Ended up in Wanaka
The German boys in their VW bus pulled into a gas station parking lot and we got out. We walked almost every square inch of this beautiful lake town with our packs on. The search for the best priced backpackers with wifi was on and it turned out to be the last one we went to. The flying kiwi.
We checked in to a room with 3 bunk beds but it was only Alicia and I sharing it with a German and an Italian guy. Both were very nice guys with good personalities. The German guy even gave me a pack of really good throat numbing loseneges for a bad couch I picked up a few nights back.
The town reminded me a little of cor'de lane idaho (I spelled that wrong) but not quite as big of a town. It had a beautiful blue lake and bike paths all around it with mountains surrounding us.
After we unloaded our packs onto our beds we made a light dinner in the kitchen and then went to dinner, our first nice one of the trip.
The reason we ate dinner before going to dinner is because NZ can be spendy and especially when going out to eat. You don't tip in NZ which is nice but you see a slight difference in the prices on the menu. We wanted some food in our tummies so that we would be fine sharing a plate at the restaurant. This is the backpackers way... For now at least. Asia will be a different story!
We had been recommended a good place for lamb and we wanted to try some before leaving NZ. This restaurant we went to lacked in character and charm with its mish mash of horrible art, fake flowers, white Christmas lights and white paper place mats! But the lamb was incredible! Perfect for sharing and fell right off the bone.
Grocery shopping was next which was interesting because the market we were in was the only place in the town that offered free wifi. As we went thru check out with our eggs & trail mix I noticed quite a few backpackers sitting, all lined up against the windows on their phones.
The South Island is pretty much crap when it comes to wifi acsess. This is a great example of it!
Back at the hostel we were invited to go out with a big group of backpackers for one of the girls birthday. I decided to go to bed early to try and kick the cough I had. Alicia had enough fun for the both of us so it made up for my absence.
I started waking up around 2:30am when everyone started coming into the hostel. The last one in was about 5am. Apparently I missed an entertaining night but it was entertaining watching backpackers stumble into the room at all hours, laughing at each other.
The next morning came and we decided it was time to head to Queenstown. I still hadn't heard back from any couch surfing hosts but the hostel price here and in Queenstown was going to be the same so it made since to head that way.
As I was packing Alicia came in the room and asked me if Andy could hitch with us to Queenstown. He was a very sweet German guy we met at the hostel who wanted to visit Queenstown again. He is on a work visa for a year or 3.
I didn't mind Andy coming with us but I told Alicia, hitchhiking won't be as easy with a 3rd and especially a being male. She agreed but we decided to try it out. All packed up and headed to the main road out of Wanaka, we went.
When we found our perfect spot to hitch from and put our packs down, Alicia continued to give Andy a hard time for all the stuff he had. It was true and comical to watch their conversation. His backpack was monstrous! Andy bought a camper van to cruise NZ in but his sisters were visiting so he loaned it to them and packed all that he could into his bag while he was without his home on wheels.
While we tried to catch a ride Andy laughed at us. He thought it was funny that we were holding our sign, waving and smiling to drivers as they passed. He told us we were making the drivers nervous! Haha! They weren't nervous! They were happy to wave back if they couldn't stop for us.
Finally we decided on a plan. We had to explain carefully to Andy what we were doing so he didn't think we were ditching him. Alicia and I took our bags and walked back down the street just a bit and told him to stay put and just wait. If someone pulled over we'd tell them he was with us and then they could take the 2 of us (that was his idea) and he'd hitch on his own and meet up with us or they could take all 3. Alicia and I started hitching again and I happened to look back at Andy only to see HIM hitching too, on the same block as us! That's a big NO in the professional world of hitchhikers.
I asked Alicia to run back to him and explain to him why this wasn't going to work. It was hilarious!
He finally sat down and started to relax with Alicia still talking to him while I got a driver!
He was another business man, driving to Queenstown and looking for company along the way. He asked me how many of us there were and I told him Alicia and I. Andy too, if their was room. He said he'd take all of us and away we went.