New Zealand #5 - Driving to the West Coast - Wanaka and Haast, South Island

in #travel4 years ago (edited)

My last post covered our morning drive from Queenstown to the well-preserved Gold Rush village of Arrowtown, then over the Crown Range, with its stunning views. Now we are continuing on through the afternoon to our overnight stop at Haast, on the Tasman Sea.

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The bottom end of Lake Wanaka.

On the way off the Crown Range we pass through Cardrona, a ski destination that looks interesting but in April is absolutely devoid of snow. In Wanaka, another lovely lakeside town, we fuel up, because looking at the map there doesn't appear to be a lot of inhabited spots along our route through the Southern Alps, and we don't want to repeat our 'real Aussie Outback Adventure' (see https://steemit.com/travel/@brightongreg/australia-18-airlie-beach-a-a-few-overnight-stops-on-the-way-north-queensland ...)!

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Car rental and petrol is more expensive than in Australia, and much more expensive than in Canada, but we are on holiday so does it really matter? It does actually, but our driving distances in New Zealand are relatively short, and our budget for the 90 day roadtrip is holding up OK with less than a month left to go, due mostly to staying in caravan parks and self-catering most of our meals.

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There are a few restaurants in Wanaka. Trout, on the road across from the beach, looks good for a quick lunch, a falafel burger with halloumi for me, and guess what, another salad for brightonbonnie, candied walnut, pear and parmesan - but with a totally unnecessary but very good side of curly fries.

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Heading to Haast Pass on Highway 6. Though it's sunny there's intermittent light drizzle.

After lunch we also stock up with groceries, again not knowing what we will find along the way the next few days, and then head out to Highway 6 to start our journey through several valleys which traverse the Southern Alps.

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We start with an absolutely stunning drive along Lake Hawea, then come back across The Neck to the top end of Lake Wanaka before going up one valley about halfway to our destination, then across the slightly elevated Haast Pass to descend in the Haast River valley westwards almost to the Tasman Sea.

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Cloud rings the mountain tops on this side, and we get intermittent rain, never heavy, the 'roughish weather across the ditch' forecast on morning TV not really materializing. At one point we see very high peaks, probably the eastern side of the mountains that feed the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, with snow on them.

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We arrive in Haast around 4. The coastal plain is very flat and there's no view out to the sea as we are a few kilometers inland. The Top10 caravan park has a different layout compared to any we’ve seen in Australia, and we get a nice, large room on the second floor in a wing attached to the reception and lounge. There is a separate one-story building across the parking lot, and since it's the only lodging we see in the area it's pretty busy, including some folks traveling together with what we in North America call 'hot rods' - I never did find out if they use the same term in New Zealand!

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Haast is an interesting area: a World Heritage site, it had no road access until 1965, still has no cell access for 2 hours in each direction, but does have one ATM - the nearest bank is in Wanaka, where we've come from, 145 kilometers away! Tomorrow morning, before we leave, we'll explore a bit of the surrounding area, probably the most remote spot on our entire trip - but unfortunately won't have any photos to show for it, as by then it will be raining quite heavily!

PS - if you've enjoyed this post please check out my first 4 New Zealand posts, the previous 19 posts in my Australia series, and the 3 before that as we started our 90 day roadtrip in Tahiti!

And please join us in my next post as we head north-east along the west coast to Fox Glacier!

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!steemitworldmap -43.889880 lat 169.046589 long Haast South Island New Zealand d3scr

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Beautiful images of nature.....the high hills and the blue sky is just wonderful...

Thanks for feedback.

Simply gorgeous! Is there some historical significance to Haast that makes it a World Heritage site?

I was waiting for someone to ask! This is what the official NZ-Haast website says: 'The Haast region is a lost world that is so spectacular and remote UNESCO awarded it the status of being a "World Heritage" area.' So not historical but geographic.

Hope you are going to have a great day.

Good morning! Might be my imagination but I seem to be getting the notification a lot quicker now - not quite instantaneous but pretty fast after I post.

So many places I want to visit! And New Zealand is definetely one of it! Great pictures, followed you!

Thanks for feedback. Following you. We lived in Germany in the 1980s, visited Neuschwanstein and other places on our holidays!

oh that's awesome! Maybe you have some pictures from back then? Would love to see them here :)

I do have lots of pics, but they are 35mm slides in boxes in the basement, and even though I'm retired with time on my hands I've never got around to converting them to digital. Maybe one day, after I've posted all my more recent travels...

Thanks for feedback! Glad you like it.

This reminds me so much of my own trip to NZ earlier this year! Hope you're having the best time! If you stop by Mt Cook make sure to set one hour aside to stop at Clay Cliffs in Omarama!

I started following you a while ago but I can't remember why lol! Just revisited some of your posts, hadn't noticed before you spent some time in the Canadian Rockies. We have friends and family in Calgary so know the area well. Didn't get to Mt Cook - there's just so much to see and do in NZ! I figure I've got another 15 or so posts to go of our NZ trip, hope you can continue with me! Have a great day.

Amazing that you visited Wanaka as my sis has an old friend living there! My sis toyed with the idea of visiting her but never did much about it! Love the lake and mountain scenes... :)

Our paths seem to keep crossing! Figured out pix yet?

I've attempted a guess... lol, awaiting his reply... But I think I missed it! :(

Congratz, your post has been read, approved and resteemed by a human!
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Check The Daily spotlights of 7 October 2017! You missed one? ----> #dailyspotlights

I hope to visit that place someday. Really nice photos.

Thanks for feedback, glad you are enjoying my posts.

Thanks for feedback!

That is so awesome. I am very grateful for that! Love it.

Glad you like it - thanks for the resteem!

Cracking post mate! New Zealand is an incredible place, so many amazing views! A road trip would take me a very long time there as i'd be stopping every 5 minutes to take pictures! Thanks for sharing :)

Appreciate the feedback!

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