The town of Wanaka has many claims to fame but we really only visited for one thing: Puzzling World. – huge, sprawling three-dimensional maze.
It took us one hour and twenty minutes to navigate the maze the hard way. It really was quite fiendish and making our way around it was a joy. There was also a pretty interesting series of rooms showing illusions, we’d seen quite a few before but they did a great job of presenting them and explaining them.
Driving back South towards Queenstown we passed a marker for 45-degrees South. The land was full of fruit plantations and wineries – quite different to the more rugged pursuits we’d been seeing for the last few days. Although the rivers bursting their banks was more than enough drama.
Arrowtown is an old gold town. After the Australian gold rush, New Zealand had one of its own. The main rush didn’t last long and the locals realised they needed a market for all the ancillary goods. They invited the Chinese in and promptly were very rude to them. The Chinese did pretty well in spite of everything, largely because they were willing to work for results that others were not. We walked around the remains of the Chinese settlement and marvelled at the tiny huts they inhabited.
Today Arrowtown is a classic tourist attraction with a combination of restaurants and gold-themed shops. I’m sure far more money is being made from all this than was pulled out of the river during the gold rush. The boys tried their hand at gold panning and were disappointed not to strike it rich.