Chillin’ in Wanaka

We still have the Mercedes, so we take it for a spin. Over The Crown Range to Wanaka.

Twisting, turning roads, hair pin bends, gorgeous scenery. It’s a road that’s definitely worth a drive. We stop at a lookout to check out the view and take some photos. We only last a couple of minutes. We are at pretty high altitude and it is freezing! Back into our warm car with it’s heated seats.

This view point is as far as we came back in summer, but today we are carrying on over to Wanaka. Along the way we pass through Cardrona township, past the iconic Cardrona hotel and a gorgeous little church. I’m regretting not insisting we stop to take some photos and have a look around, it was just gorgeous.

We then make it to Wanaka. I have done quite a bit of travel in New Zealand, but this is a place I have never been before. I am instantly wowed by how clear the water is. The South Island lakes are always stunning. They are brilliant jewel colours, quite often framed by snow capped mountains.

It’s a perfect winters day, bright blue sky, not a breath of wind and snow on the mountains. It’s the sort of place I could sit for hours, enjoying the scenery, watching the birds and thinking about life.

But then we spot some kayaks for hire and can’t resist.

I love kayaking.

Previously when we have been in kayaks, it has been on a tour and we always get put in a double kayak. I always get put in the front, (apparently it is good practice to have the lightest person in the front) I will be paddling away, thinking it’s a bit hard, only to look back and see that Daniel is busy taking photos, not doing any paddling! And Daniel thinks that I don’t now how to steer. I can see why double kayaks get called marriage breakers.

So we opt for 2 single kayaks. A much better idea! We can each go at our own pace. And yes, I do know how to steer a kayak! The lake is beautiful from above the water (it’s beautiful from the shore too) but being surrounded by the lake is very tranquil.

We paddle out, following the shore line, spotting birds and paddling past boats bobbing up and down. I think this is my favorite experience on this trip. There is just something so magical, so peaceful, about being out on the water. The sound the water makes against the paddle, the stillness, the scenery. Away from the hustle and bustle of city life. A chance to slow down and take it all in.

Back on shore, we grab some lunch before going to take that iconic photo. You know the one I am talking about. #Thatwanakatree. A twisted, lone willow growing out of the lake. It’s probably one of New Zealand’s most photographed trees. With the Southern Alps in the background, it’s certainly instagram worthy.