Wanaka Journals

South Is Part 1: Picton to Wanaka

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A September 2002 trip to Wanaka by caoimhe

Abel Tasman National Park Photo, Nelson, New Zealand More Photos
Quote: We spent a month in the South Island and maanged to cover nearly every inch! This journal describes what to see and do from Picton to Wanaka, complete with photographs to visually describe the beauty of NZ.

South Is Part 1: Picton to Wanaka

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Overview

Quote:
Myself and my friends took the Interislander ferry from Wellington to Picton and then drove towards the West Coast stopping in Nelson and spending two days in the Abel Tasman National Park. We drove along the scenic West Coast spending nights in Westport and Greymouth before arriving at the breathtaking Franz Josef glacier. We then made our way inland, through the scenic Haast Pass to Wanaka.Quick Tips: If you do not have a YHA (Youth Hostel Association) card, it is certainly recommended to attain one before travelling around NZ. Many significant discounts are available - on buses/trains, in YHA and YHA affiliated hostels, on tourist trips and packages. Certain shops also offer discounts such...Read More

Sequoia Lodge Backpackers

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Hotel

Quote:
On arrival in Picton, we checked into the fantastic Sequoia Lodge backpackers. One of the nicest backpackers we stayed in, in NZ. The lodge is owned by a very friendly couple who really made us feel at home! Every evening, free homemade soup and bread is provided in the kitchen and in the mornings good strong filter coffee is available free. The rooms are motel style with en-suite. Facilities include a nice kitchen, full-size chess board and hammocks on a relaxing verandha. There is also a tv room with a large selection of movies. We watched the only NZ film that has ever been popular - Once We're Warriors - a distressing film set among a poor Maori community in South ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 19, 2002

Sequoia Lodge Backpackers
3a Nelson Square
Wanaka, New Zealand
(3) 573-8399

Noah's Ark

Hotel

Noah's Ark Photo, Wanaka, New Zealand
Quote:
This was my favourite hostel of the 25 or so I stayed in in NZ!

Each room in the hostel has an animal theme - sheep , elephant, cat, kiwi, tiger and so on.. The rooms are decorated with motifs, teddy-bears, curtains, bed clothes etc all incorporating the animal's image. I stayed in the elephant room - see the attached photo!

The hostel also is home to two beautiful cats and a large friendly husky dog!

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 19, 2002

Noah's Ark
16 Chapel Street
Wanaka, New Zealand
(03) 768 4868

Abel Tasman National Park

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Attraction

Abel Tasman National Park Photo, Nelson, New Zealand
Quote:
We booked our sea kayaking trip in the Abel Tasman NP with The Sea Kayak Company. This proved to be one of the highlights of our trip. We set off from Maraha early in the morning - just the 7 of us and our guide. After some technical problems (pedals not working on two of the kayaks) we managed to set off. We travelled a total of 11 kms along the coast - stopping at seclued beaches along the way for coffee and for lunch. One stretch of coast, known as the Mad Mile, was particularly good fun - huge waves threatened to capsize us but we all managed to stay afloat! We arrived, stiff and weary, at Anchorage Bay around 4pm and met Jane our hostess for the night. She ferried us by dinghy t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 19, 2002

Abel Tasman National Park
Abel Tasman National Park
Wanaka, New Zealand

Puzzling World

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Attraction

Quote:
puzzlingworld.co.nz A pleasant alternative to adventure sports, Puzzling World was one of the first such attractions in the world - developed by Stuart Landsborough. The Great Maze was the first 3-D maze in the world. The Maze is fantastic fun -its walkways cover 1.5km in total, but it is estimated that the average visitor travels about 6km to get out of the maze!! Luckily there are emergency exits if you find it a little bit too frustrating! After the maze you can visit some wacky places like the hologram hall and an illusion room. My favorite was the Hall of Following Faces - you have to see it to believe it! I don't want to spo...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 27, 2002

Puzzling World
188 Main Highway 84
Wanaka, New Zealand
(03) 443 7489

Quote:
To get to the South Island, we took the Interislander ferry from Wellington to Picton. It is imperative to book this well in advance, particularly if you are travelling with a car. We had hoped to travel by day as the scenic quality of the journey is meant to be excellent. However, we had to settle for an evening trip. You can book tickets via phone. Furthermore, prices are cheaper if you book far in advance. It is possible to change tickets once booked, to another day / time, free of charge. The ferry trip is pleasant with good facilities on board, including a small cinema which shows new releases for 8NZD. The 3.5 hour long ferry journey across the Cook St...Read More

Scenic West Coast

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Story/Tip

Fur seal Photo, Wanaka, New Zealand
Quote:
After finishing our trip in the Abel Tasman NP, we left Motueka and started to head South - along the scenic West Coast. Our first photo stop was a town called Longford - human population around 12, sheep population probably about 12,000! My boyfriend, hails from Longford Ireland so wa delighted to get his photo taken by the signpost for Longford NZ. On to Westport - a pretty town on the Coast -again named after an Irish town. Many Irish immigrants arrived along the West Coast to partake in NZ's large gold rush in the late 1800s. Just outside Westport is a large fur seal colony at Carters Bay. Went for a fabulous walk along the rugged coast line, spotting seals and birds. ...Read More

Franz Josef glacier and surrounds

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Story/Tip

Franz Josef glacie Photo, Wanaka, New Zealand
Quote:
Franz Josef village is a small town whose sole purpose is to cater for the tourists who arrive to see the Glacier! We checked in to the Black Sheep backpackers and booked ourselves on tours for the following day. All along the main street of the town are companies advertising full day, half day and helicopter hikes. We shopped around but all were priced equally and seemed to offer the same service. I decided to book onto a helicopter hike which was a fantastic experience. That involved getting a helicopter ride for about 15 minutes over the top of the glacier - absolutely astoundingly beautiful. We then set down on the ice and hiked around there for about 2 hours, equipped with crampons and ...Read More

Watch out for the Keas!

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Story/Tip

Kea Alpine Parrot Photo, Wanaka, New Zealand
Quote:
At Fox Glacier we met Kea birds for the first time. Keas are the only parrots in the world who live in alpine regions and are only found in the South of NZ. Beautiful, friendly birds, they are incredibly curious and destructive. I bent down to take a photo of one and he flew over to examine my camera and to see if he can eat it. They cause a lot of trouble - ripping camper's tents etc and can even pull the windscreen wipers off a car!! One took a fancy to our sun roof and tried to break in to the car through it! Every car park in Southern NZ has warnings signs and advise not feed the Keas as one sandwhich is enough food for the day and thus the birds will be able to devote even more ...Read More

Wanaka

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Story/Tip

Lake Hawea Photo, Wanaka, New Zealand
Quote:
To get to Wanaka we drove from Franz Josef glacier through the scenic Haast Pass. Beware though--during the winter, this road closes at 5pm at the Haast side. We narrowly missed this and had to spend a night in the tiny village of Haast--the hostel had several groups of people who had also gotten stuck. Everyone was walking around like zombies... such a dead spot! The next day we were glad that we had missed the road as it meant we got to do the journey by daylight--certainly worth it. Along the way, brown DOC (Department of Conservation) signposts indicated places worth stopping at, like the pretty Fantail Falls and other scenic lookouts such as at the shores of Lake Hawea (see photo). ...Read More