But I had a plan - my machete was packed in my main luggage and got through airport security. More on that later.
Our first stop was Arrowtown, we stopped to have a walk around the Chinese town where gold miners lived 'way back then'.
They were interesting little dwellings and I suppose would have even been considered 'luxury' compared to the way some people lived in those days, and sadly even some today.
Some even had a fireplace.
Interesting story from when I visited 10 years ago: I was chatting with someone in a nearby shop who said that a few years previously the roading company dumped a pile of sand outside his shop to pave the road with. He scooped a bucket full of it up and kept it aside to demonstrate gold panning to customers. The roading company came in and paved the road a few days later. A week after that he took his bucket of sand and showed a customer how to pan for gold. He pulled out a reasonable sized gold nugget. So the streets of Arrowtown are paved with gold!
We met a busload of tourists there, they were on a 21 day tour of Australia and New Zealand with the bus stopping at all the 'good spots'. Their journey sounded pretty intense and perhaps a little tiring for my liking - but still better than not doing it.
After Arrowtown we took the scenic route through the mountains towards Wanaka.
There is still a reasonable amount of snow around there considering summer starts in a month.
I had done my research and set my gps for the exact location of "That Wanaka tree" as we headed for our next stop. We hoped there weren't too many people there, my wife was nervous I might have another encounter with the armed-offenders squad [long story, they took an air rifle away from me when I was new in the country].
There it is! And already it messed with my brain, because of the way the tree leans I was subconsciously trying to counteract that lean, evident in the tilted horizon in every shot I took!
So I was thinking "What will south island photographers take pictures of when it is gone? They will have to start using their imaginations!"
Now, in preparation for the backlash I may get - I did not cut the tree down! This is a joke!
There were several people who understood the joke, many of them had stated "I'm going to take a chainsaw to that tree!" and I had offered to provide the petrol to complete the job. Once this picture was up it was shared several times with titles like "It has been done finally!".
Of course while I was there I had to take a few photos just in case someone does finally get rid of "Kim Wanaka Kardashian Tree".
How do you get a different perspective of the world's most photographed tree? [Tilted horizons have been corrected in the next two images]
Some ducks arrived to add some spice to the image.
And then as the photographers started arriving in their droves it was time to leave before the urge to practice my swimming and machete swinging kicked in.
On to "puzzling world!"
This is a "must do" stop if you're in the area, plenty of photo opportunities.
I get motion sickness very easily, it took about 3 seconds for me to start feeling a little unwell after stepping into the tilted room.
Put the pool ball at one end of the table and it rolls into the pocket. The "level" surfaces in this room are all actually tilted 2 degrees downward as well but because there are no windows you have no reference point for your brain which makes you start feeling off balance pretty quickly.
Then there is the room of faces that follow you as you walk by. This is best seen in the video.
The room of perspective distortion takes a video of you and plays it back after two minutes so you can watch yourself changing size as you walk across from one side to the other. Apparently this technique is used in movies where Hobbits are involved.
It's a really cool place with something interesting around every corner.
At first I didn't believe this guy was made of silicone. I watched him out of the corner of my eye for a while waiting for him to move. Maybe I should have taken the machete in and run at him with it? Someone suggested doing the 'nose pinch test' to make sure whether he was real or not. Eventually after peeking around the corner a few times I realised it wasn't alive.
I want a place like this closer to home.
Those lines are all straight, unlike the Wanaka tree.
At the reception we were originally pointed in the direction of the main entrance to the attractions. Then she pointed to the toilets and said "The toilets are quite special". They were.
If you stand right in the middle with your back to the wall the perspective of the room fits the painting in the background. Of course the real toilets are doors to the left and right of this room.
From there it was the drive the rest of the way to Haast. Several stops along the way break up the journey.
It's not only sheep on the South island, there are cows as well.
And deer in the distance.
Ideally the trip could take 5X longer there are so many places to stop and go for walks.
We stayed at Aspiring court motel at Haast. $110 a night, parking right outside the door and 1 hour free [slow] internet each.
We had been advised to see Jackson Bay but it was 5:00pm by the time we got to Haast so after 'setting up camp' we took a half hour drive towards the bay and got a few late afternoon snaps.
Haast wasn't exactly a highlight of our journey, more of a halfway stop between places.