Run Report

Wanaka parkrun recap

The last (and only other) time I visited Wanaka was 2001, so not only pre-parkrun in Wanaka but before parkrun in general!

This visit was a long time overdue, Wanaka parkrun turned three earlier this year.

Thanks to some reasonably priced flights (thanks Air NZ, #notsponsored) I was able to fit in a trip before winter well and truly took hold.

To get to Wanaka I flew Rotorua to Auckland, then Auckland to Queenstown. I hired a car (a Subaru XV) and drove over the Crown Range to Wanaka.

I booked this trip prior to the transtasman bubbling even being announced, so I scored a great deal with Edgewater Resort for two nights.

I’m not going to lie, it takes a long time to get from Rotorua to Wanaka. I was dropped off at the airport after school-drop off and arrived in Wanaka around 4.30pm.

Driving over the Crown Range isn’t always accessible to regular cars, particularly this time of year, so if you are heading to Wanaka in winter check the road conditions first.

I’d already made the decision to travel back to Queenstown the longer way around, so I could see more of the scenery.

Friday night I ate out at Ashraf’s Indian, amazing, highly recommend.


The forecast for parkrunday was not looking great. In fact I’d resigned myself to running parkrun and then bunking down in the hotel for the rest of the day. It was that bad. The temp was going to hit a high of 6!

So when parkrunday rolled around I was pleasantly surprised. Yes there was rain but it wasn’t full pelt.

I drove down to the car park off Homestead Close (I was taking books, otherwise I would have run/walked) and met Geoff the Run Director for the day.

I was early (hello! parkrun tourist!).

Geoff had laid out a couple of blankets for gear to be left on (and tarpaulin to go over the top).

There was a small hardy group of runners, several of whom arrived with minutes to spare. And by then the rain had disappeared 9hurray for the parkrun weather fairies).

The Wanaka course is an out and back, it starts in Wanaka Station Park, goes around the park a little before going down a steepish track (and potentially slippy with all the fallen leaves) and on to the Glendhu Track.

You turn left onto the track and if you have a moment, you can see the famous Wanaka Tree.

The track is well formed, but there were a couple of puddles along the way (but passable). We ran through some trees, but for the most part there were mountain and lake views.

There was a turnaround marshal and then time to head back.

Because of the small field (29 finishers) it was a lonely run, but nevertheless, I enjoyed it. Towards the park I caught up to one of the Australian visitors (decked out in puffa jacket still). I ran up the slope (seemed easier to get up than to slow and walk and potentially slip), caught up with Prue and had a wee chat as we negotiated the grass (and chestnuts).

And then we finished.

Despite the small numbers there was plenty of chat at the finish, and we continued at Edgewater where the fact there was a menu for scones delighted me.

I enjoyed the Buttermilk scone with raspberry jam and cream, delicious.

The aftermath

After some chat I’d decided what to do the rest of the day. While parkrunfresh (staying in your parkrun clothes after parkrun) I went for a walk up Mt Iron.

And then I drove a few minutes to Albert Town to the Pembroke Patisserie for a sausage roll. Definitely visit.

A visit to Wanaka wouldn’t be complete without stopping in at Puzzling World. My 9-year-old son had just got his first speed cube, so I bought another so we could learn with him, plus another puzzle.

But wait, there’s more. The Wanaka Tree. I thought I should get a pic of the book and the tree. But I’d left the book at the hotel…

So I returned, and then had a soak in the spa.

But the Tree was still at the back of my mind. After being told I’d regret not getting that pic I drove the five minutes back and got a selection.

So there are some highlights of my Wanaka trip. The next morning I set off early (8am) to drive back to Queenstown via Cromwell.

I met up with Chris and Jamie from Queenstown parkrun and made ourselves at home at Obladi café.

There were high winds, which led to my flight being delayed and then cancelled. But I was able to get home in a timely fashion (and ready to book another trip south).

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