STOP!!... I need to take another photo
Sep 01, 2010
Jun 18, 2011
. blub blub! Plus we couldn't even get any photos of the Alps because it was too cloudy; Mount Cook had escaped us again! For such a huge mountain its blinking difficult to get a good photo of! So after an hours walk around the lake we climbed back into the camper and carried on with the journey. Our destination for today is a place called Lake Wanaka, which is about 4 hours south of the glaciers. Just down the road (in New Zealand terms!) from Queenstown, Lake Wanaka has a really big ski community in the winter months and in the summer there are lots of activites on the huge lake. Driving down to Wanaka we started to encounter the kind of scenery that we had been expecting in New Zealand; countless snow-capped mountains, waterfalls tumbling into the rainforest, huge lakes and rivers, birds of prey swooping around the van. I think that Tom and I came to New Zealand with unrealistically high expectations of what the country would look like, but once we started this part of the drive our expectations were smashed to pieces. The scenery was more beautiful, more dramatic, more spectacular than either of us could have ever dreamed. For the first time since we arrived here we were stopping the campervan every few minutes to get photos. We would stop to get a photo and then as we drove around the next corner a whole new mountain range or waterfall or lake would come into view and we would have to stop again. The town of Wanaka is at the southern most tip of the long lake and as we were driving along of the water we saw snow-capped mountain after snow-capped mountain running alongside us. The colours in the mountains were incredible. They would start of lush green at the bottom and then move up between sandy orange, muddy brown, coal black and then pristine white snow at the top. The scenery was out of this world. Now I understand why people love New Zealand so much, the landscape is like nothing you have ever dreamed of. As we were driving alongside the lake we suddenly saw a sign for a DoC camp at the edge of the water. We had planned to stay in the town tonight, but considering how beautiful the surroundings were we just had to stay here instead. We pulled up, found ourselves a spot and then went down to the water. From where we were stood at the waters edge we could see straight up the valley with the mountains lining the right-hand side. I think that Tom summed the whole experience up when we walked out onto the sand and he said "This is the most breath-taking thing I have ever seen, I'll never see anything better than this". And I think he might be right.
We left Franz this morning feeling tired after our hike yesterday and very sad to say goodbye to the glacier... we even said bye bye as we drove past it. Our first stop enroute was at Lake Matheson a few minutes away from the Fox Glacier. Lake Matheson is famous in New Zealand as the 'reflective lake'. Due to its very dark waters this lake is supposed to reflect the surrounding scenery like a mirror; we have seen some postcards showing what this looks like and it really is amazing. Surrounded by the Southern Alps, including Mount Cook, we were hoping to get some good photos from here. There is an hours walk around the lake which include lookout points called 'Reflective Island' and 'The View of All Views', so we headed off with high expectations. However, what we hadn't bargained for was that lake has to be perfectly still for you to get a mirror reflection as the slightest breeze upsets the water and all you can see is ripples on the surface. Although we had picked a bright sunny day to visit the lake there was unfortunately one heck of a breeze blowing and we didn't see any of the reflective views which they have on all the postcards...