NEW ZEALAND | OTAGO x WEST COAST

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NEW ZEALAND

OTAGO x GLACIER COUNTRY - WEST COAST

Camping spots:
Lake Hayes, Doherty Creek Campground, Wanaka lakeview Holiday Park, Diamond Lake Park

Places of Interest Covered:
Lake Wakatipu, Skyline Queenstown, Fergburger
Roy's Peak
Haast Pass
Lake Matheson
Franz Josef & Fox Glacier

 


It was a relaxing 2 hours drive back to Queenstown from Te Anau. On my previous visit to Queenstown, Fergburger was highly regarded as one of the best burgers that I have ever had, so it’s only fair that I have them again. And while driving from Te Anau to Queenstown, that was the one thing that lingered in my mind.

Queenstown has always been a beautiful spot to hang out and relax. The atmosphere you experience from a small community at the heart of Queenstown is admirable. By walking down the streets, you are bound to feel homely, something that you don't often experience in big cities. 

Later on in the day, instead of taking the gondola lift up to the Skyline Gondola Base Summit, we decided to hike up the Tiki Trail, an hour hike up. Whilst hiking, there was no greater joy than to meet travellers from all over the world, sharing our stories and experiences. In no time, we summited to the Gondola Base Summit. Memories of my first time being here flashed pass, as I recalled taking the luge down the hill and grabbing snow by the side to throw at my friends, just like Super Mario Kart. After a quick rest, I decide to head down to Lake Wakatipu for sunset, unfortunately, it was an overcast evening, nevertheless, I laid down and enjoy every moment of it. After settling dinner at the heart of Queenstown, we made our way to a freedom camping ground situated at Lake Hayes; where we would find ourselves stuck in the mud, again!

We set off from Lake Hayes towards Franz Josef early in the morning. What supposed to be a 4.5 hours drive turned up to become a 6-7 hours drive! What exactly happened? Snow chains were needed at Crown Range, so that limited our speed to only 20-30km/h! Furthermore, Haast Pass was pouring down with rain all day long! To be safe, we had to take it slow, I guess, it's always good to set aside some extra time while driving.  We finally arrived at Franz Josef Glacier in the late evening. We quickly got some groceries from 4 Square Supermarket in Franz Josef before heading to Doherty Creek campground for the night.

Having been to both Fox Glacier and Franz Josef on my previous visit, it was definitely shocking to witness how much glacier has retreated over the course of 5 years! Nevertheless, it was simply amazing to witness the pure beauty of what nature had to offer. 

After spending close to 1.5 days at Glacier Country, we decided to head back to Wanaka, to tackle the infamous hike up to Roy’s Peak. 

Next morning, we woke up early and headed to the trailhead of Roy’s Peak. The hike up Roy’s Peak is notoriously steep with little level stretches for rest, we would occasionally hike nonstop for at least 30 minutes before granting ourselves a short break. Our thighs and calves would burn, but after summiting at almost 1500m, we were greeted with the grandest view of Lake Wanaka. To rejoice this moment, we had a quick lunch at the top of Roy’s Peak. After spending a good half an hour at the top with freezing wind chills, we decided to take our time to hike down. And in a heartbeat, we found ourselves at the trailhead.

Roy’s Peak is definitely a must do activity in Wanaka. 

Stay tune to the next destination, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.