The Gates of Haast – Thursday 16th February 2012


Routine pak’n’move all achieved in under one hour.

The roads to Wanaka are remarkably good. Much of the SH6 was only constructed in 1965 forming the Haast Pass. It’s a spectacular drive. The mountains rear up on either side of an immense valley floor! Clearly glacial! I know I’m an expert now I’ve walked the Fox Glacier – and had John explain it to me!

Then we join the coast for a while before reaching Haast. With a pass and a river named after it, and an I-site! I had imagined a biggish village or small town.

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Haast has a possum/merino wool shop, 2 cafes, a children’s playground, a small supermarket, a backpackers and camping facilities. That’s it! Still it serves good coffee! I loved the sign as we left the town “You a now leaving the CBD of Haast.”

Following the Haast river we note how wide it is. At times the river water takes on that special pale blue, which I find fascinating. Most often the river bed is incredibly dry, allowing a channel for the existing river to cut through the pale grey stones. I’m amazed – no moss, no lichen!

We stop at the Gates of Haast with formidable boulders creating an energetic water flow over which a metal bridge encourages drivers to wind down their windows and take a photo! We decide to walk down to the waters edge and have a picnic there.

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Lake Wanaka is incredibly beautiful and we have to stop for photos before the road takes us onto the neighboring Lake Hawea. Again we have to stop because of the beauty around us. It is so still, the lake has become a mirror. The colours are awe inspiring.

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Despite. SH6 being a major thoroughfare, the traffic is thinning. There are still a few motor homes and campervans, even the odd lorry, but for spells it is silent by the lake.

Wanaka proves to be a busy town. We had chosen it simply because it was conveniently located along he route from Fox to Queenstown. I can see why it’s a popular place to live and why people return to stay here longer than just overnight.

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