From Wanaka to Aspiring
January 1, 1970
by Karen Rebecca Healey
We started our trip in our comfortable room at Lake View Motel enjoying the beautiful sunrise over Lake Wanaka. New Zealand is such a beautiful place to enjoy the sounds of nature. The peaceful birdsong, as we sipped away at our coffee and toast whilst the sun rose slowly above the mountains. The skies were a stunning orange, red and purple. It was amazingly stunning. We were really looking forward to walking up the hill after doing a few things about Wanaka town. There is so much to do in Wanaka and here are the top 5 things that everyone should experience when you are in Wanaka.
Enjoy Lake Wanaka
We got our morning coffee and muffin and sat by the lake and enjoyed the tranquillity of the lake. My partner took a dive in the lake as he usually swims every morning. The temperature of the water was about 18 degrees. Temperatures in the lake can vary between eight to 20 degrees depending on the season. If you’re kitted with the right wetsuit, you’ll be fresh and ready for the great day ahead.
Our friends hired a jet ski and revved it around the lake to enjoy the many waterfalls it had. Lake Wanaka is the 4th largest lake in New Zealand with an altitude of 277m and has many small waterfalls and canyons.
We then took a hike to the top of the hill alongside the canyons to have a birds-eye view of the lake. It’s was an amazing view I’ll do all over again. The beautiful smell of fresh morning dew, with wet grass and fresh water – everything was just so fresh. We just sat there for a good hour watching the sunrise and letting the sun go by. We are so lucky to be New Zealanders.
Visit Wastebusters Wanaka.
Something a little different to do for the recycling junkies. Wastebusters Wanaka is a not-for-profit organization that recycles junk to usable items. They have great second-hand clothes (sometimes even with the tags on), household items and even souvenirs to take home. It’s much cheaper to buy souvenirs here than to buy them from the expensive tourist shops. Shopping at Wastebusters is a great way to save some bucks if you are thinking about taking some Kiwiana home.
Wastebusters Wanaka is located at Corner Riverbank and Balantyne Road, Wanaka.
A Wine Break at Pembrook Wines
Enjoy Wanaka’s favourite Wine and Craft Beer Hangout. Offering handpicked wines from Central Otago and selected Australian Wines as well as other distinguished wines from other parts of the world. We stopped at Pembrook Wines for a mid-morning wine and cheese platter. Not only do they offer wines, but they also offer craft beer, snacks and nibbles. We took in the views whilst enjoying the wine, cheese and impeccable service.
We chose Pembrook Wines as a stopover as it is perfect for a group of people who have diverse drinking tastes. There are wines from all over the world as well as various types of craft beer to suit the fussy palates. Their prices are reasonable as well.
Don’t miss out on Puzzling World
This was the most fun part of our trip – Puzzling World. Puzzling World is not just for the young. For forty-five years they have been messing with the minds of people. Even their public toilets are quirky. You can’t miss The Great Maze for just $18.00. It was just full of laughter and rolling to the floor. The illusion rooms are amazing and weird and leave you coming out feeling extremely bizarre. Definitely not to be missed! Definitely the most fun part of the trip.
Walk to Rob Roy Glacier at Mt Aspiring
Our next destination was to head towards Mount Aspiring National Park. I had been looking forward to walking the Rob Roy Glacier Track for a while now. We had decided to carry tents and camp there that night next to the river as my partner and I had done it several times. I love the sounds of the roaring river and I couldn’t wait to be camping next to the river. Not only is it refreshing, it is extremely romantic too.
The walk up to Rob Roy’s second lookout is an hour and a half’s walk. It wasn’t the easiest walk but neither was it too hard a challenge. There were steep inclines and steep declines and there were stairs replacing washed out areas.
It took us about 45 minutes to reach the first lookout and the view was amazing. It was an oasis. As we walked further in, the sounds of the roaring river became deeper and deeper. The walk was getting harder with my backpack becoming starting to feel heavier but I was determined to carry on.
Our camping spot was just a couple of minutes below the second lookout, on a flat right next to the river (as per the picture below)
I have been here four times to date and have never gotten tired of the beauty and closeness to nature at this spot.
As you sleep at night, you hear the falling avalanches rumbling like thunder. It’s a perfect place if you want to get away from the outside world with no internet or cellphone coverage.
From Rob Roy Glacier, you can take other day walks to multiple other destinations such as The Aspiring Hut, or go further past the Second Lookout and more.
Whilst we stayed overnight at Rob Roy Glacier, it could have been done as a day walk. We chose to stay over as we enjoy camping and taking in the sunset and the experience of it all.
There are many other things that you can do along the way from Wanaka to Aspiring including visiting the:
- National Transport and Toy Museum which holds the largest collection of toys in the Southern Hemisphere.
- Warbirds & Wheels which houses classic cars, warbirds and wearable creations.
- Patagonia Chocolates and Black Peak Gelato for the best chocolates, ice creams and gelatos
Wanaka has a lot of offer tourists. For more information visit www.lakewanaka.co.nz