New Zealand

Day #2: Wanaka

Journal #2: Wanaka
Date: 3/3/2016
Cover Photo: Visions
Sheep Spotted: ~500

There are a lot of sheep in New Zealand- in fact the last estimate I saw had the number pegged at over 30 million sheep (which was actually down from a record high of 70 million sheep in the 1970s). Take into account that there are only 4.5 million people living here and that’s a ratio of more than 6 sheep to one person.

I mention this random and fun fact because today over the course of the 50 or so minute drive to Wanaka I saw at least 500 sheep- more sheep than I think I’ve seen in my entire life. Anyways- I digress…

Today I went to Wanaka and from there, Mt. Aspiring National Park. Wanaka is on the opposite side of the Remarkables mountain range from Queenstown, so you have to drive on one of those Lake Tahoe-esque, barely two-lane roads that curves it’s way up and over the mountains.

The cool thing about it is that the NZ government is aware that people like to take pictures on these roads, so about every 10 minutes or so you can stop at a rest stop (basically a dirt patch on the side of the road) and take photos. I did this about 12 times, turning a 50-minute drive into a 2 hour drive, but it was worth it!

Wanaka is a small town situated on a lake (appropriately named “Lake Wanaka”) and is right nearby the Mt. Aspiring National Park, which is famous for the Rob Roy Glacier hike. The problem I discovered about 20 minutes into driving through the park is that the 30 km road that takes you to Rob Roy is entirely unpaved and frequently passes through “fords”-i.e. rivers of water overflowing onto the road.

About 25km and 6 ford crossings in, my poor Toyota Carolla nearly got stuck in a very large ford. At this point, I decided to turn back- because if even a drop of rain hit that ford, I could have potentially been stuck in the park for a very long time.

Anyways, on the way back out of the park, I found a 15km trail to something called “Rocky Mountain.” From the top of Rocky Mountain, you can see almost the entire park and Lake Wanaka. I hiked this trail today and that’s where the photo came from! I ended up shooting close to 800 photos today, so there will be a lot of published photos from this round!

Back in Queenstown tonight- weather pending I will be going to Glenorchy in the morning!


Photo: Vision of a Good Time
Location: The Top of Rocky Mountain, Wanaka, Overlooking Lake Wanaka


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Categories: New Zealand, Queenstown