The drive from Franz Joseph to Wanaka satisfied my desire to be by the water and to see turquoise. If I was given the choice between mountains and beaches I bet you know which one I would choose. Yet on New Zealand’s south island, there was no need to choose because I got the best of both worlds. No matter in what direction we drover, I was brought to out of this world views of mountains, lakes, beaches, and turquoise water.
One of the benefits of traveling with Stray is that they stop at amazing destinations on all of the drive days to break up the distance. Getting off the beaten track to see hidden treasures is always my favorite part! If I hadn’t of done a Stray trip I can’t be certain that I would have been able to find these places on my own. Many of the stops we made we were the only ones there to take in the sights.
Lake Matheson (i.e. reflection lake) for a hike around the lake. I got the best view possible of the Fox Glacier (Weheka) mountains reflecting on the calm still lake. It was the perfect day to stop because from what I’ve heard the lake is rarely perfectly still.
Ship Creek/ Tauparikaka Beach where I walked along the pebble beach watching the waves crash close to shore. As I was running away from the waves and sea foam being pushed up the beach I saw a pod of dolphins playing in the water. As they jumped out of the sea I knew their show was just for me. After being a few days away from the ocean this was the perfect welcome back to the coast. I couldn’t have asked for a better beach stop. With the sand dunes meeting the pebbles on the shore and the mountains in the distance, I fell more in love with the rugged wild west coast.
The turquoise Blue Pools & Young Valley to see the most crystal clear water I’ve ever seen rushing down from the mountains. After a short walk through the bush and across two suspension bridges, I was brought to the Blue Pools. The glacier water is as turquoise as it could be.
At sunset, Lake Hawae Lookout gave me the most impressive view of Lake Hawae, the sister lake of Lake Wanaka. It was only a hint of what was to come knowing that Lake Wanaka would be coming next.