Saturday, 14 May 2016

Out & About in Wanaka


We're back in Queenstown after our visit to Moke Lake where it rained virtually solid for 5 days and 5 nights, blew a gale for most of the time and was very cold! There were a couple of brief sunny patches when the cloud and mist lifted to reveal a light dusting of snow on the surrounding mountains and then it would close in and the rain would start again. I got caught in the rain at the far end of the lake, I was determined to walk the lake loop before we left. And David got caught in a heavy downpour while packing up and hitching up as we were leaving. And it's still raining today. 

We actually didn't mind the weather though, we were snug and warm in the van; the diesel heaters really earnt their keep and we were able to catch up on a lot of computer work (especially because there was no internet connection to interrupt the work flow). We also collected enough water to fill our tanks and drinking containers 10 times over- it's been a long time since we've not had to cart or top up water from taps or other water sources. And we had the place virtually to ourselves, if you don't count the 13 retired rams that arrived bedraggled and limping mid week! Their female cohorts were loaded onto a stock truck and carted away.

I know some of you will be waiting for the Skippers Road blog but I thought I’d tidy up some loose ends from our visit to Wanaka & Queenstown during April (this was before we returned to Winton). We’re now back here hoping to explore the road to Glenorchy and beyond. If this weather ever clears.

I’m hoping these posts will be mostly pictorial, with some brief descriptions (famous last words?). So here we go- 

Out & About in Wanaka

Glendhu Bay, Lake Wanaka- David returning in the Takacat from a day of fishing….and catching zilch. Lake Wanaka was not a very productive lake for him, but he thoroughly enjoyed the hunt.

The last of a long hot summer at Glendhu Bay; warm days, calm waters, beautiful sunrises, crisp mornings, autumn colours and no snow on Treble Cone which overlooks the camp ground. 

‘Faded Dreams of Summer'

Easter signalled the end of the holidays for a multitude of caravans at Glendhu Bay Holiday Park. They are stored, for their owners, at the far end of the camp. Lined up on the access roads, drapes & blinds drawn, in hibernation for the winter. 

At the height of the summer season there are over 1000 campers holidaying at Glendhu Bay. Some people have been coming to this camp for 40-50 years, there is even a couple that have holidayed here for the last 62 years!

I visited Wanaka’s famous ‘lone willow’ for the third time…

…and captured a combination of the past visits- autumn colours and very wet feet.

The lone willow began its life as a fence post, marking the end one of the many fences that end thigh deep in the water around the lake- this stopped stock from walking around the end and allowed for fluctuations in the lake level. The fence that was here was part of Wanaka Station which is now part of residential Wanaka.

On the left is the Lone Tree in April 2014 (the one above was in April this year) and on the right, June last year. I see the same shag is still in residence too.

Enjoying the sun on Wanaka’s lakefront.

The Gypsy Fair came to town for their last gathering of the season… (click on the photo to enlarge)

They were lined up for a photo shoot just as I passed by which was very convenient of them.

Looking out over Roys Bay from the Cenotaph above the town.

While David went fishing I went hunting for autumn colours and found them right around the lake and along the Clutha River.

Although I did get distracted when I found a patch of wild flowers which included California Poppies and Queen Anne Lace with bees buzzing about.

These are honey bees, the good guys…

If you're unsure (and can pause a moment while jumping about waving your arms) check their legs; wasps (the nasty beggars) have yellow legs (amongst other things).

Autumn at Albert Town camping ground on the banks of the mighty Clutha River, just down from its outlet from Lake Wanaka.

Autumn wouldn’t be complete with out the brilliant reds of the briar rose hips which are everywhere…

… the subtle crimsons and maroons of the red oak trees.

We visited the popular and fascinating Puzzling World on a hot and busy day. And then we got lost in their maze. We actually had to use the quick (get me out of here!) exit. Which in fact was still hard to find. I felt sorry for an older lady who was wandering about looking for the same exit, she was lost too. We couldn’t help her, as even though we could see and talk to her, we didn’t know where to direct her, to get to where we were by the exit. If you have 1-2 hours spare try the maze. It frustrated the hell out of us both; we’re not ones to be contained.

Imagine visiting these loos feeling a little worse for wear.

And that was Wanaka.


  1. Hang about the Lone Willow some more and get the set. Snow and a hoar frost on it, with perhaps the Aurura Borialis. You can do it!

    1. I wish! I doubt a hoar frost would ever make it to Wanaka, maybe ice around its base though. :)

  2. We just had our third visit to the lone tree too. Not aware of it during our first two visits to Wanaka. Suddenly one day we came across many pictures of it on the internet. We asked ourselves where is this tree and how could we miss it. Wonder when it stepped into the limelight.
    Now whenever I see this tree I remember the story our Wanaka friend told us: Once her son and grandchildren came back for holiday (could be about the same time when you took the 2014 photo). They took a walk by the lake. The water level of the lake dropped so much until people could easily walk over to the tree. Naturally enough the kids started climbing up the poor lone tree and the first thought crossing her mind was "Oh dear, my grandchildren are going to break the branches of the most famous lone tree in the world!"
    Though we have been to Wanaka so many times, we have yet pay a visit to the Puzzling World. We wanted to keep it for a rainy day. Lucky us!
    This time we discovered a nice place which our Wanaka friend hasn't been to (!) - Wanaka Lavender Farm. Though in April almost all the lavenders were gone, the landscape was still beautiful and there's the lavender ice-cream to die for!

    1. I saw some kayakers pulling on the branches as they paddled around it this time and hoped they wouldn't break any branches off. Puzzling World was OK but I wouldn't rush back in for a visit. Especially when there is so much natural beauty out there. I saw the Lavender Farm, and all the cut bushes, I'll have to leave thst for another time.


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