wanaka // New Zealand - part I

My memories of New Zealand - having visited the country several times as a child - is of a country with some of the most beautiful scenery and the clearest fresh (and sea) water. Visiting it again more than ten years later hasn’t changed anything.

airbnb garden

lake wanaka

I hadn’t been sure of this trip. I was trying to sort out my finances and wasn’t sure that this was the best for my pocket. It was, however, for the wedding of Wenkai’s cousin. In the end, my heart caved in. It’s hard to turn down the thought of seeing Kiwiland again. 

crystal clear lake

vintage car spotting

gelato for sunny days

tiny local boutique

We transited in Melbourne before flying directly to Queenstown. Before our plane landed, we flew through the most amazing mountain landscapes. I’m not clear about the details, but Wenkai’s brother explained to us that they have some technology that doesn’t require the pilot to see. It can be the cloudiest day and they’ll literally be able to land blind


Flights always feel abysmally long to me. After waking up at 3am for two days straight to catch flights, I’d imagine the journey would’ve felt like 3 minutes if I slept through it - but it didn’t. Nevertheless, I found myself stepping off the plane into a valley surrounded by mountains. I can’t remember landing to a more stunning scene, and tried to take it all in.

what a venue for a wedding

cheese banquet

The wedding was on the next day. A bus picked us up and took us through fields and across lakes before finally winding up through a small forest-esque setting on a hill. Atop that hill was a quaint brick house that opened up to a garden overlooking Lake Hawea - one of the two lakes around Wanaka.


The ceremony was short and sweet. Everyone commented on the venue and I finally met the bride and groom - who were very lovely. The children played ping pong, yelling and selecting who they wanted (or didn’t want to) play with; built bridges to balance on with large wooden bricks and knocked the same structures down. 


As the sunset, the mountain range across the lake was bathed in soft golden light and I forgot all the reasons why I hadn’t wanted to go in the first place. 

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