WANAKA IN WINTERSOUTH ISLAND NEW ZEALAND
Just an hour’s drive from Queenstown! Why wouldn’t you take the journey to Wanaka
We were fortunate enough to visit NZ again in August to attend our friend’s wedding and decided to play tour guide to some other mates who had never visited the South Island. How ironic is that? The Aussies showing the Kiwis around haha! We had a quick day trip planned to take them to Lake Hayes and Wanaka via the Crown Range. Our day started approx. 10am and we needed to be back before night fall to meet with the bride and groom. Could we do it? Of course, we could!!!
First off we headed off the Lake Hayes to see if it was living up to the hype of being the most photographed lake in NZ. So we weren’t disappointed and it lived up to the hype! The reflections of the mountains made for some amazing photographs. As we were on a tight timeline, we took some happy snaps and continued our way. However, if you have plenty of time up your sleeve, there is an 8km walking track around the lake which would only take a little over an hour. A perfect opportunity to take a stroll and settle down for a picturesque lunch beside the lake!
We continued on and headed towards Wanaka via the Crown Range Road, which is the highest road in New Zealand. It reaches a staggering height of 1121m and during winter can be quite the challenge. We were blessed with clear weather, however a week earlier, it was covered in snow and heavy blizzards. It is important to note that if you are driving during the winter months, always be prepared with chains in case they are required. Whilst the drive through the range is shorter than going through Cromwell, it is a longer trip due to the winding roads and in summer, traffic congestion.
Winter in New Zealand's South Island
Have you seen out video from latest trip?
Top 3 Winter Hikes & Walks in Wanaka
Roys Peak is the most famous hikes in Wanaka, in fact pretty famous for the South Island in general. It also has become very popular with Instagram and Facebook posts. Its not an easy hike and we would only recommend it for those who are prepared. Roys Peak weather can change rapidly and is very exposed – in fact it did for us and thankfully we were prepared. If you do this in winter please be careful and check local advice from DOC before attempting this hike.
Expect 5-8 hours return.
Mt Iron Loops Track is the shorted walk taking about 1.5 hours return in total. Its a popular one for the locals and many do it as part of their daily excercise routine.
Diamond Lake is a short drives distance from Wanaka town. Its a steady climb that takes you to an incredible look out over hidden lake. Theres a 45 minute loop track or you can continue on up to Rocky Mountain with an epic 360 degree view over the lake and mounts whicih takes about 3-4 hours.
(pictured with Lora above the Hidden Lake)
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