It’s a 10am departure from my lie low in Wanaka and a spectacular 6-hour drive to Franz Josef on the west coast of the South Island. I am running out of superlatives for this island as we pass countless waterfalls, emerald lakes and stunning mountain scenery. Once we hit the west coast, the scenery completely changes as lush green rainforest tumbles down from cast hills to wild, deserted beaches. Dundee Amber is with me for most of the journey and makes excellent company before she jumps off at the Fox Glacier, where she is planning a helicopter ride onto the glacier the following day. As for me, it is another night at a YHA, this time with the remarkable backdrop of snow-covered mountains and rainforest encroaching as far as the back door of the hostel. The Cathay Pacific air stewardess and her mum from Shanghai, who I met in Wanaka, are also staying at the hostel and help me knock back a bottle of Hardys Shiraz as Tonga go head to head with Japan
I bump into Dundee Amber who is checked in to the Wanaka YHA after spending a couple of nights in Milford Sound. It was a wise move staying overnight on the fjord as she got to kayak in calm waters with sunny blue skies giving her a totally different perspective of the fjord from when I accompanied her on the cruise there the previous day, when it was stormy and snowy.
My main accomplishment of the day is going for my first jog since I was living in Europe in June. I can't imagine I will ever jog anywhere again quite as beautiful as the Wanaka lakeside setting, with glorious blue skies giving the scene a look of perfection. I struggle to complete my jog and take a sneaky break half way, sitting on the shoreline marveling at the view and contemplating my future.
The Russians run in their first ever try in Rugby World Cup history in the evening and add two more, but they are still comfortably beaten by the Italians.
It's a lie low and time to catch up with my magazine work in the gorgeous lakeside town of Wanaka, a 90-minute drive north-west from Queenstown. I am booked into the YHA, which has to-die-for front lounge views of the lake and the countless mountain peaks that surround it on three sides.
RWC Daily September 19