After a few days exploring Mount Cook National Park, we drove for around two hours to Wanaka. New Zealand is such a great place for a road trip – the roads themselves are really easy and fun to drive and the scenery is insane. On our way down to Wanaka, we stopped of at Lindis Pass look out – I mean, hows this for rolling hills?
We fell in love with Wanaka straight away… it was the one place in New Zealand where we found ourselves saying “we want to live here“. The crystal clear lake is surrounded by mountains and national parks – what’s not to like? With its gentle waves, Lake Wanaka is perfect for swimming in – although, when I went for a little paddle (inspired by all of the swimmers) it was so cold that I immediately got cramp in both feet and had to hobble out! I don’t understand how all those people were swimming in it- some were just standing up to their waist playing catch. I salute them all. But even if you don’t fancy taking a dip, the lake shore is such a great place to spend an afternoon with a good book. The lake is also home to ‘That Wanaka Tree’, which was beautiful at sunset (although that memory will forever be tainted by my realisation that my memory card had been corrupted and I had lost all of my photos from Australia… sad face). The town has such a friendly vibe, and everyone just seemed happy. If you ever visit, be sure to sample both the gelato and thickshakes from Black Peak gelato, the mezze plates from the Big Fig, and the pies from the doughbin.
On our second day in Wanaka, we hiked Roys Peak. Guides say the 16km track takes 3 hours each way, but we made it up in 2 hours and down in 90 minutes. Although the hike was quicker than we thought, it was every bit as tough! It’s a relentless uphill climb, that is pretty hard on the thighs on the way up and knees on the way down. Even though I’ve done much harder and longer hikes (I’m lookin’ at YOU, Trolltunga), this one was a real struggle because there are just no flat parts! The trail also offers no shelter, against wind rain or sun! We both ended up with slight sunburn. Even though it was tough, the view from the top was definitely worth it. Not a bad place to stop for a spot of lunch :p
Watch the video diary of our New Zealand Road Trip here:
The New Zealand Blog Series (unlinked posts are coming soon!):