New Zealand 2016 – Wanaka

Wanaka is in a very good spot by Southern Alps in an intersection of roads from Mt. Cook to Queenstown, to Te Anau, and to Glaciers. And itself it is a wonderful destination. It lies by a big ice age Lake Wanaka and very close to another big lake Waimeia, surrounded by mountains, and if you drive juts couple kilometers form it by the lake-  you will see Mt. Aspiring with its glaciers surrounding its peak! but only on a sunny day, which is not every day! So we drove to that directions and managed to see Mt. Aspiring in the morning, then clouds embraced it and that was it, we never saw it again:DSCN6449 DSCN6445We stayed in a cabin in Wanaka Kiwi Holiday Park and Motels  -and it was wonderful! We were surrounded by vans, which is a very popular way of travelling here, there was a very big kitchen, even two of them. there was a very clean heated bathroom with music all day and night long, there was a sauna and hot tubs and a little herb garden by the kitchen saying: eat us! The “van travelers” are quiet, so we had a good time! there were even two chairs and kind of a table in the cabin for us to work on PC’s. DSCN6593Some of the vans here look like this:DSCN6431The day we had in Wanaka was unusually good – it was mostly sunny and for joy for joy – no wind! Just fantastic for climbing a mountain. Which we did. Here on the South island unlike the North island people who work at the reception desks are not so formal (that is my experience, others may have experienced differently) and they give advice how to best use your time. So we drove to Diamond lakes trail. the drive was short – only 17km, which was appreciated :-), and the trail was fantastic! To me it was the best rail we did here. But it was a lot of climbing up and up and up, comparable to Angels Landing or Observation Point trails in Zion Park.  And some parts of the trail we as much scary as the above mentioned trails :-). Scary for me and some other Chinese ladies as we met on the trail. But there is a loop on the top – you can climb the top part of the mountain either from the west or from the east  -the East one is like Angel’s Landing train  – goes on a very narrow ledge on a steep part of the mountain, and the West part goes on a much more wide path up – like to Observation point :-).  The mountain is called Rocky Mountain. You can choose to reach only the Diamond lake (easy walk):DSCN6453 DSCN6463Almost the only single flower we saw on the trail :DSCN6464 DSCN6466You can choose to climb higher on comfortable stairs and path to a Wanaka lake viewpoint and sit there for a while:
DSCN6467DSCN6473This girl with blue hair is from Us, but she lives in Australia for 6 years because there the wages a so much higher! That is all we managed to exchange opn a short stop :-):DSCN6484 DSCN6486Those plants are form a family of ferns. but very harsh and sharp, specific to this trail, so to be honest and precise, I have to share them with you:DSCN6506 DSCN6508And ten we climbed the Rocky mountain from the West and went down from the East. The tiny dots on the right side high up on the slope – are people:DSCN6510There were some three sheep grazing under the rocks:DSCN6517 DSCN6520Then two sheep sleeping under another rock:DSCN6524One more view of Mt. Aspiring, but already in the clouds:DSCN6525A girl meditating on the peak :DSCN6529And here we reached the peak, at last, in 2.5 hours! :DSCN6533DSCN6543 DSCN6549 DSCN6553 DSCN6555There is a beautiful river mouth seen form above, with a little bridge that we will go later to see from close by:DSCN6561DSCN6589And after spending half hour on the top and enjoying it a lot! (who wouldn’t   -there was no wind, no biting flies, no fierce sunshine, just perfect air), we went down in 1 hour. Here we often see such black tree trunks, they look like burned, but in reality they are being eaten by fungus, a very disgusting and bad one: DSCN6575This is a healthy tree, I can’t stop admiring how big they grow here:DSCN6579Evidently farmers raise deer in their pastures:DSCN6583And they have really neat and bright tractors, as all of New Zealand-  neat, modern and colorful:DSCN6591 Bye bye Wanaka, going towards Glaciers, diving into the clouds and rain:DSCN6594Lake Waimeia:DSCN6598 DSCN6603Very interesting tops of the mountains – like saw teeth! 🙂DSCN6605From this spot we could have seen Mt. Aspiring, but…DSCN6607