It’s time to continue our road trip at New Zealand’s South Island. Let’s go!
Read my previous posts about New Zealand:
DAY 11 FOX GLACIER
From Fox Glacier (point J) to Wanaka (point B): 265 km, driving time about 3 hours.
This is going to be an exciting day. I booked a helicopter ride to see the awesome Fox Glacier from above with a short landing in to the Alps. The weather was perfect! Fox Glacier is a part of the Southern Alps and it’s very accessible even by walking. You can’t hike directly to the Fox Glacier without a guide because of the safety reasons, but it’s possible to experience the glacier for free. The scenic flight might be costly, but it’s a once in a lifetime experience so just do it. The view was outstanding and it was fun to land with a helicopter in to the Alps to get a better view of the snowcapped mountains.
After the flight, I took a short walk to Lake Matheson. It’s only about 20 minute walking trip to the Jetty viewpoint from the car park. On a calm day, it’s possible to see the Mount Cook’s reflection on this lake, but I wasn’t that lucky. It was just a little too windy to see a perfect reflection. The area was peaceful, so I was glad to check it out anyway. There is a great Matheson cafe nearby which serves breakfast and lunch.
After lunch it was time to drive to Wanaka. Make sure that you have plenty of time to drive and to make several stops on the way. This stretch of the road is definitely one of the most scenic ones in the South Island. You can stop at Knights Point Lookout for some coastal views, take a walk to the Blue Pools or see one of the several waterfalls, for example the Thunder Greek Falls. On your way to Wanaka, you will also pass many beautiful lakes. Lake Hawea must be the one of the most picturesque lakes in this area.
Click pictures below!
DAY 12-13 WANAKA
I love Wanaka! In my experience this town is one of the coolest towns in whole New Zealand. I was so glad that I was going to spend two days in here. It was time to relax and enjoy that I didn’t have to pack my belongings every day. Until now, I had changed the scenery every night on my road trip, so it was nice to stay in one place for a while. Wanaka has a laid back vibe, great restaurants and super friendly locals. Also this town has a lot less tourists than Queenstown which is a huge plus.
My favourite place in Wanaka is the Rippon Winery. I have never been to a winery before so I thought that it would be nice to go for a wine tasting. You don’t have to make a reservation, just show up and the staff will gladly tell you all about the wines they produce and you can taste their wine for free. I learned that New Zealand produces different varieties of wine, but mainly Pinot noir. I’m no wine expert, but everything I tasted was great. I even bought a bottle. Rippon Winery is situated on a beautiful place with a view to Roys Bay which is surrounded by mountains. This is a must see place when you are in Wanaka.
I had plans to visit the Milford Sounds from Wanaka, but the weather was not on my side. It wasn’t a problem, because there was so much to do in Wanaka. If you like to hike, try the easy Mount Iron track (1,5 hours return trip) or a more tough one, the Roys Peak Track which takes about 5 hours. I also recommend to checking out the Wanaka tree, which might be the most photographed tree in New Zealand.
Click pictures below!
DAY 14 QUEENSTOWN
From Wanaka (point B) to Gore (point D): 232 km, driving time 3 hours
Queenstown is known to be the adventure capital of New Zealand, so it’s packed with tourists. For some reason, I didn’t really like this town. Maybe it was because of the cold weather and the struggle to find a parking spot. It felt like a stressful place with too many people. Or maybe I was there in the wrong time. Before my New Zealand trip I couldn’t decide if Wanaka would be good base for my travel over Queenstown and looking back at my experience, I knew that I made the right decision. Okay, Queenstown had some positive things too. Like the best burgers in the whole country. I’m talking about Fergburger. Try the sweet lamby burger with wild fjordland deer and plum chutney, it’s amazing. Usually there’s a long line to make your order, but it’s totally worth it. I would also recommend visiting the Queenstown Gardens.
Beautiful road to Queenstown
Best burgers in town!
Nice view to Lake Wakatipu
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