The first thing we did after checking in to our hotel was take Mr18mo for a walk around the waterfront in his buggy (so he could have a nap). It was so lovely being out in the fresh air, and stopping at the playground on the lakefront for a play after his nap went down a treat.
We went off the tourist-beaten track and went swimming at Alpine Aqualand, the local swimming pool. The water was lovely and warm, the casual play area was a good size, and it was all-but all ours. Mr18mo had a great time!
The most tourist-obvious thing we did was a trip up the hill on the gondola and a couple of rides on the luge. Mr18mo was not keen to get on the gondola, and was excessively clingy at the top until he got used to the area, but he loved his ride on the luge, and the chairlift back up the hill. I suspect when he does this again when he is older, he’ll be nearly impossible to get away from the luge and chair!
The hardest part of the trip was that Mr18mo didn’t want to sleep a lot. Usually fairly easy to settle, and we even took his own portacot and bedding, he just did not want to go down for night sleeps or naps. So we spent a lot of time out for long walks with the buggy to make sure he did nap, because skipping naps entirely just makes for over-tired toddler, which is no fun for anyone!
An unexpected highlight was cuddling a baby lamb at Walter Peak station when we went over on the Earnslaw. The afternoon tea provided at the station was scrummy too (I ate far too many scones and paid for it that night). Really glad we opted for the more expensive option, with getting off the boat. Mr18mo loved it too!
The most mentally challenging part of the trip was the maze at Puzzling World in Wanaka when we popped over for an afternoon. We got really lost, Mark and I both got grumpy, and it started rubbing off on Mr18mo, who wound up refusing to walk. So we abandoned that.
We skipped a lot of the adrenaline based tourist attractions. While I went on the Kawerau Jet (half the price of the Shotover version for a longer ride, if slightly less dramatic because you aren’t in the narrows), we otherwise didn’t touch anything adventurous – no paraponting, no bungy.
We need to go back and visit Arrowtown again. It was incredibly beautiful (and devastatingly cold). And our short stop there as a detour on our way to Wanaka for the afternoon was not long enough.
Surprisingly, we loved Puzzling World. What would probably seem lame and tacky without a kid, was a lot of fun with him. Can’t wait to take him again one day when he actually understands some of the stuff that we found funny.
The last thing we did before we left town was make a second attempt to get Mr18mo to play on the snow at Coronet Peak. Just like his first visit, he was really unimpressed, refused to keep his sunnies on, and was generally grizzly. So we gave up and headed back to town for an early lunch (then abandoned because he fell asleep on the way back in!)