As promised, the honeymoon travel series continues….
So after flying out of Auckland and into Queenstown bright and early our 3rd day in New Zealand, we boarded a shuttle bus which took us from the Queenstown airport over to the Edgewater Hotel in Wanaka, about 1 hour 30 minutes from Queenstown.
Such an absolutely beautiful area. It’s a very small little town that surrounds the lake and all the people are incredibly nice. After checking into our villa, Mauricio and I decided to rent some bikes and explore the little town/ look for the “insta-worthy” photoshoot spots.
First we stopped at the famous Wanaka tree which is typically submerged in water, however, they were experiencing a bit of a drought so as you can see the trunks of the tree were completely visible. It was still a beautiful photo regardless.
Next we rode over to this little dock. The sun had already started setting so the lighting is a bit harsh, but the woman taking photos of us was so cute and just started making a photoshoot of it lol.
A little embarassed that I’m wearing Mauricios sweatpants in these pics but my leggings just weren’t cutting it- I was way too cold. A warm pair of sweat pants is definitely on my list of next purchases.
After sun down it got a bit too cold for me to handle so we rode back to the hotel where I got a hot cocoa and sat by the fire for a bit before heading up to the room to shower and get changed for dinner at a pub in town called Speights.
Shop jackets here:
They don’t have but a handful of restaurants in town so the wait time was close to an hour, however, over there they do ‘table sharing’ so we met an older couple while we were seated in the bar area and they ended up inviting us to share their dinner table with them. It was so interesting to observe all of the little differences in social etiquettes and such compared to the US.
Again, this was the day we had more of a structured plan, as the whole reason for going to Wanaka was so that we could go Dog Sledding up at Snow Farm! We scarfed down some coffee and a big breakfast at our hotel then went off to see the puppers!
Basically how it works is you do two runs- a day run and a night run. Both are on the exact same course- this is so that you have a trial run during daylight hours when the instructors can actually see both you and the dogs clearly and teach you how to maneuver the dogs through certain obstacles (such as sharp turns, steep down hills, etc).
Going into it Mauricio and I figured the dogs were trained to the point where they could just blindly go through the course no big deal. Ha. We were wrong. Although they are very well trained, its still a group of 20+ dogs that all want to be pet, run around, wrestle, etc. So when you start trying to line them all up in a certain order it can get a bit chaotic as they all try to socialize and roll around, thus tangling up the ropes. It was actually quite entertaining, as I had one dog that had doggy ADD (my words not theirs) and if you stopped running even for a second she would get on the ground and start rolling around in the snow and do whatever she wanted…. it was quite hilarious.
After the day run we gave the doggies some treats and then headed inside for a hot cocoa until the sun went down and we geared up for the night portion.
I’m clearly already freezing ^^
Unfortunately we couldn’t take any pics during this portion because it was completely black out, but the views were AMAZING. Since we were situated at the very top of the mountain there were absolutely no commercial lights to detract from the views and it was just incredible to be able to see the beauty of the mountains that way. Not gonna lie though, it was also a bit scary. You’re trusting a group of dogs as they pull you on a sled twisting and turning through the edge of a very snowy mountain….
Obviously it all turned out fine and we came out un-scathed. Well, Mauricio did have 1 big wipe out going down one of the hills, but he was fine. He actually had a couple ‘celebrity dogs’ in his pack- they were in a few disney movies as well as the Taylor Swift Music Video! We thought that was pretty cool. His team of dogs were also the fastest (the instructors pair the dogs based on the rider, so since I was the lightest I was paired with some of the smaller dogs that maybe wouldn’t have as easily been able to pull the boys). Mauricio clearly wanted to go fast and wasn’t at all nervous, so the instructors paired him with all of the race dogs that really like to go as fast as possible… hence the wipe out. lol.
shop all of my favorite winter gear below: