Sunday, February 17, 2013

New Zealand - Haast Pass (Day 12)

Day 12 ended up being a longer day than we had planned, because we wanted to make sure to see Lake Matheson before we continued on. We woke up and it was still really cloudy, so we weren't sure if there were going to be any reflections on the lake (and this the main reason people go here). We decided to hope for the best, and take the walk around the lake. It's only about a 5 minute drive from town, so silly not to make it work.

I would say (based on pictures I've seen online) the reflections we saw were maybe were a 5 out of 10, 10 being the most incredible reflections you ever saw with clear mirror images of the mountains and sky above. The clouds were breaking away while we were there so it made for some interesting reflections of the sky, even if we didn't get to see all the mountains reflected. The walk is definitely worth doing, and there are several spots to stop and appreciate the view.

After our walk, we continued to head south out of Fox Glacier and towards Haast Pass. We stopped to take in the coastal views and have some lunch at Knight's Point Lookout. The lookout provides gorgeous views of the rugged coast and I could almost feel that there was nothing between me and Antarctica (the freezing winds may have helped with this feeling). We took our time watching some stupid American family (sorry but it's true and hard to believe a family from another country would have made as much of a scene) feed white bread to a very aggressive flock of seagulls. It was particularly amusing to watch other tourists' reactions to this absurd scene. Honestly, they were lucky to leave with all their eyes intact, because these seagulls were nasty!

Photo taken from the car. The whole country is this gorgeous!

 Knight's Point Lookout
We continued on our way along Haast Pass, the lowest pass that crosses through the Southern Alps, and made several short stops along the way. We stopped and took short walks to Roaring Billy Falls, Thunder Creek Falls, and the Blue Pools. All three are worth the stop, and good opportunities to stretch the legs. We took some time at Roaring Billy Falls to skip stones (that were perfectly rounded and smoothed because they were part of the riverbed).  

 Haast River 

 Allyson skipping stones at Roaring Billy Falls

Thunder Creek Falls

 Blue Pools

Lake Wanaka

By the Blue Pools, it was getting to be late afternoon and we were getting tired. We were tired of driving but pushed forward to Wanaka. The views of both Lakes Wanaka and Hawea along this road are ridiculous! It was hard not to stop at every turnout for another picture, but we were both hungry and ready to get out of the car. 

We finally made it to Lake Outlet Holiday Park. I highly recommend this campground! It's a little crowded (or was during spring/summer), but totally worth the view of the lake and the wonderful facilities. We enjoyed (well I, at least, enjoyed...Ally tolerated) a dip in the freezing cold Lake Wanaka, after a nice dinner watching the sun make it's way closer to the horizon. Another great day was about to end. 

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