Looking down from Treble Cone

Many people who come to Wanaka, visit because of  Treble Cone mountain. Treble Cone offers great skiing in the winter and down hill mountainbiking in the summer.

I have an admission to make, yesterday, after about 10 years of visiting Wanaka, I finally skied at Treble Cone for the first time. My husband knowing my skiing abilities has kept me away from Treble Cone, knowing it probably all would end in tears and a sulky bad mood. My skiing though has finally improved from plenty of days in Cardrona. We had some great friends spending the day at Treble Cone so decided to give it a go.

I loved it! Even though the snow is now in spring condition, I now understand why our keen skiing friends go directly to Treble Cone and never leave it when they come to Wanaka.

What was great:

  • The drive there is stunning – spring lambs, green fields, huge snow capped mountains, waterfalls
  • Being able to park so close to the amenities when we got to the top.
  • The incredible views
  • No queues
  • Fast lifts
  • Huge variety of skiing. My friends tell me TC has the best skiing in New Zealand.
  • Seeing keas up so close

Not so great:

  • The road up the mountain would be frightening when the conditions are bad
  • The price of the season passes. I havejust heard though from a shareholder, that things may be changing next season. Hooray!
  • Not that much skiing for the low intermediate level skier. The whole mountain is quite steep and lots of runs are ungroomed.
  • Having the keas pinch your keys, your lunch!

Here is the link to a lovely Treble Cone blog by one of the ski instructors there. Russ’s Endless Winter

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What happens to the rubbish is not something most of us think about. Every Monday we put it out on the kerbside and for most of us, that is the end of it

In Wanaka we have lots of great sustainability initiatives which are commendable for such a small town. Maybe you can take some of these ideas back to where you live?

This morning was a miserable one in Wanaka. Raining, very cold, but the good news is that snow is falling on the slopes.  Home day today so switched on National Radio to hear Kim Hill interviewing the Manager of Wanaka Wastebusters, Susan Coutts.  I switched on the radio Susan was already talking.  I was thinking how interesting she was and then Kim mentioned that Susan was from Wanaka Wastebusters. Fantastic! Hopefully,  the podcast will be available at Radio NZ if you missed it.

Wanaka Wastebusters is now seven years old, All the profits go back into the community. Wanaka Wastebusters now employs 35 people and has a turnover of over $1 million! All from collecting and sorting the rubbish.

We like to go out to the Recycling Centre up Ballantyne Rd to get rid of our junk. This is where old skis  and snowboards go to die, old phones, old computers, you name it. The best reusable stuff gets taken out and sold through the shop. I need to go alone or the children invariably find something they have to have. Most things are very, very cheap. Great place to fill up with household bits and pieces if you are just here for awhile. Especially if you are fond of things from the “80’s.

  • Sustainable Wanaka – you can sign up for the newsletter which notifies you of coming activities. I like the sound of “WannaRide” which is a carpooling project. Sustainable Wanaka ran a great campaign called “Bag the Habit – towards a plastic bag free Wanaka.” Outside the supermarket for a longtime last year was a large plastic bag “statue” which was a gruesome reminder of how many plastic bags are used. There is also mention of Green Drinks to meet the other like minded locals.
  • Already in existence is http://www.snowpool.org.nz – Sharing rides to save the planet.
  • Recirculate is a resource exchange for the Queenstown Lake Area

Wanaka is about to have our own Farmers/Craft Market from Labour Weekend, which will be great for encouraging us to eat local.

Wanaka has permaculture group for those who want to garden in this way wanakapermaculture@paradise.net.nz  . Permaculture is perfect for the dry, alluvial soil/rock we have here. If you are into gardening you may want to get along to the composting workshop. Check it out at SustainableWanaka.

This morning I got up early and walked to the top of Mt Iron. I hope you can feel my virtue rising from your computer! The morning was crisp and cold, a light frost was covering the ground.The sun came up into a clear blue sky. The rabbits hopped about. Other walkers and their dogs did the ‘up and over’ circuit.

From the car park, DOC says it takes 1 hour 20 minutes to do the circuit.  This means climbing to the top one way and coming down the other sound, round the base of the mountain and back to the carpark. The track is very clear and easy to find. If you don’t want to go up the top you could just follow the track around towards Albert town.

I went to the top for exercise this morning but it is a beautiful walk and the top is a great place for a picnic. The 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains are breathtaking. Right now they are still dusted with snow, it is beautiful though at any time of the year.

