Road to Wanaka

Blue Pools, New Zealand

Blue Pools, New Zealand

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.

Bruce Bay, West Coast, New Zealand

Bruce Bay, West Coast, New Zealand

Knights Point, West Coast, New Zealand

Knights Point, West Coast, New Zealand

Heritage Highway, West Coast, South Island

Heritage Highway, West Coast, South Island

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.

Walk to Roaring Billy Falls

Walk to Roaring Billy Falls

Roaring Billy Falls

Roaring Billy Falls

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.

Fantail Falls

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!

Fantail Falls

Fantail Falls

Blue Pools

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!

Walk to the Blue Pools, South Island, New Zealand

Walk to the Blue Pools, South Island, New Zealand

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.

Blue Pools, New Zealand

Blue Pools, New Zealand

Inlet to the Blue Pools, New Zealand

Inlet to the Blue Pools, New Zealand

Clear water, blue (green) pools

Clear water, blue (green) pools

Bridge at the Blue Pools, New Zealand

Bridge at the Blue Pools, New Zealand

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?!

Wild Earth Lodge, Makarora, New Zealand

Wild Earth Lodge, Makarora, New Zealand

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!

Boundary Creek, New Zealand

Boundary Creek, New Zealand

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!

Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

Lake Hawea

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.

Lake Hawea, New Zealand

Lake Hawea, New Zealand

Lake Hawea, New Zealand

Lake Hawea, New Zealand

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.

Lake Hawea, New Zealand

Lake Hawea, New Zealand

Lake Hawea, New Zealand

Lake Hawea, New Zealand

Albert Town

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.

Albert Town, Wanaka, New Zealand

Albert Town, Wanaka, New Zealand

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!

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