Wanaka: Sunshine, wine and fish n’ chips on a crystal clear lake

Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

It really doesn’t get much more stunning than this

I think as I gaze out over a vineyard seeing snowcapped mountains across a glistening Lake Wanaka.

My trip to Queenstown was just one stunning day of scenery after another. Wanaka was a great day trip and a spot I could easily move to (for half a year at least, might be a bit cold in winter). The drive is a little scary over the Crown Range, but safe enough if you’re careful and had some great rest stops for taking photographs!

View from the Crown Range

View from the Crown Range

Road viewpoints over the Crown Range

Road viewpoints over the Crown Range

View from the Crown Range

View from the Crown Range

Driving past the Cardrona Hotel, I realise I’m visiting places that postcards are made of. The history, the experiences, the beauty it’s all here.

Cardrona Hotel

Cardrona Hotel

Onwards to Wanaka I’m awe struck the moment I reach town. The township is at one end of the Lake Wanaka and given the time of year (November) it wasn’t busy, not too big and not too small. The stunning lake hits you the moment you arrive and I immediately feel at peace, with the sun beaming down.

Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

Flowers at Lake Wanaka

Flowers at Lake Wanaka

First stop after visiting the helpful information centre was the Lone Tree, a tree that sits in the lake and is the source of many photography awards. If I was staying in Wanaka longer, I’d love to come take photographs of it at different times of day – the colours would be amazing!

Lone Tree, Wanaka

Lone Tree, Wanaka

Lone Tree, Wanaka

Lone Tree, Wanaka

Flowers at Lake Wanaka

Next up was a relaxing walk around Lake Wanaka. I parked up at one end and walked as far as the path would take me. Stopped to see giant eels on the wharf and smelling the wildflowers as I walked through bushy pastures in parts. It was utterly lovely.

Flowers along the path around Lake Wanaka

Flowers along the path around Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

Taking the advice of the information centre, I took the hire car up the road – just a few minutes from the town centre to Rippon Vineyard and Winery. It’s here that stunning organic wine is made. It’s a family owned winery with 6 unique varieties of wine. They do free wine tasting and just ask for a small donation to help plant trees around the property. The host – Jack was so passionate about the work they do there, explaining how everything is connected, I could really see that they must put all their heart and soul into what they do there. That certainly shows through the incredible taste of their wines!

Rippon vineyard and winery

Rippon vineyard and winery

The wine was tasty, but the best part for me was the view. I don’t think I could have picked a better stop during my trip to Wanaka to see the mountains and lake from such a stunning point high on a hill of a vineyard.

View from Rippon

View from Rippon

Sadly the winery didn’t have a restaurant to enjoy the views further (although they do platters that looked good!) Instead I went back down to town to grab some fish n’ chips to eat on the lakefront. It was the next best thing to the beach I figured! The fish n’ chips however, were the worst I’ve ever had. They were fully cooked from frozen and tasteless!

That didn’t dampen my mood though. It was a great day. After lunch I headed off to Puzzling World – an iconic place to venture through a maze and house of illusions. While I managed to find all the necessary corners of the maze, I did manage to get lost finding my way out… luckily I wasn’t the only one so after an hour or so, I may have slightly cheated to get out with a few other people…

Puzzling World, Wanaka

Puzzling World, Wanaka

The illusion rooms were pretty cool, but one of those things that would be better to do with someone else or kids. I was still glad to experience it though.

Maze at Puzzling World (just one corner)

Maze at Puzzling World (just one corner)

That brought me to the end of a very long delightful day in Wanaka. I treated myself to a Kapiti Boysenberry Icecream/block (super tasty) and ventured back over the Crown Range just before sunset.

That brings me to the end of my tales of my time in and around Queenstown. I had just over 5 days there and made the most of it. Queenstown itself was touristy but scenic, Arrowtown was quaint with some great walks. Milford Sound was unbelievable and the road trip to Glenorchy and Paradise was possibly the best drive I’ve ever done. I met some nice people and saw scenery that would be worthy of Switzerland, Chile, Argentina and more… all in one country. My country. New Zealand, Aotearoa.

As this may be my last post before Christmas, let me say thank you to everyone near and far that take the time to read my blog posts and look through my photos. Your comments, tweets and views mean the world to me, it’s a great outlet to share my passion of travel and photography.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

A little bird that joined me around Lake Wanaka

A little bird that joined me around Lake Wanaka

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