The Department of Conservation says it is a very popular, close-to-Wanaka-town loop walk. It suits all ages and abilities and offers great views from the summit

Here are what some tourists recorded on their webcam.

Mt Iron is easy to find. it is “behind” Wanaka town. Opposite Puzzle World. People say it is shaped like an old fashioned iron. You will have to use your imagination.

Here’s a map if you can find it from the Lake.

My aim to get fit enought to make it up Mt Roy. That’s quite another challenge.

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Down by the lake on the waterfront is the Skatepark. The boarders seem to become skateboarders here when they can’t ski.

We like to go down and watch them and ooh and aah over their abilities. Free entertainment for the kids.

My son had a turn and was crying within about 10 minutes. It is harder than it looks!

The Clutha River at Albert Town, New Zealand. ...

Setting off from the Dinosaur Park down by the lake, there is a path that leads all the way around to Beacon Point. When you are looking at the lake, take the path to your right.

This is a perfect easy cycle for young kids on a path that is away from the traffic. We stopped when the path gets sandy and rutted but if you were with confident riders I would keep going, along the Upper Clutha Outlet and then complete the circle back through Albertown and back to Wanaka. I just didn’t fancy seeing my children tip into the  fast flowing Clutha River.The Outlet track is not difficult for a mountain biker at all.

It took us about an hour each way, but we go slow and stop for all sorts of things.

DoC and the local Wanaka bike shop have a good map of the area and all the rides. Take all the food and drink you need.

This is a perfect ride for kids who are just getting started cycling. Scenic, safe and breathtaking scenery.

Wanaka has lots of great mountain biking – Check out the Laka Wanaka Cycling

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There is plenty of choice for cafes in Wanaka and whenever we are in town we love to go out for a coffee. Wanaka is the town to sip a coffee and let the hours slip on by.

Here’s a list of a few of our favourites.

Soulfood Organic Cafe – lovely summer garden out the back. Organic milk and coffee. I like to support this cafe as I like the fact that cafes like this still exist. The old hippy in me fits right in here.

The Cheeky Monkey Cafe for is at the front of the Wanaka Hotel. Delicious home baking – Melting Moments {which are far too fiddley too bake} with passionfruit icing. The kids like the “Little Monkey” – cheese toasties and chips for lunch. They can roam around on the lawn and give their mother some peace. I like the comfy chairs and the 70’s pink and grey bathroom, a remnant from the buildings history as part of the Tourist Hotel Corporation.

Kai Whakapai on the waterfront the lake. Open from7am til late. It is fun down there after skiing for a beer. They have our local, delicious Brewski beer on tap there. People grooving out the front, good place to people watch.

Cafe Fe – on the way to Cardrona.  Child friendly, nice in the summer.

Ardmore Street Food Co – my husband says “it’s very Auckland”. We are from Auckland but I know what he means. Slick, polished, beautiful space and location. This cafe was runner-up in the 2008 Best Café Award.

Edgewater Resort– sometimes we take a drive around to Edgewater, or it is good stop after a walk around the lake front. Nice comfy sofas. This is not a cafe but you can get a coffee in the lounge of this resort. The kids like to chase the ducks and play on the play ground that is in the grounds. Nice for a drink and some fries after a day at Treble Cone. It is good place for a big group of people  to meet.

Yohei Cafe – tucked in the mall opposite the New World. Funky spot. coffee plus delicious fresh juices and sushi. Check out the YoTube clips. love the red t-shirts for sale that say “Love Wanaka, Long Time”

My coffee aficionado recommends Cafe Gusto. Nice location if you have to spend any time at the Dinosaur Park and need some refreshments afterwards.

I am open to any other suggestions!

Wanaka is presently discussing the future of its Sports Facilities.

This is important as “Sports Facilities” cover such things as will the Camping Ground remain in the centre of the town? 35,000 people a year stay in this centrally located camp ground. Very easy to then walk down and support the local businesses.

Two local meetings have just taken place this week and the process is very consultative.

Here’s a section from the document:

The buildings on the camp are owned by the Council and the camp is operated by a lease agreement that
expires on 13 August 2010. A Camping Ground Strategy was adopted by the Council on 26 August 2005. This strategy recommends that at the lease termination the camp be returned to Council
management and be developed as a Holiday Park (similar to the Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park.
This feasibility study is currently in progress assessing a number of options:
(i) retaining the motor camp in its current location;
(ii) redeveloping the camp at its current location but with a reduced footprint; and
(iii) relocating the camp to another location (such as Albert Town) and redeveloping that alternative location.

