Thursday, January 7, 2016

Milford Sound to Lake Wanaka

After exploring Milford Sound in the morning, we headed back up to Queenstown to spend the night before continuing on to Lake Wanaka.

Milford Sound to Queenstown:

We took our time and explored a bit since we didn't have any time constraints on the way back. I snapped this photo while we were waiting to drive through the mountain via the extremely claustrophobic tunnel. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like tunneling through a mountain is contrary to every survival instinct we should have developed as a species by this point. 
I took about 18,000 pictures on this leg of the trip, but lucky for you I only chose a couple to post ;). 
This is one of our more successful selfie stick photos ever taken. I use the GoPro app on my phone to take the pictures, so as I was walking back to the car, an extreme close-up of Peter's face flashed across my phone as he was fiddling with some setting on the camera. I had fun snapping a few highly unflattering photos of him, which I will cherish forever, but I think he'd kill me if I posted them! 
So the entire time we were in New Zealand, I had this fantasy of getting an adorable sheep picture, preferably with my face pressed up next to it on the other side of the fence. When we spotted a bunch of sheep just hanging out up near the side of the road, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to make my dreams come true and potentially capture a frame-able picture. I was all excited until I got within about 20 feet of them and they freaked out and ran away. Turns out sheep are actually sheepish. Go figure. This was the closest I got to a sheep selfie- not quite what I envisioned, but I'll take it!
We spent a quick night in Queenstown at a lodge right off the main road. Funny story: when we checked into our room, there was a queen bed, kitchen area, and bathroom as usual, but then we discovered a door that led to another room with two bunk beds. For a few terrifying seconds, we thought we had inadvertently signed up to share a room. Peter called the lodge and, thankfully, it was just one large private room. Whew. I spent one night in a "dorm" hostel with my sister in Switzerland, and let's just say, it was top five most horrifying experiences of my life. As in, there was a homeless woman living in the dorm room and everyone else was under the age of thirteen horrifying. Never. Ever. Ever. Again.

We were up early the following morning to embark on the next leg of our trip.

Queenstown to Lake Wanaka:

There was an amazing scenic lookout just north of Queenstown, so we stopped for a few minutes to take pictures and enjoy an aerial view of the valley below.
We came across another scenic turnoff that required some off-roading. We had to jump a fence and then climb up a rock and I'm pretty sure it was 20 degrees. For some reason, I remember being FREEZING during this stop. Apparently Peter wasn't fazed:
Peter had researched some Lord of the Rings sights in the hotel the night before, so we knew to stop at this restaurant, which is rumored to be the filming location for the Prancing Pony. I've never seen the movies so I can't offer too much context, but it was a fun stop!
We arrived at Lake Wanaka just before noon and hung out a bit by the water. We weren't sure what to expect from the small town of Wanaka, but it turned out to be really cute. There were plenty of good restaurants, a great brunch spot with free WiFi (!!!), and multiple walking tracks nearby. 
This is one of my favorite photos from the whole trip, taken as we walked along the lake after dinner:
We spent the afternoon exploring Mount Aspiring National Park, which will be featured in my next post!

More New Zealand adventures:


  1. Ah everywhere in New Zealamd is so beautiful! My parents are going to Wanaka in March to visit friends.

    1. Wanaka was surprisingly cute! I want to go back so bad!



Welcome! I started Laura and Peter Down Under in July 2014 when my husband and I moved from the States to Melbourne, Australia for his job. I blog about expat life, our travels, food, and whatever else comes to mind. Follow along on our adventures Down Under!



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