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The South Island of New Zealand is really impressive. You have propably already watched our Video about our flight into Queenstown (if not – check it our HERE). There you can already get a small impresson about the diversity of New Zealand’s mountains. Maybe you are one of these „Lord of the Ring“ fans, which have seen all movies and got impressed by the landscapes – well – we have to admit – it really looks like within the movies. Additionally we have to admit that we have only seen the first movie about 5 times already (never managed it without falling asleep) so we can only talk about parts of the first movie.
As there are a lot of mountains and hills in the South Island, we only want to introduce you to the most impressive day hikes we did down here: Isthmus Peak, Rob Roy Glacier and Key Summit (we also heard, that a hike around Mount Cook (the highest mountain in New Zealand) should be really nice. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t that good when we have been to that area, therefore we had to skip it.
As we are located in Wanaka, we heard about this lovely 5 hours (15km) hike and half an hour drive from Wanaka. After learning how to drive on the left side of the roads (check it out HERE) we just grabed our things and jumped into the car to go to Isthmus Peak. The hike is well marked but not the easiest one to start with. The path is very steep and the freezing wind is blowing like hell the higher you get. Nevertheless right from the beginning the view is amazing and worth every minute of exhaustment. During New Zealand springtime a lot of sheeps and lambs will cross your way. It took us around 3 hours to reach the peak. The 360 degree view over Lake Wanaka and Lake Haewa is stunning. If you have the chance you should definitely go there.
See the Picture Gallery HERE.
Rob Roy Glacier
It’s said that it should be a car drive around 1 hour from Wanaka to Rob Roy Glacier or Mount Aspiring – well, if you rent a very small cheap car, passing gravel road with fords (huge ditche full of water) and cattle is driven up the alpine pasture right along the road you want to go on, it takes you around 2,5 hours 😉. This adventurous ride was really nice and worth every minute of driving, altough we have read, after going to Rob Roy Glacier, that the contract of renting the car states, that we are not at all allowedto use this car for going to Rob Roy Glacier, as the gravel roads and fords are too dangerous for the small car… well – it made it without any big problems *whoop whoop* HINT: ALWAYS read a contract before signing it! But at the same time –> if we have read the contract, we would not have gone to Rob Roy Glacier – therefore, in our case as everything worked out fine, we were lucky that there was not a lot of rain the days before so that we were able to pass the fords. The roads to go there are really crab and you should definitely rent a off-road vehicle when going there („New Zealand’s roads are different“). The hike itself is really nice. From the parking lot you can either do a multiple days hike or just Mount Aspiring Hut or/and Rob Roy Glacier. We wanted to do both but as the car drive took so long, we decided to do the Glacier, as Jessy is totally addicted to snow. The hike was reaaaaaaalllllyyy nice (in total about 3,5 hours and 11km) crossing a stunning bridge, wandering through rain forest until you have an amazing view over the Rob Roy Glacier.
After exploring the area around Wanaka we decided to do a little roadtrip to Milford Sound, as everyone was talking about that area. It is about 4 to 5 hours from Wanaka and every minute of driving was a pleasure as the landscape is so beautiful. In New Zealand you are only allowed to drive 100km/h, which is okay as they do not have real motorhighways. After doing a cruise in Milford Sound we went to Marian Lakes. Unfortunately, due to heavy storms, the path was closed (but I would highly recommend this hike to everyone who has the possibility. We have just seen Marian Lake from above and it was absolutely beautiful). Therefore we went straight to Key Summit which was said to have a 360 degree view on the mountains in this area. The hike was easy and the way beautiful, so we often stopped to enjoy the nature. The view on top is simply breathtaking. You can see all the huge mountains around that area, which are appearing so close to you. To reach the top it only took us about 1,5 hours (hike in total 8km) but we stayed at the top around 1 hours, enjoying our snacks, the view and taking some pictures and videos for you 😊