South to Wanaka

It was 5C when we got up this morning and Brian is sure he saw frost. Not sure how there can be so many palm trees in the mountains. Blue skies and white clouds surrounded us as we drove south then east through Haast Pass and south some more to Wanaka. Any stops along the west coast were very brief as we were swarmed by sand flies then we spent time squashing them in the car before they drew our blood. Mostly we were successful.

Making our way to Haast Pass

Making our way to Haast Pass

We were expecting to see more mountain tops when going through Haast Pass, but we were too close to trees to see tops. Someone building the Haast Pass didn’t get the memo about S bends and hairpin turns only and they actually created some of the straightest roads we saw in New Zealand. The S bends started again as we drove the length of Lake Wanaka and part of Lake Hawea.

Fantail waterfalls off Highway 6

Fantail waterfalls off Highway 6

Plenty of waterfalls were bounding down hills and mountains, many of them visible as we drove or a five minute walk from roadside parking.  As we drove along Lake Wanaka, the forested mountains gave way to very high hills brown in late summer, but very beautiful as the sun made cloud shadows on the hills.

Hills west of Lake Wanaka

Hills west of Lake Wanaka

At Wanaka we enjoyed delicious thick creamy soup made with chicken, chorizo, bacon and vegetables served with a long slice of toasted olive bread. Yum.

Wanaka is a lakeside resort town with skiing in winter and many outdoor adventure sports in summer. There is a plethora of boutiques carrying overpriced goods, lots of merino wool clothing.

We walked across the large lakeside cricket pitch where three young fellows were running in attempts to get themselves and their parachute gliders into the air. Mostly they were running. We walked the pathway along the southern shore of the lake where some were swimming while others including me were wearing down jackets. I felt the water and if it were not for the cool air, I know I would enjoy a swim.

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