We woke up at Gillespies Beach Campsite. The Southern Alps were towering over us–so cool!
We walked out to the beach, and it was just amazing. The coolest thing was turning away from the water to see the mountains. The beach reminded us of Lake Superior, actually–rocky, lots of driftwood, and just a massive body of water.
We got back on the 12 km long gravel road, and once we emerged, we were greeted by more amazing views–mountains, cows, and mist.
Our plan for the day was to start at Lake (Carrie) Matheson. The morning light was absolutely gorgeous, with the mist and the sunlight.
This place was so magical that, somehow, even a spiderweb was beautiful.
We were lucky with the current, and caught some great photos of the reflection of Mt. Cook, Mt. Tasman, and a bunch of other, much less important (??) mountains.
Seriously can’t get over how perfect this place is.
We hit the road and spotted an elusive white yeti.
Our next stop was the Fox Glacier. It was a great hike, over rocks and streams, and a nice, steep climb. The mountain walls around us were very Lord of the Rings-y.
After the Fox Glacier, we worked our way down the West coast, through Haast, the gateway into Mt. Aspiring National Park.
Hopped out of the car for a quick jaunt to Thunder Creek Falls, with amazingly blue beautiful glacial runoff water and tons of large rocks out in the river.
Next, we hopped out and hiked to the Blue Pools. They are exactly as they sound–pools with crystal clear, aqua blue water. The climate really made a shift at this point–everything was covered in frost as we approached the evening hours.
We pulled into the town of Wanaka (pronounced wanna-ka) to see if the i-SITE (NZ tourist information office) was open, and found a very happening little town. We decided to stop for a beer at Kai Whakapai, an adorable cafe/bar with a great vibe. Even though it was winter, the majority of people were still hanging out in the outdoor seating area. They had a few heat lamps, but it was definitely chilly! We loved that about New Zealand’s culture–hang outdoors no matter the weather! It’s a beautiful world out there.
The bar was having a fundraiser for the National disc golf team in August in Canada. We talked to some phenomenal locals, and then hit the road toward Queenstown.
Once we got into Queenstown, we got a bite to eat at Boliwood. The food was super good, and our server was really friendly!
Then we headed out to our campsite, enjoying some rad oldies on the radio.