Monday 20th March

Fox Glacier - Wanaka

There was another heavy rain warning for later in the day, so we made the most of an overcast but fine morning to walk around Lake Matheson, a small glacial lake some 6kms down the road. Renowned for its reflections of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman, we had to settle for reflections of the surrounding mountains and cloud.

It was a lovely 4.4km loop walk and the reflections were indeed stunning, the best being from the View of Views at the top end of the lake and also at Reflection Island.  Apparently the Lake's reflecting properties are due to the dark brown colour of the water caused by organic matter from the surrounding forest.  

The cloud lifted a little as we completed our walk and enjoyed a coffee at the Matheson cafe. It started to rain as we returned to the car and the rain became heavier and heavier as we made our way down State Highway 6 towards Haast.  We had a few short walks planned to break up our trip, the first being at Ship Creek.  As we pulled into the car park, the rain was torrential so we settled for a quick dash to the toilets with only a passing glimpse of views out to sea.

We continued through Haast with just a brief stop for petrol and had to make do with brief glimpses of the Haast River.  The cloud was low over the mountains and at times visibility was quite poor.  

We stopped briefly at the junction of the Haast and Landsborough Rivers and then at Makarora for a quick and average lunch at the Country Cafe.  We had seen a couple of cyclists on the road and were so pleased that we were having a transit day by car.

The road then ran along the edge of Lake Wanaka before crossing the Neck to pick up Lake Hawea. Both lakes looking dramatic under heavy skies.  

We arrived at Wanaka around 3pm and it was still raining so we explored the town and picked up provisions for dinner - a  mini roast lamb. Our AirBnB, Pip's Place was at Albert Town with views of Mount Iron, a popular rock climbing spot.  On a cold, rainy evening, it was warm and cosy, and we both rated it as the best accommodation of the trip.

Fortunately the rain eased a little and Simon was able to clean and pack his bike whilst I joined my French class, leaving mine for tomorrow.