Since we sold our home in South Wales and sailed away in April 2008 Trish and I frequently ask each other......
Of all the places we have been where would you live?
There are some places we could live for part of each year, Bonaire in the Caribbean
has great snorkelling, diving, small island feel and a great blend of Dutch/Caribbean influences.
Many of the Pacific islands would be attractive for a while but are too remote and parochial.
No one place has ticked all the boxes........... Up to now
For me Wanaka, Otago, South Island, new Zealand has it all...
Think of the Lake District on Steroids, and the European Alps without the people and you have the area around Wanaka.
In winter, Alpine routes of all grades, 3 alpine skiing areas (not resorts) within 30 minutes drive, cross country skiing from the edge of town,
Back country skiing to rival Norway, Ski mountaineering, ice climbing, etc, etc.
In summer rock climbing within 10 minutes drive, Big alpine climbs within 1 hours drive and a great hut system, mountain biking from town,
watersports on the lake just across the road from the main shopping and eating area, hunting, fishing...
The town has only 7,000 people but has great schooling and medical facilities and a go ahead attitude plus good restaurants, shopping and a
great community spirit with concerts, plays, films, etc.
Many of the locals have taken in homeless families from Christchurch and local businesses were funding BBQ’s, kids fun days, etc, for families from Christchurch.
I spoke with lots of people who came on holiday and never left.
I did a short walk with Katie and Yann up Roys Peak, 1,560m on the edge of the lake and the side of the road. It had rained heavily overnight on the
previous two nights and there was snow down to 1,200m.
As we climbed up the track we could look down on the lake, a few people waterskiing, a sailboat or two, people fishing, etc in about 22 oC, and all
around we had snow covered mountains up to Mt Aspiring, snow and glacier at well over 3,000m.
If I was a young man looking for somewhere to bring up my family I would look no further than Wanaka.
This particular dream is unlikely to come true as Trish rightly reminds me that it is a long way from our kids and grandchild.
Terje and I are flying back down here for a couple of weeks in mid April to walk and climb in Aspiring National Park while Trish goes home to see Chris, Bethan and Anwen.
And.... there is always a plan B!!!!!!!