New Zealand: Wanaka

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After a long day of driving through the Haast Pass, we finally ended up at the lake-side town of Wanaka.  Words simply cannot describe this beautiful and idyllic setting, but I will try.  Wanaka is located on the edge an alpine lake bearing the same name, and is surrounded by the spectacular Southern Alps. It is considered to be one of the hidden gems of New Zealand since it is not as well known as Queenstown.  With a population of less than 10,000, Wanaka feels noticeably less touristy than its sister city.  Here, you can walk down to the lakeshore on a sunny day and not be overwhelmed by visitors. Continue reading

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New Zealand: Haast Pass

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Driving across New Zealand, there is no shortage of beautiful scenery and spectacular landscapes, so when I read that the famous Haast Pass is THE most scenic highway in the country I had my doubts – but it didn’t take long for me to completely change my mind. This 140 km section of State Highway 6 starts at the Tasman Sea and winds its way along rugged coastline, skirting lush rainforests, passing through steep mountain ranges, crossing tumbling rivers and finally ending at Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, two of New Zealand’s biggest mountain lakes.  The road follows an ancient trail used by the Maori people. Continue reading