The city of Wanaka, just like Queenstown, resides next to a wonderful lake, surrounded by high mountains. Yet, the atmosphere in these cities is quite different, Wanaka being the relaxed, calmer, adult sister to hyperactive Queenstown where the young crowd queues for Subway sandwiches and nightclubs alike.
We spent a few days at Wanaka, using it as a base for amazing day-trips nearby. One day we climbed to the base of a glacier named Rob Roy, the other day we drove to see the strikingly blue Blue Pools (and were chased away by evil sandflies), and on top of all that we condensed a four day track into a single day: We flew in a helicopter the first two days’ worth of walking (spectacular 20 minutes), walked a bit (3-4 hours), and then a jet-boat took us to the end (30 minutes). Amazing day and one of the (many, many) highlights of our trip.
We loved Wanaka, with its perfect weather, great food and coffee, and delicious local fruits and vegetables.
The scenic road from Queenstown to Wanaka.
Wanaka Lake! Full of boats, swimmers, sunbathers and birds.
We spent the first night in our lovely tent (no, it didn’t come in a suitcase as the photo might imply).
In addition to great outdoor pursuits, Wanaka also offers other high quality entertainment.
Driving on the Haast Highway, this is the photogenic Lake Hawea.
The “Blue Pools” is a 30-minute walk off the Haast Highway. The pools are indeed
blue and beautiful, but too bad this attraction also has the highest number of sandflies we encountered in our entire trip! They actually have a board talking about sandflies at the beginning of the walk. Quickly cancelling our plans to have a picnic near the pools because of the sandflies, we ended up having lunch in the car – and still had a few stray sandflies getting in.
Our vehicle for the day… Starting our Flying – Walking – Boating experience!
The helicopter takes us to the start of our hike.
The views are awesome. A wee alpine lake.
Snow and glaciers as viewed from the cockpit.
Alpine / glacial lake. The special opaque turquoise color is caused by “glacier flour” which traps the blue color.
Our helicopter takes off after dropping us off at the beginning of the track. From now on we actually have to walk…
The beginning of every track should be a dip in an almost-freezing pool of crystal clear turquoise water, as demonstrated by the brave A.
Starting the 3-hour walk. As a fellow walker defined it, “Welcome to paradise”
Typical view during the walk. No photoshop was applied!
Mountains, river, snow – the works!
The world’s best looking bus station.
Here comes our jetboat!
Driving to Rob Roy Glacier track, we were accompanied by many animals, including deer.
Always a good sign to see.
Do they only like Toyota from here on? After serious rainfall, the “fords” along the road become too deep to cross.
N enjoys the view…
… While A photographs his shadow. Can’t stop being excited over the color and clarity of the water.
The mighty glacier! With a representative waterfall of melting ice.
N contemplating global warming and the best spot for post-track coffee.
And for the multimedia part: Check out this clip of Israeli singer Keren Peles, called “Lake Wanaka”. (embedded in the post, you can go here if you can’t see the video inline)