Live Update from Wanaka

It would have made more sense to give you insights into my journey and take you along as we were making our way through the Islands, but instead of catching up with Pelorus, which we passed after crossing over to the South Island, I would rather like to share with you where I am tonight and what I did today. No worries, it has a RA connection, but first let me show you where I am staying tonight.


This is certainly the most charming place we have been so far – and all thanks to the fact that we’re travelling in the highest of high seasons, and beds are rare. The Wanaka i-site booked us into Harry’s place, up above Lake Hawea. We were told it was badic but it turns out we have rented three rooms with kitchen and our own bathroom. That’s more luxury than we have had so far (Wellington an expensive exception), on our budget. We were told that Harry is a “character”, and being the adventurers that we are, we grabbed the chance. We were welcomed by Harry’s mate John, and it turns out that this is a place maintained by three lads of indeterminate age. It’s a farm with sheep and rusty vehicles threwn all over the fields surrounding the house. The lads are spoiling us with bagfuls of Walnuts from their ancient walnut tree and offering us to wash, or to borrow a radio – despite setting the guest kitchen under water because the two city girls don’t know how to handle the ancient boiler. It’s fabulous, quiet and unique. What a gem!

But now back to Thorin travels. Guylty got all excited today because the trusty Hobbit Location Book by Ian Brodie pointed out another location to explore. We drove out of Wanaka towards the West in the direction of Mount Aspiring and stopped at the second “Scenic Reserve” (that’s what they call the car parks from which you can go on a trail). Lake Wanaka is stunning, but with the Wanaka Iron Man Challenge on in town this weekend, we felt decidedly out of place among all those slim and sporty hard men (and women) in the lakeside town, so a moderate trail seemed the ideal alternative. We set off from a sign proclaiming we were at Glendhu Bay and walked for an hour along the shore to Damper Bay. Stunning views of Mt Aspiring were our reward. It was on one of my photo stops when I looked up at the ridges across the bay and thought “Hm, that ridge looks really familiar. Isn’t that where Thorin can be seen in AUJ, leading his company towards the Misty Mountains???” I took plenty of pictures from all angles, and Pop Thorin agreed to pose for me, his current company of one.

Back in the car I consulted Brodie:

Bingo! I’m not sure how clear and big you will be able to see this picture (I am writing on the WP iPhone app tonight – no wifi here), but behind the aerial view of the Treble Cone in the foreground you can see Glendhu Bay in the b’ground. That’s where we walked and where I took the pic of Thorin.

It must have been truly stunning for RA to film up there. The Cone is only accessible via helicopter, and I remember him saying that one of his fondest memories is of some location filming early on in the shoot when they were given a haversack with their lunch and then spent a day up on the mountain, all alone, being filmed from the helicopter… This, I believe, is where it happened.

Pop Thorin got all misty-eyed at the memory. And the proud dwarf King stood tall:

Thorin, King ON the Mountain…

Lots of love from Middle-earth,

Guylty ❤

11 thoughts on “Live Update from Wanaka

  1. Wanaka is one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand imo (though the lake is freezing, I don’t know if you noticed). It’s sort of how Queenstown used to be, about 20 years ago. And not terribly far from an attraction called Puzzling World, which, while not RA related, is fun nonetheless. All tilted floors and mazes and optical illusions.


  2. That looks like a really cool place, just hope not too many insects 😉 or sheep making noises in the morning 😉 And that is another lump-in-throat landscape.. I so loved AUJ, it felt very epic especially in moments and with landscapes like this. I love Pop Thorin on top of the mountain 🙂 (you’ll have to give him some sunscreen soon, he’s getting a lot of sun 😉


  3. Was für ein genial-dramatischer Himmel über Thorin, perfekt! 🙂

    Äh, liegst du eigentlich öfter mal Seiner Majestät zu Füßen?


  4. Thorin must be so happy to revisit his happy haunts. Loved the pictures. You must be getting fit with all your hiking. You will return slim as an elf. I am jealous.


  5. Gorgeous surroundings, Guylty! Must be amazing to see it all first-hand. The rustic site must be very awe-inspiring in its simplicity…I love nature in its raw form! Sometimes our conveniences are really complications. …though that boiler sounds tricky too! Have fun exploring!


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