" New Zealand Holiday ... 8 . . . Lake Wanaka "

Date & Time: Monday 7th & Tuesday 8th of November 2011

Locations : Fox Glacier via Haast on the coast and then inland to Lake Wanaka.

Places visited : Bruce Bay, the Haast River Valley, Wanaka and the Matukituki River Trip.

Accommodation : Aspiring Lofts, Wanaka

With : Ann and myself, accompanied by Brent, James, Reina and a small group on the boat trip.

Weather : Beautiful blue skies all the way.


" New Zealand - 8 - Wanaka " at EveryTrail

[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]


The last two days we've been hosted by Raelene at Reflection Lodge, Fox Glacier.

Today it was time to take our leave and continue on the Hiley World Tour of New Zealand

by journeying south again, down the west coast of South Island . . .

. . . fortified by another fine breakfast . . .

Reflections @ Reflection Lodge

. . . and one last look at the scenic effects

Hold your cursor over the picture to see the famous reflection of Mount Tasman.

We'll leave Raelene behind just as soon as you take the cursor off the photo.  After all there's a long way to go today!

Mount Cook on our final morning.

Hold your cursor over the picture to see our host for the last few days.

We'll leave Raelene behind just as soon as you take the cursor off the photo . . . after all there's a long way to go today!

Just out of town we cross the Fox River and say goodbye to the Westland Tai Poutini National Park.

" The bridge over the River Fox "
It's not often you can get up close to the anchors

Down on the coast at Bruce Bay

where the detritus of river floods and winter storms has been laid bare across the beach.

Knights Point Lookout . . . looking north . . .

Close up of the seals on the beach

. . . and from the same viewpoint looking south west, down the coast and out across the Tasman Sea.

[ Hold your cursor over the picture to study the black dots on the far beach a little closer ]

The River Waita as it enters the sea at the point known in Maori as Tauperikaka

or more recently by the European name of Ship Creek.

The gentle curving sandy beach extends nearly 50km round the coast to Jackson Bay.

We would see just a brief view of it as our road turns inland soon.

Time to enjoy watching the the coastal surf before moving on.

The history of the name "Ship Creek"
Local specialty at Haast River Crossing a short distance ahead

Apparently the sailing vessel 'Schomburg' on her maiden voyage from Liverpool to Melbourne struck a rock and was wrecked off the Australian coast.

All the passengers and crew escaped safely but the ship was a total loss. Later, a large part of the wooden hull of the Schomburg drifted all the way across the Tasman Sea, only to be wrecked a second time on the shores of New Zealand.

While we had a light lunch of Whitebait fritters at Haast, I noticed this poster.

Can't imagine that happening to me !!!

Suitably refreshed with freshly cooked local produce

we turned inland and followed the Haast River back up into the hills.

The bridge at the Gates of Haast . . .

. . . where the Wills River crashes down through the boulders below.
Over the summit and we pass The Fantail Waterfalls along the way.

The mountains around Mount Stewart.

We are now driving down a large, flat inland valley.

Cameron Flat.

We've changed from coastal rain forest to drier inland plain in less than the space of an hour.

The head of Lake Wanaka, looking south.

This is reminiscent of some Scottish valleys but on a much bigger scale.

We drive part way down the lake

and our road swings left through a gap and we are looking at Lake Hawea instead.

The signpost now show our destination ahead

as we pass this area of livestock farming . . . check out the field in the middle.

A close up of a domestic red deer herd.

Venison is one of the commercial farm products that feed into the New Zealand meat trade.

Our destination today is the town of Wanaka at the southern end of the large lake we saw earlier.

Our accommodation, Aspiring Lofts is on the headland opposite.

We're blessed with an amazing view from our rooftop balcony.

The town has developed as a centre for summer water sports and also winter skiing . . .

an all year round holiday destination.

The view down into the garden of the house . . .
. . . and across to Mount Alpha and the vineyards on the other shore

Our host Don.

Unfortunately his wife Lorraine was away down-country for a few days

so we didn't actually meet her, but Don was nevertheless the perfect host and breakfast cook.

As the day was drawing to a close we made our way into town for an evening meal

and caught sight of this amazing lenticular cloud formation in the sky, high above the local hills.

- - - o o o - - -

Next day we had booked a boat ride with Wanaka River Journeys

It advertised jet boating through Mount Aspiring National Park, views of glaciers and the Matukituki Valley scenery,

cultural heritage, a wilderness walk and "Lord of the Rings" film locations . . . all in a four hour river boat journey.

