Day 8 – Haast to Wanaka

I have more photos than I know what to do with for this day. I got my exercise just getting up and into the van and then dropping back down to take another shot. I must have stopped in every passing bay along the Haast Pass. Fortunately for you, the wifi is so bad where I am, I can’t afford the time to wait for them all to load, so I’ll have to pick the best. I had a comfortable night at Haast, with folks all around me, and an excellent amenity block with free showers. I woke to a clear day and snow on the mountains in the distance. . . naturally I set off early.

Almost from the moment that I began driving the Pass, I was thrilled by the mountains with snow tips, all sharply defined against a blue sky. Finally, an hour into the trip I decided to do something I particularly enjoy having a camper van for: making a tea and enjoying the view from the comfort of my own dining space. So I chose the best spot with sweeping views across the river and up the pass to the mountains, and opened my doors, and boiled the kettle. When it had boiled, I put the non-stick saucepan on, and managed to fry/toast two slices of bread, which I slathered with peanut butter and honey. That was the best morning tea set up yet – coffee and toast and THAT view. I had warm water to do the dishes and they were a treat to do.

A little further along the road is the DOC campsite called Pleasant Flat, with flush toilets and picturesque setting. Not a soul in sight. I kept driving, and stopping, and clicking, and driving, and turned off at the sign to the Thunder Falls. So glad I did. A short way along the bushwalk you can hear the tinkling of some falls getting louder and louder, and then it opens out on to the delightful sight of a very long drop of white water cascading down into the azure depths of the stream running by below.

Fantail Falls

Beyond Thunder Falls, another waterfall called Fantail Falls is signposted, so I went to see them too. Less spectacular to my view, but wider and still very pretty.

I kept glancing in my rear vision mirror and seeing the most amazing vista of snow capped peaks against the blue sky – but because I was driving and on a narrow two-lane road it was hard to find ways to stop. I just know the view going North was amazing too. By the time I came out in view of Lake Wanaka, I felt I had seen as much beauty as I could handle, but no – here was blue/green water in a vast expanse, reflecting the huge rising shapes of the mountains all around it, all tipped with snow. They are massive. At least there were signposted bays marked with a camera sign so that you knew there was a view to get out and take.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills from whence my help comes . . .


Finally, after I had reached saturation point with the beauty of it all, I came in to Wanaka at the southern end of the lake, and parked in the park by the lake shore. . . The last one available at that moment. It is busy here – full of affluent tourists or locals who own holiday homes or are staying for the many sporting possibilities. I shuffled across the road to a cafe feeling like a bag lady, and settled in a corner table to eat my ‘Reubens and vegetable chips’ in great content. After a wander around the township, which is upmarket and upbeat, I got back in my trusty Alfie, and set off for 11kms away and the Glendhu Bay Motor Camp where I’m staying for the night. It is on the shores of Lake Wanaka, with a plethora of snow-capped peaks all around it. Everywhere I turn in my camper van, from it’s parked position by the lake, I see a glorious view.

I have enjoyed a relaxed afternoon, resting, reading up on things of interest, and now writing my blog. It is peaceful, calm, and still blue outside. The bar of my delight has been notched up a few levels today.

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