We Deserve A Break travel blog

Two "flat whites" before we head into the mountains

Our drive so far

One lane bridges you have to share with trains!

River out of the mtns toward the sea

Last view of the Tasman Sea

Waterfalls and then some

Into the Southern Alps

View from our room over Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

As close as we got to Mr. Aspiring Glacier


We settled in Wanaka for 2.5 days - 3 nights. Our first full day we hiked to the top of a 250 Meter hill with a 360 degree view of mtns all around. Pretty challenging climb. Next day we went to the National Forest Service Center and scoped out the local hikes. The "Rob Roy Track" - a 4-5 hour return sounded good. We headed up the road into the Mt. Aspiring Park. The road kept going and going -turning into and "unsealed road" = dirt and then became a washboard. They had not told us that the road was suitable for 4 wheel drives. The scenery was gorgeous. A broad flat river valley - steep mtns. on both sides. After about 50 minutes a jagged peak appeared in the distance - snow capped. The road slowed as it became rougher. After 25 miles we arrived at a fiord with signs warning that you might not be able to return if you continued further on the road. We decided not to risk ripping the bottom out of our rental car. We spent some time taking pics of what we think was Mt. Aspiring and its "Avalance Glacier" and the broad glacier fed river - a fabulous blue colour. The whole valley drive was full of sheep, cattle, deer and elk. You can only begin to realize the scale of the valley and the mtns when the animals in the distance are mere dots. We're taking a zillion pics and I know that looking at them will be like looking thru a peephole into this endlessly beautiful panorama. Since it had taken us over an hour to drive the 24 miles we decided to drive back to town and do the walk that follows the lake shore - which is lined with willows and aspens - huge trees. Lovely walk that takes you past Pippon Vineyards and winery. On our way back we stopped for a tasting and bought a couple of bottles. The grape vines were loaded with fruit - harvest was to begin the next day. 16 pickers for 18 - 20 days. All in all a great day.

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