▨ Jamie McHale


Turning 40 · April 2023

We arrived in Cromwell and stayed at an Airbnb near the Felton Road Winery. Harriet’s brother works there, so we booked on a tour and tasting. It was good to see the process - particularly as everyone was busy for the harvest.

We went for lunch at Mount Difficulty Winery, up a very steep hill, but with great views up the valley towards Cromwell. The food was great, and we tried a flight of their wines.

I celebrated my 40th birthday with a lovely day with Jack and Harriet. I’m not someone who enjoys too much fuss, so this was a perfect way to spend the day. We started with a short hike at the Butterfields Wetlands near Albertown. It was just a 3km walk, but it was glorious in the sunshine, and gave us a chance to try Jack out in the carrier again.

After the walk at Albertown we drove back to Wanaka and ate tacos on the shore. Jack enjoyed the sunshine in his shades and little sun hat. I don’t think I could have been happier.

After lunch we drove west around Glen Dhu Bay and hiked at Diamond Lake. It was another short walk in the afternoon sun, with a climb up to a lookout. We took Jack in the sling so he could nap. We saw fantails and bellbirds along the way.

I did manage to fit in a run around the Bannockburn Gold Sluicings that were near to our Airbnb. The route was a winding trail through hills that had been carved away by gold miners. I paused to read the various history panels that were scattered throughout the park. The views were dramatic.

We spent a few more days with family and friends exploring the area. We ate at the Bannockburn Hotel (great tapas-style meal), and had lunch at Provisions of Arrowtown (tourist town, but nice to visit). At the end of the week we started our three week road trip, heading south to Te Anau.