Sunday, 1 December 2019

Magnificent Views from Treble Cone Skifield- Wanaka


While David went fishing, I went exploring. There had been a good dump of snow on the surrounding mountains overnight and with a clear blue sky I decided to visit the Treble Cone skifield which wasn't too far from Glendhu Bay, off the Mt Aspiring road. The skifield is located up near the top of the right 'cone' in the photo below.

On the way I stopped off at a lookout overlooking Lake Wanaka's Emerald Bluffs...

...and Paddock Bay (where David was 'Out There' fishing)

I knew the carparks would be busy; from our campsite at Glendhu Bay Motor Camp we saw a continuous stream of cars, campers and motorhomes making their way to the ski field every morning. And then returning in the late afternoon on their way back to Wanaka. Shuttle buses transferred skiers from the bottom carpark to the top of the mountain although many drove the 7kms to the top.

Holy moly, when I first arrived I thought I'd arrived at a Jucy van rental yard!

I caught the shuttle to the top, with fresh snow it was advised to carry chains and we don't have any. Plus I wanted to take photos out the window as we climbed.

Matukituki River & Valley
There was still room for late morning arrivals at the top. Treble Cone is the largest South Island ski field at 550ha (1359 acres), it also has the longest vertical rise of 700 metres and it's longest run is 4kms. Not that I needed to know all this as I had no intentions of skiing (I gave that up a very long time ago). I'm just happy to take photos and enjoy the view.

The precarious park up of shuttle buses after the morning run. I arrived on one of the last shuttles and there's a two hour wait before the return shuttles start running.

Skiers decked out in the latest gear jostle for the chairlift...

...the beginners slopes are up behind them.

I was hoping to take the 'Six Seater Express' chairlift to the top and back but unfortunately...

...the wind had picked up (blowing snow off the ridges) and it was only open to skiers. 

No worries, this is was what I'd come for! The breathtaking view out over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains. Click on the photo to enlarge. You can see the mountain access road on the right, top and bottom of the tussock covered slopes.

Dead centre is Rocky Mountain & Diamond Lake, there are a few walks over this area which also have some magnificent views. The lake is hidden in the towering rocks on the right handside of the mountain, click this link to see autumn photos of the tiny lake from a previous visit.  The (in)famous Roys Peak is at the back on the right, Glendhu Bay directly below and at the far back you can just see part of Wanaka town. To the left in the valley you can see the Matukituki River and in the middle of Lake Wanaka, Mou Tapu Island.

But for me, the best sight of all was seeing my loved Hawkdun Range, complete with a mantle of snow, at the very back. I had no idea that I'd be able to see the range way over there in Central Otago.

To the left I can also see Mt Alta, the mountain that dominates Lake Wanaka from the southern end of the lake; it's seen from the town and overlooks us at Glendhu Bay.

Here's a zoomed in panoramic shot of the fabulous view- 

And here's one of Glendhu Bay (on the right) and Paddock Bay tucked in front of that hill which is attached to a spit of land. I can even see a spot of white on the water at the entrance to the bay, possibly David fishing in the boat.

I'd brought my lunch with me which was just as well as the queues inside were horrendous. I located myself a table and just as I sat down I spotted a familiar looking bird striding about underneath the tables looking for tasty titbits.

I forgot my lunch for a moment and walked around the back of buildings to where I'd see another bird fly in from. Around the back of the kitchen I found half a dozen Kea (our cheeky endemic mountain parrot) helping themselves to whatever they could find. One was on top of a large plastic container looking into the centre of it. It looked like the container was holding waste cooking oil and while it had a very tiny opening, the Kea was eating the oil flavoured ice from around the bung hole. 

Another three birds were on top of a rubbish truck peering over the side at me, they were only there because someone has chased them away from below the truck where they too were eating food flavoured ice or trying to pull pieces off the rear of the truck.

Up on the bank behind the buildings, only one of the group is doing what Kea should be doing; digging in the snow and pulling out tasty shoots.

By the time I head back to the tables to have lunch, the crowd has thinned out...

 ...and once I've finished eating, I wander up to the carpark above the Base carpark... take a few more before heading back to the shuttle pickup point. I want to catch the first shuttle back down and already a queue is forming. 

I take one last panoramic photo from Treble Cone before I climb into the bus and we rattle off down the mountainside. Some of the drops over the edges are pretty scary as I peer over the side on the hairpin corners. I'm sure some of the drivers we meet coming up the road have a bit of a panic when they meet us coming down at a fairly fast pace. 


  1. It’s always good for the spirit to spend time taking in the mountains from up high....better than fishing IMHO.

    1. Hello there stranger! And I'd have to agree with you 'cause I hate fishing :)

  2. A pity you didn't make it to the top, the scenery up there is much much more spectacular. And it's real fun eating pizza drinking coffee up there watching skiers take off from the scary cliff.

    1. And another stranger, hello there! You've sold it to me, I'll have to make sure I get up there another time! :)


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