Lake Hawea to Wanaka
This section would be a short one and it would probably have been a nice one, had it not been such a bad weather.
When we got up and packed our things, it was still fine, but almost at the exact time that we started walking it started to rain. Most of the time it was just a bit of a drizzle, but every now and then a little shower would follow. We were still in high spirits for most of the morning, but the farther we walked, the more wet and miserable we got.
Our ultralight rain jackets aren't made for this kind of continuous rain, and by now especially the shoulders aren't exactly waterproof anymore anyways. We also left the front of the jacket open, only a small slit, for better breathability. But by the time we got to Albert Town - pretty much the half way point - everything seemed to be wet and our mood wasn't so great.
We walked into town to find a hot drink, and found a Patisserie. Inside sat Felix and Johannes, already done with their drinks and snacks. We got some coffee and hot chocolate and bought a cake and a chocolate croissant to brighten up the mood. But the puddles forming on the floor under our backpacks, and our wet clothes made that very hard. Next up the Kiwi Couple from the last trail section entered the Patisserie and added their wet backpacks to our puddle. Then they sat with us and we had a nice chat. They explained where they would stay the night and that's when it dawned on us that we hadn't arranged accommodation yet. We had planned to just walk into the holiday park, but with the weather being as it was, that didn't seem a great option anymore.
We checked if someone had answered our couch surfing request - no - and all then almost all hostels were booked out - only two dorm beds in the YHA were available for more than 90$. We reserved them, because there was no way we wanted to sleep in the tent tonight.
Then we packed our wet bags and continued. We didn't follow the Te Araroa Route though, but instead took a shorter route into Wanaka as we wanted to get out of the rain as soon as possible. When we were just a few steps from the hostel, a car pulled up and the driver asked: "Are you two Germans, TA Hikers, Couchsurfing? I have a place for you to stay!" - unfortunately we couldn't cancel our booking at the YHA at that point, so we ended up staying there anyways. But it was just so funny and ironic, that he saw us, knew who we were and offered a place to stay that we now couldn't use anymore.
The YHA was very nice though. We really enjoyed to big, well equipped kitchen and went wild for dinner that night - we made enchiladas, taking a break of our one pot trail food meals. So in the end the day ended nice and we were full and happy.
The next morning we moved to the Holiday Park, to save a few bucks. Then we spent a day doing mostly nothing. We did meet up with the Couchsurfer who had offered us a place to stay though. That was super interesting. He turned his passion for travelling into his job - his story was inspiring and we were super glad to have met. him.
Later in the afternoon we went and bought two liters of ice cream to share with Felix and Johannes, who were also staying in Wanaka. They would be going off to Roy's Peak to watch the sunset later on, and while we didn't feel to going up there tonight, we decided to stay another day in Wanaka to be able to do that tomorrow night.
So with yet another day in Wanaka we got up early in the morning to take a picture of the famous #thatwanakatree during sunrise. Even though those kinds of tourist things do sometimes make us feel awkward we had a great morning. The sunrise was beautiful and we enjoyed it with some hot chocolate and coffee, which made it even better. Other than us, there were maybe 8 other people there - we hadn't expected to be alone, but were glad there weren't even more people.