November 20th, 2014 / posted by paularath

 

Our Landrover for the day. Photo by Jerry Mayfield

Our Landrover for the day. Photo by Jerry Mayfield

A typical turn on the road through the remote sheep farm in Wanaka.

A typical turn on the road through the remote sheep farm in Wanaka.

Wanaka is a small town in the middle of the southern portion of the South Island. People talk about Wanaka as “the next Queensland,” poised for tourism. Currently it is a place where many New Zealand families go for their private get-away vacations. It’s all about camping and fishing and tramping (hiking) and water sports, although the lake is far too cold for swimming during most of the year except for polar bears.

We had two wilderness experiences in Wanaka, each very different and each absolutely perfect. The days got switched for our excursions because a snow storm in the mountains and gale winds made the lake really, really choppy so our lake excursion was Wednesday instead of Tuesday.

On Tuesday we took a four-wheel drive trip up the mountains, climbing 3,000 feet, to a working sheep and cattle farm. The Eco Adventures company we went with is the only company with access to the farm. There are seven locked gates you have to go through and only they – and the farmers – have the codes for the gates.  There were only five of us – a couple from Leeds in England and the terrific guide, Steve, and us – so it was quiet and felt so remote.

Wanaka 4wheel mountains

The drive itself was really fun and exciting and the views of the lake and the mountains simply breathtaking. And we saw thousands of deer, sheep and cattle. We stopped for tea near a stream and were able to get in a brisk and beautiful alpine walk.

That's Jerry, Bob and Linda walking down to a stream to have tea.

That’s Jerry, Bob and Linda walking down to a stream to have tea.

Wanaka Lake was created by glaciers and some boulders have been left behind.

Wanaka Lake was created by glaciers and some boulders have been left behind.

We couldn't be happier to be surrounded by such beauty!

We couldn’t be happier to be surrounded by such beauty!

– Paula Rath

Wanaka crossing stream

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