Wanaka – Road Treasure
After Ice walking adventure, we quickly returned to our mobile home of that lovely Coralla. On our to Wanaka, we had plenty of lookouts and the very first one that easily can be missed and should be missed is Fox Glacier lookout. We had to drive in single lane mud road for more than 7~8 Kms just to find a bush and a view where Fox Glacier looks at the size of a match box. Happily satisfied with the mud road adventure (with giving ways to passers-by), I pushed a bit hard on to hit the highway again.
Roads we had to pass through were Hast highway, Hast Pass highway, Hast pass-makarora road , Lake Hawewa, Albert town, again Lake Hawewa and just before Wanaka, Luggate highway.
What to say about this entire stretch? All I wish is, to drive this road just once again on a beautiful evening. If given a chance, I will do this every other day, without complaining. Is it intentionally built that beautiful or the best route is still my question. Until Hast highway, this is just picturesque roads I should say which we may see somewhere else too. Obviously those small single-lane bridges will create enough interest to keep you awake. Those whoever ride these roads will be obviously proud enough as they would feel they own the road by all means. I felt that too which made me to drive at neat speeds even at the curves (obviously, I was very careful).
River Hast was dry but the magnificence wasn’t. It was well spread and had little streams even during summer which ran brisk and beautiful with the most serene water it could carry. Here and there, we were able to see small falls and the noises of river rumbling over rocks. We passed through Lake Paringa and stopped for a quick look. Happily we can live at least a week before one wants to leave from there.
As part of many lookouts, first caught was Arnotts point. Later Knight’s point. This one offers nice views of a nearby Jackson beach, Cascade view point (through walking route). From here Monro Beach, Ship creek, Hapuka Estuary, Lake Ellery and Smoothwater bay are western walking routes. After passing Hast a little, the roaring billy water falls, pleasant flat, Thunder creek falls, fantail falls, davis flat, Cameron creek, Cameron flat, blue pools, makarora bush nature walk would pass our way which should not be missed. We missed most of them considering a hard target of reaching Wanaka before sunset.
Then starts the Hawea saga. This will run with you until you reach Wanaka and the two hour of drive is pure pleasure by all means. The day was moist with drizzling and the weather was so moody. It Sky painted entire vicinity with ash and ash related colors. It’s the drive which looked like driving straight thorough into the big lake, driving on the snaky roads which lead to sudden hills and lows. At times, we touched down the water level and in minutes, we were at the one of the peak which offered clean views of the entire stretch. Road is neat and nicely fenced. I had my belief with the tyres of the corolla and went on. We happily stopped often to enjoy the lovely weather and the eerie beauty of that lake. It was as if teased, was dancing happily with the tough wind. At one point, it felt like the end of the lake and we passed a narrow ending. In less than 5 Kms Lake hawea continued to treat our eyes from the left and ran till Wanaka. She fought with the sleep and gave that up after seeing such beautiful lakeses. We happily munched some chocolates and entered the most beautiful lake town Wanaka. It was right after Hawea but that Wanaka is just the start which has queenstown at the next end. But that’s for tmw.
We made it to Wanaka just before the sunset. We later found ourselves ordering at the Thai restaurant thinking they may taste good. You know the rest.