated to.
We were also strongly encouraged to visit Wanaka and wow, are we glad we did. Wanaka is a quaint lakeside town with a number of fantastic shops as well as dining and ice cream choices. The setting is very active, fun, and yet tranquil. People here are extremely friendly. For example, the boys were playing football on the lawn next to the lake, and several times, they had complete strangers jump right in and play with them like it was the most natural thing in the world to do. We loved that!!
We chose a great cafe for lunch, sampling their “Raspberry Pizza”. It was surprisingly good. The name of the restaurant? Uncle John’s Pizzera “With Asian and Fish and Chips.” The eclectic theme worked for us, as we also sampled a few other goodies.
And for dinner, we chose “The Spice Room”. We heard about this restaurant on Tourist Radio while driving into Wanaka. It was touted as the BEST Indian Restaurant in all of South Island, New Zealand. Since we are always on the hunt for the best Indian food, we were required to try it! It did not disappoint. I must say that apart from my own mother’s cooking, I have never had better Indian Lamb Curry anywhere. It was absolutely amazing…thick, creamy, spicy, just delicious!
Unfortunately, we were too hungry to stop and take photos of the food, so a picture of the front door will have to suffice. Quick tip…if you want to save a bit of money, check to see if they have their special 5pm – 6pm Early Bird Special, which includes a curry dish, rice, naan bread, and popodum for $20 NZD. It’s quite a bargain and well worth it. The only disappointment was being charged an unknown fee of $3 NZD for a tiny bit of Tamarind sauce (tiny meaning about a teaspoon). We don’t appreciate surprises like that and thought it was a rather “cheap” decision on the part of the restaurant, but otherwise, we loved it.
And let’s not forget the scenes heading in or out of Wanaka! Wow!!
There were sheep grazing everywhere.
So, if you’re on the South Island, Wanaka is definitely a MUST DO destination. If you can swing the time, spend at least two nights here. You’ll be happy you did.