George and Rosemary in Australia and New Zealand travel blog

Knight's Point

Haast River

Thunder Creek Falls

Lunch by Lake Wanaka

Lake Hawea

Lake Wanaka

At the Sports Chalet

We set off along the coast into even emptier countryside with hardly a building. At Bruce Bay the road ran alongside the beach so we stopped to have a short walk. The road climbed up to high viewpoint at Knight's Point where we could look along the cliffs to a rocky point and a beach where seals were resting. Unfortunately the sandflies attacked immediately so we were glad to get away.

At Haast the road turned inland towards the mountains going up the Haast Valley. The river spread itself over a wide glacial valley with a view of snowy mountains beyond. The road followed the river with a few stopping places where waterfalls came down close to the road. The best of these was Thunder Creek.

At the top of the Haast Pass the vegetation changed suddenly. On the other side the thick greenery was replaced with sparse growth. On the other side of the mountains we were in near-desert. At the top end of Lake Wanaka we had a picnic lunch on the banks with a mountain view across the water. Farther on we passed Lake Hawea, a lake enlarged by a dam to cover a huge area. Again there was panoramic view across to mountains.

Not far beyond Lake Hawea we came to the town of Wanaka at the bottom end of Lake Wanaka. It is a small but smart town with expensive gift and clothes shops as it is the centre of the skiing area. Our accommodation was to be at the Sports Chalet located in aresidential area. We had the address but could not immediately see the building. It turned out that the main house was down a side track and our chalet was a building in the garden. The owners were a German couple, Alex and Christine, who made us most welcome providing us with home-made cakes. He is a physio who works with the US and Canadian ski teams. The chalet was spacious and comfortable.

By this time it was afternoon and the temperature was over 30 degrees so had restful time. George and Rosemary went for a gentle walk along the lakeshore. Later on we had a swim in the Lake.

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