Otago Lake Odyssey

Lake Tekapo – Aoraki – Lake Wanaka – Lake Hawea – 100km (Day 156-163)

This section was a little more free-form, as we hadn’t found any multi-day tramps to do, and instead focused on finding good day hikes, and keeping to our budget in what is rather an expensive part of the country. Thankfully, we were mega-lucky with the weather and things just seemed to fall into place.

I think everyone agrees, Tekapo main street is a disaster zone of consumerism, all aimed at the off-the-bus-for-thirty-minutes customer. However, even since we had been there a year ago, there was signs of improvement. More building underway – naturally, but some landscaping, public places, a play-ground, water fountains, etc. We had only managed to get a non-powered site at the campground, but even that seemed to be a good deal once we saw the facilities. We experienced the brilliant night sky one night (clouds the second), and had magic blue sky autumn days. We did the awesome walk up Mt John and back around the East Peninsula on the first day – brilliant. Magic views in all directions – MacKenzie basin, magnificent alps, the glacier lake – awesome.

Aoraki was resplendent in sunshine for most of our drive towards her. We did get some low cloud/mist along the way, which only enhanced the view of the alps, once we finally got there. We stopped at the village for a coffee, and then went on to do the Hooker Valley Track. Not the most original idea, the car park was full – the track more like a highway. People from all over the world, trekking along a nice but hilly path for 3hrs+ to see our highest mountain and remains of a glacier. Still, the scenery was incredible – we were so lucky with the weather, that having to share it was no hardship. We headed up to the Tasman Glacier for our lunch-stop – a little less busy than Hooker, but now the view is even more of a retrenching glacier story, than a walk-up (lots of steps) view of the largest glacier in NZ.

After a magnificent drive through the MacKenzie basin, over Lindis Pass, we stopped next at Wanaka. We’ve had a love-hate relationship with Wanaka, loved it years and years ago on various visits, and then hated it on more recent visits, for succumbing to over-commercialism. We were not sure what to expect this time. Wanaka turned on its charms and we were the ones succumbing. We walked most of the sections of the TA from the Lake Outlet to Fern Burn, past Glendhu Bay over the next 4 days. Then we threw in a climb up the magnificent Roy Peak Track for good measure. That was our last day there, and our finale was the best! Although a massive work-out- with over 1000m vertical climb over 8km, the views and experience more than make up for the sweat payment. It must also be noted as a must-do in a French guide – as 80% of the other climbers were French!

The final night of this section, was a DoC campsite at the top of Lake Hawea. Although not a warm forecast, it was clear of rain until 10am tomorrow – so we chanced another camp. And it was glorious. Warm sunshine lit our tent-set-up, and then we drank red-wine at a picnic table over-looking the shoreline. Other than the numerous other campers, there was no other civilisation to be seen. The birds and then crickets played the sound-track for the evening. Pinch-me scenery, fantastic company with Pete of course, and a wonderful way to end our northern Otago lake stay.


One thought on “Otago Lake Odyssey

  1. Have driven past the Roy’s Peak track some many times on ski trips, always thinking I would do the climb one trip! The vistas from the peak must be amazing…..
    Stay safe guys, as the cop cop said “be careful out there!”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s