Saturday, August 21, 2010

NZ Day 5 - Wanaka


The mirror lake of Lake Matheson, with Mount Cook is visible in the far background.

  • Planned to catch the sunrise at Lake Matheson; so, woke up much much earlier than usual. Had a thirty-minute drive from Franz Josef before arriving at Lake Matheson. No cars were spotted there when we arrived, except a backpacker truck, which must had stayed overnight there.
  • Looked-up at the information board and realized that we had to walk for thirty minutes until reaching the best spot to view the lake and its reflection. The problem was that it was only minutes remaining before the sun rises. Should've timed our time earlier if we knew about that.
  • However, it wasn't too bad after all as we stopped somewhere to view the sunrise. Didn't get a clear view though, as it was a cloudy and foggy morning. Plus, some stupid ducks swimming in the lake left water ripples on the surface, and it affected the clear mirror reflection on the lake.
  • Finally, reached the spot where we could see Mount Cook, the tallest mountain in New Zealand, and Mount Tasman, and their reflections on the lake. It could have been better if it was a clear weather and without those sesat ducks, who affected the calm water in the lake.
  • Had breakfast at Matheson Cafe. Ordered Matheson Breakfast, and some hot drinks after walking for more than an hour around the lake. One of my first Western meals since I came here.
  • Stopped at Fox Glacier, the other well-known glacier in New Zealand, located about 22 km away from Franz Josef Glacier. It was a stop just to take some pictures, as we didn't climb it. Anyway, it looks like it takes less time to reach the terminal area of the glacier in Fox, compared to Franz Josef. Personally, I still prefer Franz Josef Glacier as I think it looks nicer.
  • Made a stop at Bruce Bay, a beautiful wild beach with lots of pebbles and drift wood. It is famous for its rocks and pebbles piles, which people have built along the coast road. These rocks and drift wood piles actually bring no significance, as people, usually tourists and travelers passing by just followed suit what the others did earlier.
  • Stopped at Haast, a very small township just after the Haast Beach. It was the last time we saw the Tasman Sea in the west coast, as we traveled towards the middle section of the South Island after that. Had lunch at Haast - it was whitebait sandwiches for the two of us.
  • Made multiple stops for waterfall along Haast Pass. The highlight was at the Blue Pools of Haast Pass, which is one of a series of crystal clear pools that have been carved out of the rocks by centuries of erosion. The glacier-fed water in these deep pools is the colour of deep azure blue, and so clear that you can see right to the bottom, making the resident brown trout look like they are suspended in the air.
  • During our walk back from the pool, I told Mich a story of mine during my scouting years, in which I accidentally drank a bottle of turpentine, thinking that it was plain water. She became high and laughed non-stop, and made a hypothesis that drinking that bottle of turpentine had turned me into a crazy guy haha!
  • Reached Wanaka at half-past-three. Checked-into YHA Hostel Purple Cow in town, before going to Puzzling World, a world unique attraction specialising in puzzling eccentricity. The Illusion Rooms were incredible, and the Roman Toilet is probably the most photographed public toilet in New Zealand.
  • Outside the main building, it has a world's first "modern-styled" Great Maze. We gave a try on the maze. But in the end, we were short of one check-point and didn't complete the maze as it was getting late and cold.
  • Did some groceries later that night and cooked dinner. It was during that time I spotted four Japanese staying at the same hostel. Didn't really approach them to talk, but I saw one of the guys took a peek at the kitchen, and then overheard him saying something like, "Kit-chin, bee-see".

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