Road to Wanaka
Lake Matheson > Haast > Makarora > Wanaka
Leaving the beautiful Lake Matheson behind me it was onwards to Wanaka, my favourite town in the South Island (competes with Tauranga for best in New Zealand).
It was set to be a long day, yet I was happy to stop along the way for a few bush walks and scenic stops.
The Heritage Highway: Back to the beaches
Within a few hours the glaciers were behind me and the coastal scenery returned. In fact the temperature was positively beaming as I drove towards Haast and the rainy Christmas Day was long behind me.
Roaring Billy Falls
Just a short wander off the main highway and I’m deep in New Zealand bush/forest. It’s so beautiful with the sun sneaking in through the fern leaves as I walk. When I reach the waterfalls there’s an array of stones that I cross before reaching the falls. I’d love to come in winter and see if the water level rises to cover more of the stones or if that the stones are there from a river a long time ago.
The waterfalls themselves were okay, but New Zealand has many more beautiful ones to share. Still, it was a great way to break up the driving.
Roaring Billy Falls was a short 25 minute walk each way and had a very busy small car park by the bush entrance.
Around a few more bends and I reach another little valley walk, this one is very brief and comes with the token stone layers that tourists love to make so much!
The Blue Pools are on numerous NZ Must Do lists in all the tourist books. I didn’t realise that you could swim there and on a hot day it would be incredible to do just that! I did paddle my feet though and it was rather chilly!
The ‘blue’ colour is more green and created by light refraction on the water. It is crystal clear! It is hard to imagine when it floods it can turn brown! I didn’t spot any rainbow and brown trout, but they can normally be seen swimming amongst the pools evidently.
By now the drive was feeling pretty long for a day trip. But the scenery kept me occupied. I even found my dream spot to live… it’s currently a lodge and I can’t express enough how lucky the owners must be to wake up to this view every day. #Dreamlocation right?!
Boundary Creek and Lake Wanaka
Boundary Creek was on my list of potential Doc campsites and it’s definitely one I’d consider in the future. It was so pretty, sitting at the north end of Lake Wanaka. The only facilities were a couple of flush toilets and a bit of shelter, but it was much better than the drop toilets I’d become used to in the following days!
This was my first taste of Lake Wanaka from this side. I’d visited a few years ago on a day drive from Queenstown, but didn’t have nearly enough time to truly appreciate how lovely this area is. That would change with this trip!
Before I knew it the coastal drive was now replaced with lake drives. Curving around Lake Wanaka I soon curved onto Lake Hawea’s roadside. It took my breath away.
Actually quite distracting for drivers that love scenery so much! Less be said, I did pull over my car quite often to stop and appreciate the view.
Albert Town sits on Lake Hawea, just a few minutes north of Wanaka township. It’s quiet and quaint with some lovely walks/cycle trails that I’d love to do next time I’m down.
After a looooooooong day driving, possibly the longest so far, I finally reached my hotel in Wanaka.
The hotel on Cadrona Valley Road had the perfect view of the Crown Range and was a great last little taste of luxury before camping in Fiordland.
Stay tuned for the sights around the Wanaka region!
Great photos reminding me of our very own tour of south island New Zealand. That west coast drive has to be one of the worlds best and Wanaka is just one of the loveliest towns anywhere. Love it.
Thanks for reading, the West Coast and Wanaka are pretty special places, the landscapes and scenery vary so much don’t they?
New Zealand is just the most beautiful country though, we cant get enough of it. It’s all amazing.