How do we choose the places we visit? Some are widely considered global must-sees – think iconic locations like Paris or the Great Barrier Reef. Some have a very specific reason that captures your interest. For example, I was excited to visit Krakow because of its rich and horrific World War II history. Then there are the places that you instinctively know that you will fall in love with. Wanaka fell into that category and did not disappoint.
First, time for a chilled out day in Wanaka before attempting the hike to Roy’s Peak the next day. We checked out the town, raced around the mazes in Puzzleworld and quietly sobbed to Lion in the retro cinema – okay, maybe the tears only came from me. But for real, any cinema that bakes fresh cookies for the interval gets a huge thumbs up. Then, we spent a relaxed evening walking around the lake to see the most famous sight in Wanaka.
Yep, it’s a tree! Honestly, I’ve never been so excited to see a tree in my life. This is what Instagram has created.
The next morning, it was time to take on Roy’s Peak. We drove just ten minutes out of town until the starting point and, despite my insisting on this particular hike, I immediately tried to back out. It is high, almost 1900 metres to be precise. Looking upwards at the steep slopes was pretty intimidating to say the least but thankfully, Jamie forced me to get moving. He also had to do this at 30 minute intervals when my calves started protesting – sorry mate.
As you get higher, the view only gets better with Lake Wanaka stretching out beneath the walking track. We stopped for lunch on a small rock with 180 degree views of the gorgeous surroundings.
How can you not fall in love with the combination of amazing lakes and dramatic mountains? Images like this basically dominate my Instagram feed and getting to see it in reality was as exciting as when I spot my food making its way to my table in a restaurant.
When I originally wrote this, I seem to have blocked out all account of the actual walk. This may be through sheer muscle trauma. The hike does not stop going uphill once so it is an absolute killer. Regular breaks, snack bars and lots of water are key here. I can’t lie, a lot of motivation was needed to keep going but it was worth it. Honest.
When we reached the top, the view opened out to reveal the other side of the valley. The breathtaking sight here includes Mount Aspiring / Tititea as well as the surrounding mountain range.
I wasn’t quite sure of why Wanaka stuck out as being such a great place but let’s be honest, these pictures definitely sum it up. There are so many hikes in the area that I have no doubt that we only scratched the surface of Wanaka in our two day flying visit so I can’t help but hope that we get to go back one day.