Having visited the Queenstown Lakeview Holiday Park last summer, the camping was so expensive, the sites were tiny and we quickly fled to Glenorchy after only one night. It was full of motel units and didn’t feel like any camp ground we have ever stayed at. Let’s hope Wanaka has something a little more low key and more in keeping with the spirit of the town.

Here is a story about moving the swimming pool from the Otago Daily Times.

Sculpture in Central Otago is being held again from February 09.This event is now in its 5th year, leading sculpture artists, show off 20 works dotted over the beautiful Rippon vineyard.

 The exhibition opening function with wine and food will be opened by a guest speaker on the evening of Saturday 6 February 2009.  Participating artists are encouraged to attend.  The exhibition will continue to be open to the public daily through to 3 May 2009.  This will align this event with the Festival of Colour, a very well attended bi annual arts festival centred in Wanaka.

Tickets for this can be purchased from the Arthouse, Christchurch, or Gallery Thirty Three, 33 Helwick Street, Wanaka .  Entry on all other days will be available through gates sales from 10am on 7 February.

Sounds  terrific!

This is such a great deal that most of our friends who come to Wanaka to ski take this up.

Jucy car rentals have been doing this for the last few years.

Here are the rules for this year. Certainly be worth checking out if you are coming here next winter.

All bookings made for travel 01 July – 30th September 2008 receive 1 free adult all lifts day pass for Treble Cone Ski field Wanaka for each day the vehicle is hired. Vouchers will be issued on dispatch of the Jucy vehicle.
Travel Period: 1 JULY 2008 TO 30 SEPTEMBER 2008
Pick Up Location: ANY
Drop Off Location: ANY
*Maximum 14 days worth of ski vouchers given per booking *Only one voucher (valid for one adult) per day can be used at one time *Special only valid on all Jucy Cars, Jucy Crib, Jucy Cruiza, Jucy Chaser and Jucy Charga vehicles. Excludes the Jucy S/T, Jucy 4 and Jucy 6 *Multi Hires are not available for Ski For Free Deal *Jucy Rentals Ski Passport will only be valid for one rental per season *Ski Passports will not be given out for multi hires *Jucy reserves the right to decline the Ski for Free deal to anyone they feel trying to get more than one pass per season *Minimum 2 named travelers per vehicle to be valid for Ski Passport *Special Terms and Conditions Apply
Jucy also offer a car relocation service, Transfercar,  which means free rental cars if you can get a car back to where they need it. Worth a try.

It is easy to get to Wanaka from Auckland if you fly. There are many flights to Queenstown with Air New Zealand and Qantas, then the Wanaka Connections shuttle runs directly from the airport to Wanaka.

My kids have done their assessment on the airlines:

Qantas – they have toy packs for kids, the food is better but No sweets when you land

Air NZ – sweets when you land, better in flight magazine ( Mum’s view here), no toy packs

The bus journey is 110km so it takes about 1 hour 20 mins. Most of the trips go over the Crown Range which is the highest highway in New Zealand. Lovely scenery and a great start to a trip down South. Sometimes the bus goes through Cromwell which is less scenic and takes longer. 3 hours is the usual time if you plan it well.

All this sounds very good until you have a bad trip like we did yesterday.

Queenstown airport is a tricky one for pilots. While spectacularly beautiful, the nearby mountains mean that the pilots need to be able to see the ground for planes to land. They fly by sight rather than instruments.

When the plane arrived in Queenstown , underneath us was a blanket of dark cloud. We hovered, around we went a few times but the pilot could not bring the plane down. There are two choices, land in Invercargill and then a two hour bus journey back to Queenstown, or land in Christchurch and a 5 hour bus journey to Queenstown.

There was a storm in Invercargill so back we went to Christchurch and waited there for 5 hours. Mmm – not the best. There is a play area upstairs on the way to the viewing platform. I noticed the signs that said Christchurch airport is being modernized. This is a good thing as I am now intimately acquainted with the airport.

I learned a few things:

-Take lots of food and water if you do not want to be at the mercy of expensive airport cafes.

-Fly Air New Zealand – apparently their navigation equipment is better and they land more often in Queenstown when it is cloudy.

Make sure you have booked the Wanaka Connection – those who are not booked get bumped and there is about a 3 hour gap between wach shuttle. Also, Wanaka Connection they won’t drop at private houses but fortuanately we talked them into it.