We stayed the last day of our South Island holiday in Wanaka, north of Queenstown, at the Wanaka Bakpaka. After checking in, we drove out of town a ways to the Wanaka Beer Works, and the following morning, before flying back home, we played a bit in Puzzling World. We also played a round of mini golf at Pembroke Putt.
The biggest reason we wanted to visit Wanaka during this trip is Puzzling World, a place of great fun (if you like puzzles, interesting art, mazes, and fascinating rooms and art). We stopped here during our first New Zealand visit back in 2009, and it was one of my favourite parts of that trip. Last time, we purchased the big ticket and got to see everything. If you’re visiting Puzzling World for the first time, be sure to allow a couple hours (at least) and to buy the ticket to see everything. The price and time are well worth while. This trip, though, we simply played with some of the (free) puzzles, looked at the store and wandered a bit through the other free parts of Puzzling World.
Andrew is great at finding good deals, and Wanaka Bakpaka was one of these finds. This hostel is right at the edge of town, within very easy walking distance of town centre and grocery stores and everything. The atmosphere and people there are pleasant, and the dining/recreation room has a great view of the lake and town. We stayed in a double room upstairs in a separate building from the dorm rooms. (If you stay here, use the outside stairs, as it is easy to forget that the indoor stairs has a low overhead, which can result in a painful bump.)
Wanaka Beer Works is about ten minutes outside of town, a small brewery which creates some wonderful tastes. I’m not much of one for any alcohol, but I actually appreciated a couple of their brews. The tour costs $10 (about $8 US) and includes three taste samples per person. We, however, got a Grab One half-price discount. (Whenever we plan a trip, we always subscribe to Grab One for that area.)
Wanaka Beer Works has twelve different beers, three for each season of the year. Since Andrew and I coordinated our tasting, we were able to sample six of the twelve. Also supplied with the tasting is a small plate of cheese sprinkled with celery salt (a great combination!). And the beer samples are not small but were full glasses. Even at $10, this tour is well worth the price, provided you like beer and enjoy learning a bit about the process of its creation.
Another Grab One we got for this trip (besides our Milford Sound Cruise and the Beer Works) was for the Pembroke Putt mini golf. The normal price is twice the $5 we paid. This was a curious and interesting little golf place, located on a small and previously unused plot of land not far from main street Wanaka. Not as fancy as some of the more permanent mini golf places we’ve seen, this was still a fun little place, and rather challenging on some holes.
Our South Island holiday was great fun, and we created many happy memories from our eight days away from home.