A Beautiful Journey to Wanaka

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June 13th 2018
Published: July 8th 2018
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Our night in Haast took us to another freedom spot, a little less glamorous than those of late; a gravel car park outside of a row of local shops. A peaceful spot that gave a good nights sleep - once dark falls and the blinds are shut, as long as it's quiet, you could be anywhere.

Haast Pass is the lowest of all mountain passes in NZ yet is actually home to some of the most stunning mountain vistas as it heads into Mount Aspiring NP. With plenty a view point along the route, most with a 30-60 minute walk, the drive makes for a gentle and spectacular day. The photos speak for themselves. With clouds coming in around lunchtime hiding the peaks, and having already completed our 'must-do's' for the day, we chose to push on towards our destination for the evening, Makarora. As is often the case here, the early evening saw the clouds start to lift again, so after a short drive some quite special views over Lake Wanaka were to be had. The skies continued to clear bringing an even more beautiful and colourful sunset than we had experienced the night before.

Our night here put us an hour from Wanaka, a place we have been desperate to revisit and, as anticipated, nothing disappointed one bit. A little busier and larger perhaps than before, the towering snow caps surrounding both the village and lake were every bit as impressive as our memories lead us to believe.

Our initial stop here this time was a functional one, as the inevitable washing, sorting and organising took hold once more. The most important of all of these was season lift passes for the local skifield, Treble Cone. Prior research being slightly at a tangent, our pre-purchased passes didn't include this area - a comparatively expensive oversight. So with some chats and fun with some lovely people in the Treble Cone offices we were soon equipped with bus options, free parking and an idea of just how far up the mountain Hermie might make in the ever differing conditions.

After our first night on a campsite to facilitate the necessities, the end of our second day here took us to an advertised yet not signed, and therefore not recognised, freedom spot very close to the base of Cardrona mountain ready for our first ski day. As laid back as these Kiwi folks are, if they feel you're camping in an non-permitted location they honk you as the pass - this night therefore became quite noisy! However, nothing was about to spoil the opportunity of being on the ski hill for it's opening day...

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