After a day of exploring Dunedin, Lee & I picked up a rental car and headed to Wanaka en route to the west coast & the Tasman Sea. Our first (albeit brief) visit to Wanaka with the kids had been cool & cloudy, so we were delighted to find that summer had returned to this beautiful small lakeside community. We were also happy to reconnect with Abby and her friend, Hope, who had just finished a challenging tramp over the Gillespie Pass and were grateful for a warm bed & home cooking at our B&B (them cooking for us – what could be better!).
We made the most of our day there with a short hike up to Diamond Lake and an amazing vista of Lake Wanaka, complete with some drama as a helicopter circled in to rescue an injured hiker (Lee seems to attract these things!).
We headed out the next day to make the harrowing drive through the mountains and over the Haast Pass to the west coast (stealing Abby for a few days as she wanted to see the glaciers) and were rewarded with some amazing views, including views of Mt. Cook that appear shortly after leaving Wanaka. Along the way we also passed Lake Hawea (first photo on left, below) where we’re told Reese Witherspoon & Oprah Winfrey are currently filming the Disney movie, A Wrinkle in Time (one of my childhood favorites) – though we somehow managed to miss seeing them in person (they must have lost my cell…!).
We continued up the west coast to the tiny town of Fox Glacier and enjoyed more spectacular views of Mt Cook & Mt Tasman from Lake Matheson before settling in for the night to get ready for some glacier adventures!