Clyde, Alexandra & Wanaka

Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Friday, May 20, 2011

Woke at 6.20 & got up, reluctantly, as Tanya & I were to leave about 7.30am for Cromwell. After getting organized I booked the coach/cruise/coach trip to Milford Sound online. We were a little late leaving but it didn't matter we had plenty of time for Tanya to get to work.

After leaving Tanya at Cromwell Health I went off first to Clyde & then Alexandra. The drive to Clyde went through the Cromwell Gorge & alongside Lake Dunstan. There didn’t appear to be much to see in Clyde except the Clyde Dam (which was the cause of the main street of Cromwell being 'drowned’ & businesses relocated) so carried onto Alexandra. I really liked the look & feel of that little town when I drove down the main road. I was looking for a garage or similar to get a wheel alignment & balance done as the steering wheel was shaking a bit at speed. Tanya said she had one done recently but with my going off road (unintentionally) I figured it could do with another! I saw Beaurepairs so drove in to ask when one could be done. Daniel told me he could do it straightaway so I gathered up my things & set off to explore Alexandra whilst the car was done, Daniel said he would ring me when the work had been completed. I had asked if he would be able to tell if I had done anything more serious to the car & he said he would.

As I walked to the Information Centre I saw a large clock face on the hill in the distance – so took a photo as I was intrigued by it. I walked through Pioneer Park to the Information Centre on the main road, in part of it was an art gallery & paintings by MS sufferers were on display – some were pretty good I thought (especially compared to what I can produce!) I got a map of Alexandra & some of the surrounding area & set off to walk the town. I passed the tiny courthouse, built in 1878 & used for that purpose for nearly a century, but is now a café & decided to go in there on the way back for a coffee & to await Daniel’s phone call.

There were several old buildings in the main shopping street, some of which had been smartened up, like the BNZ & the town hall. The old Bendigo Hotel had been demolished in 2001 to make way for a floodbank to be constructed to protect Alexandra from flooding. The old bridge pillars still stood in the river alongside the new metal bridge over the Clutha River that was opened in 1958. After wandering round further I went to the Courthouse Café for coffee & a muffin & await the news that Tanya’s car was finished. I had been waiting 2 hours with no phone call & it was getting late, I had to get back to Cromwell by 1pm so I went to Beaurepairs & the car was ready to go. Daniel had gone to lunch & the other guy didn’t know if there was anything further wrong with the car but said he would get Daniel to ring me.

I drove off to have a quick look at the Shaky Bridge, originally in 1877, intended just for packhorses but after donations from Alexandra citizens it was decided to build a suspension bridge.  After another bridge was opened at Manuherikia the Shaky Bridge was hardly used & eventually was sold for £1. It slowly deteriorated & was finally closed but reopened in 1951 as a footbridge after being restored by a committee of enthusiasts & dedicated to the pioneers. I went to try it out, it was a little shaky, but unfortunately I didn’t have time to walk to the other side. The view of the clock on the hill was much better from the bridge. Daniel rang to say there was nothing else wrong with Tanya's car's steering

I then raced back to Cromwell getting there 10 minutes late but Tanya wasn’t ready as it turned out. When she was she donned her cycling gear & took off to ride from Cromwell to Luggate, some 48 kms. I drove leisurely along stopping every so often to wait for her to pass me to ensure she was ok.

When I got to Luggate I drove round the tiny village as Tanya’s father has bought a section there & is to build a house for he & his girlfriend to move from the Auckland area. There’s a pub (which is the heart of the community I suspect) & a village hall but not much else in Luggate, no shop, the closest is about 10 kms away in Wanaka, although that’s about how far they have to go now from their house on Ponga Road. It’s a bit remote for me – there’s no gym close by!! Great view of the mountains though.

I didn’t have to wait long for Tanya to arrive & she wasn’t even tired after her 1 & half hour ride, she had some hills to contend with too – she must be so fit. After she had something to eat we set off for Wanaka but detoured to Lake Hawea as Tanya wanted me to see it – it is lovely, so picturesque.

Wanaka is on the edge of Lake Wanaka & set up for tourists, it’s beautiful there too (you will all be so sick of me saying how spectacular NZ is but it’s not just that I could be biased, it’s true – the photos speak for themselves). After taking some photos we had a look in a gift shop then went for a coffee in Kai Wanaka (kai means food in Maori for those non kiwis who are reading this). We were just about to leave the café, as Tanya wanted to get to bickram (some sort of yoga) at 6pm, in Queenstown but a 1 year old boy came up to me so I risked picking him up & sitting him on my knee, he didn’t cry & stayed on my knee for ages whilst Tanya & I talked with his parents.

When we did leave at 5.10pm it was then a mad dash across the Crown Range to get to QT in time for Tanya’s class; she got there 5 minutes late & had changed in the car on the way. After dropping her off I went to hers & stayed in the warmth of my room all evening doing my blog, sorting photos & talking with Lana, then Clive on skype. He hadn’t seen what I had done to Tanya’s car as the photo on Facebook doesn’t show the extent so I sent him a photo. Needless to say he was relieved that he hadn’t let me drive his car! In my defense I have to say that I have driven many hire cars in the last 6 years whilst travelling in several countries & doing tens of thousands of kilometers without so much as a scratch on them – not much consolation to Tanya though!

I went to bed early for me, about midnight, as I had to be up early to get the coach to Milford.
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