When camping at Lake Lanthe, we met two French girls who highly recommended this place called Paradise around the Glenorchy area. There was close to no information online or on any of the maps to pin point the exact location of Paradise. So guess what? We never found it. We did encounter some interesting snow formations that resembled a face and a circle of rocks.
We never found the place named Paradise, but what we did find is paradise within the southern parts of New Zealand. Generally speaking, most travelers would mention Wanaka and Queenstown to be the amazing parts of their tour of the country. I finally reached Lake Wanaka! The drive from Haast to Wanaka was supposed to be gorgeous, but the rain has concealed its beauty for us once again, thanks. The town of Wanaka itself is beautiful, but not very big in size. We walked along the waters until sunset. We intended to visit one of the most photographed spots in the area, the Wanaka Tree, but we kept forgetting!
We left for Mount Cook National Park the next day. If I could, I would love to spend more time here. I really looked forward to exploring Mount Cook; initially, I did not think there was time to check it out in this leg of the travel since the national park is a bit out of the way. We decided to go on the Hooker Valley track. It was an easy walking trail for a rewarding view. The scenery was amazing! I enjoyed the whole walk and it really was an effortless attempt since the trail was well paved for people of all levels of fitness to partake in. I really want to come back for New Years. It would be so cool to camp here welcoming the new year. The whole thing is very picturesque. I think in terms of natural scenery, I prefer mountains and lakes as opposed to beautiful beaches. From the bridge to the passage way of seeing the snowcapped mountains more close up, I was snapping photos nonstop.
The search for better views of the glaciers do not end there. The following day, we drove through Mount Aspiring National Park for the Rob Roy’s Peak trail. The drive was no easy task. We were off to a no network zone and unpaved roads. If an accident were to happen, we would be out of luck. The car that sped passed us, experienced that fate for not carefully driving on rocky roads. Due to rain from the prior days, many parts of the streams overflowed onto the driving path. There were several encounters where we questioned if it was possible for our non 4WD to get through. Also many animals surrounded our car from time to time. Still probably a few kilometers away from the start of the trail, we made a judgement call to park our car before this seemingly deeper body of water. It would be horrendous for our car to get stuck there. If we were not in a group of three, I suppose it would be easier to hitch a quick ride from cars who braved through the water, but the walk to the start was not so bad.
It was an easy trail, but in the blazing hot sun, I was dying from the heat. I kept my pace much slower than usual. It was not until we reached a resting point where I cooled myself off with the glacier water and ate an apple did I suddenly feel the surge of energy to breeze to the top. By the time we reached the end, I just climbed up a rock to enjoy another apple and look at the mountains and glaciers. This spot was my paradise of undisturbed exposure with nature.
Our next major stop was to Queenstown. Atlas, we reached the well talked about Queenstown. The town itself was nothing special, just filled with souvenir shops and restaurants and heaps of tourists. Not wasting anytime, we decided to get a second dinner at the famous Fergeburger. Luckily we went at an odd hour so the wait was less than 15 minutes before we got to devour the extra-large Big Al burger. It was good, but not a must-try. We were skeptical about burgers here since we had our share of good burgers in New York. Regardless, the burger is still very iconic for Queenstown and is still worthy for a sample when you are here.