Starting Point: Franz Josef
Ending Point: Wanaka
Kilometers traveled: 309
Posted two days late due to connectivity issues.
We woke up this morning and it was cold. So we loaded up the car, grabbed some petrol and some toasty beverages, and hit the road. We headed down the road a bit to Fox Glacier and stopped by Lake Matheson for a peak at the glaciers from there. We didn’t hike out around the lake as we were saving our hiking for later in the day. But we did get some nice shots of the glaciers from several viewpoints.
From there, we kept heading South, stopping off at Lake Moeraki so we could do a bit of hiking out to Monro Beach. Monro Beach is a breeding area for Fiordland Crested Penguins, but we missed them, probably by a week at the most…breeding was over and they were gone. So these were the only penguins we saw on the beach.
But the hike was lovely. We tramped out through the bush and across a swing bridge before arriving on the rocky beach. The surge was huge this morning and we sat for a long time and watched the waves before heading back to the car.
From there we headed into Haast. Julius Haast was an Austrian explorer who came through this area and named just about everything you can think of after himself. We stopped off in the little hamlet of Haast for a picnic lunch of chicken salad sandwiches, and then headed along the Haast river to Thunder Creek Falls, the Gates of Haast, and Fantail Falls. Beautiful country! Lots of mountains and glaciers, rolling hills, and amazing waterfalls, and rivers so clear that we could see the fish swimming in them and the rocks on the streambeds at the bottom.
And then we came onto the glacial lakes, Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. Wow! The blues were so blue that they almost look fake. It was also super windy, so we only got out of the car a few times and it was a challenge to keep the camera steady. We dropped down past these lakes and ended up in Wanaka. Wanaka is gorgeous! It’s right on the lake with a view of Mt. Aspiring across the lake. The scenery reminded us a bit of places we’ve been in Scotland.
We pulled into our holiday park and chilled out for the rest of the afternoon. We’ve now cooked up dinner and are chilling with some movies and some hot tea. It’s been raining here off and on all afternoon and evening. Depending on what the weather looks like tomorrow we’ll either do a bit of hiking or hang around in town.