One of the great things with New Zealand is, you are never far from somewhere new and different. And just as importantly, if the weather isn’t pleasant where you are, drive for an hour and you might find something completely different in the skies above.
And that was exactly what I found in Wanaka. After staying in depressed little Cromwell for 2 nights, under continuously dark, drab and soggy clouds, I scrapped my plans for a bike ride (possibly to try again at the end of March) and made my way to Wanaka. Wanaka was a place I had heard lots about, but had yet to visit. Purportedly a wonderful little town with similar scenery and charms to Queenstown…but with a tiny fraction of the insane number of tourists. Sounded like my kind of place.
On your way into town you have the option of hiking a nearby hill, called Mt. Iron. Having sat around far too much in the past couple weeks, I opted for the stroll to the top. The weather had cleared on the drive, and I was keen to take advantage.
That’s the view from the top, towards some mountains in the distance. And in the panorama below, Lake Wanaka and the town come into view…
The direction I drove in from. The drive from Cromwell to Wanaka isn’t overly exciting, being mostly farmland.
Towards Lake Wanaka.
After sad little Cromwell, and infuriatingly busy Queenstown, Wanaka was a breath of fresh air. Lots of tasty looking restaurants, ice cream shops and lovely views all around…and NOT throngs of people. They still do a good bit of the tourist trade in Wanaka, but nothing like Queenstown. Just as advertised. I think I’m going to like it here.