Time to go . . .

We met the jet boat at Glendhu Bay, at the mouth of the main Matukituki River

which has its source high in the Southern Alps.

Brent welcomes us aboard and gives us an introduction to the boat.

When I do this it means we are going to come to a rapid spin-stop very shortly !

Why . . . just because he can . . . in a jet boat !!

All aboard, checked in with base and we are on our way.

"Wind in the hair" as we skim our way up river.

The pride of place for the rugby ball is as a result of their recent World Cup win.

Stunning scenery as we fly up the shallow river.

The jet boat only draws a few inches of water when travelling at speed so we can negotiate the shallowest of river sections.

Ann enjoying the view . . . and the experience.

Occasionally we stop and Brent fills us in on the detail of what we can see.

This is Mount Aspiring , which gives its name to the National Park.

It has permanent snow cover , glaciers and reaches to 3033 meters, nearly 10,000 feet at the summit.

Continuing on up the eastern branch of the Matukituki.

We come to a halt where the grazing land meets the ancient woodland.

On most occasions this is more or less the head of navigation, even for this boat.

James takes the lead this time for a woodland walk.
This is prime birch forest at the upper end of the valley.

Over the last two centuries the valley has been gradually cleared to allow agricultural grazing

but this area still retains its natural woodland cover. He explains how all the valley would have been like this after the ice age.

A tree you can just hug at full stretch is about 100 years old.
The woodland is full of moss and lichens.

Across the cleared meadow land, past some grazing cattle.

Erosion is a problem alongside the fast flowing river.

High snow covered peaks and plenty of freeze / thaw means there is a lot of gravel carried down by the river.

We walk over to a side stream . . .
. . . and a rather nice waterfall.

Back to the boat now when Brent is waiting.

Bright green moss in the woodland again . . .
. . . and back to our boat, tucked in the bend of the river.

Full speed ahead as we start our return journey.

Careful negotiation as we skim past rocks, shingle banks and and other obstructions in the river.

Picking the deepest parts of the rapids.

We haul up on a gravel bank for a longer look at the hills and hear about the film locations.

Wind in the (grey) hair . . .

A bad hair day but an excellent adventure day.

Journey's end ahead . . . the bridge.

(apologies ... picture grabbed as a still from the video ... no time to change cameras !)

A final dramatic spin to end our journey on the Matukituki.

" Kia Ora " . . . greetings and may you be well and have good health.

- - - o o o - - -

Sometimes still pictures cannot tell the whole story of a boat trip . . .

They cannot convey the words or sentiments of our boatman today, his voice, his appreciation of the ancient culture,

his enthusiasm for the mountains and his insights into the "Lord of the Rings" countryside.


Grab a lemonade, sit back, click on the play button and watch our 10 minute video of the highlights of this wonderful four hour excursion.

[ Use the right hand corner arrow controls to view full screen ]

A big thanks to Wanaka River Journeys, to Reina, Brent and James.

- - - o o o - - -

How could we follow such a great morning trip . . . by a gentle walk out along the shores of Lake Wanaka along the Glendhu Bay track.

" You are here "
" I am here as well "

The gravel beach along which we walked . . . just to the headland.

Glendhu bay, where we started this morning is in the distance.

The lovely views made special by the continuing fine weather.

Click here or on the photo above for a wider panorama of the lake.

Lookout Hill (1029m)

A brief stop to enjoy the view part way round Roys Bay.

Oh no . . . 'a fluffy moment' as Ann has flash-backs to a previous home life.

Wanaka has its own vineyards . . . The Rippon Family Winery

At 45 degrees south and an altitude of 300m

it is the most southerly wine growing region . . . with arguably the best views from its fields.

Along the beach below the vineyard . . .

Till we reach a convenient spot to stop and chill out.

- - - o o o - - -

After another fine meal out in town we return to the B&B to enjoy the evening sunset.

The light fades on the Mount Aspiring ranges and " The land South of Rivendell "

The Southern Cross from Wanaka
The moon from our balcony . . .
. . . and the Southern Cross.

[ Hold your cursor over the right hand picture to see the way the stars form the famous southern skies constellation ]

- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Fuji Finepix T300, my Canon G10 or 1100D digital cameras

plus stills from our Sony Handycam video (copies of the full dvd available for sale later in the year !)

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . . "Mo te Tangata mo te Whenua"

" it's about the people ... it's about the place "

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