Day 76 – Wanaka, New Zealand

Everything is beautiful in the South Island! We left the Rainbow Retreat this morning at 0730 and arrived at Lake Matheson just after sunrise. I took a short walk to see the lake and marveled at the reflection of Mount Cook on the lake’s surface. The water in Lake Matheson is stained a dark brown/black color d/t the the dark tree bark in the area, which gives the lake its mirror-like appearance. Behind the lake is a beautiful backdrop of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, the two tallest mountains in New Zealand.

After our stop at Lake Matheson, we had a quick photo-op of the Fox Glacier, the third largest glacier in New Zealand (even bigger than Franz Josef).

The next stop was a short walk to Thunder Creek Falls. As soon as I stepped off the bus, I immediately felt the temperature difference, as it is getting colder. Winter is here, y’all. We are now more than halfway down the South Island, and winter is becoming more and more apparent.

Our last scenic stop of the day was at Lake Hawea. The lake sits just outside of the town of Wanaka and is surrounded by beautiful mountains in every direction. The landscape around the South Island is probably one of the top reasons why New Zealand is quickly becoming my favorite country. The beauty of New Zealand is unlike anywhere else I’ve seen in the world, mostly because it remains untouched.


When we arrived in Wanaka, I dropped my bags off at the YHA and walked across the park to Lake Wanaka. The town is small but the backdrop is jaw-dropping with mountains and the huge lake just a stone’s throw from the main street.


We are leaving Wanaka tomorrow morning and heading to the much-anticipated, Queenstown, also known as the Adventure Capital of New Zealand. I’ve given myself an entire week to stay in Queenstown so I’m really looking forward to staying in the same place for a bit. However, it is also the point where I part ways with my friends from the Kiwi bus. After traveling with most of them since Auckland, it’s gonna be hard to say goodbye.

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