West Coast Trip – Haast to Wanaka

Day Four

It’s now over a month since we did this trip.  Fast forward back to our day four of the trip.

An early start at 8.30am saying goodbye to Fox Glacier.  The travel distance was about 261km or 3.5 hours (not including stops).  There were lots of scenic stops along the way so we were pretty much cruising along.

Our first scenic stop was at Bruce Bay, a small settlement located approximately 40 kilometres south of Fox Glacier on the banks of the Mahitahi River.  We parked by the roadside rest area eating our sandwiches and coffee on the go.

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Next stop was at beautiful Knights Point before arriving the township of Haast.

We turned into the town  (supposedly a place where you can get white baits but they were not in season).  There were a couple of cafes with signs saying ‘Whitebait fritters’ but none in stock.  At that time of visit, I just thought it was a town in the middle of nowhere, no cell phone coverage with no one in sight.  Statistics NZ recorded only 297 people living in Haast (2006 census).  The region is a lost world that is so spectacular and remote UNESCO awarded it the status of being a “World Heritage” area.  Even though I was disappointed for not being able to have whitebait for lunch, that was no excuse for not taking any photo shots of Haast township. 😦

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Our next stop was at Ship Creek (Dunes Beach) Tauparikaka, 20 km north of Haast.  There are various walks from swamp forest to windswept sand dunes giving one a real taste of the wild West Coast.

Next stop was a 25 minutes walk to Roaring Billy Falls.  An easy walk along a track lined with tree fern, passing some fine examples of miro, matai and silver beech trees. The broad gravel bed of the Haast River is in contrast to the jumble of huge boulders over which the aptly named Roaring Billy cascades.

Leaving Haast to Wanaka we stopped by Gates of Haast Falls, a series of rapids on the Haast River located in Mt Aspiring National Park, along HAAST Highway.  It is a roadside waterfall which is seen from a car when crossing the river.  Just after the bridge, you will notice extremely big boulders.

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Next was Thunder Creek Falls, an extremely tall and easy accessible 96-metre waterfall, Thunder Creek Falls is located in Mt Aspiring National Park.

This drive was so amazingly beautiful, especially on a fine day.  The last beautiful stop we did before arriving Wanaka was a walk to Blue Pools.  Nestled among mature beech and podocarp forest, these pools of deep, clear water flowing into the Makarora River offer a moment of tranquillity.

We arrived Wanaka and were really hungry.  Late lunch at Red Star Burger Bar.  Absolutely delicious.
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Finally arrived at Altamont Lodge.  Nice quiet location a little away from the town but great if you have a car.  The cabins were really small but the shared kitchen, lounge facilities were huge and very tidy.

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After a short rest, we headed to town for dinner.

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Loved the food at the Big Fig so much that we had lunch there again the next day.  Indeed slow cooked food served fast.
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This day was the most adventurous day of our trip with so many beautiful scenic stops, walks and good food.  What an amazing beloved day indeed !

Stay tuned for more of our Wanaka adventure coming up soon.

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