This was my second visit to Wanaka – this time in a different season. The first visit was in September 2014 during winter – this visit was in November 2016, and WOW, the change is breathtaking! From fully-covered snow peaks with grey landscapes to now, peaks highlighted with the snow remnants, colorful mountainsides and river beds covered with native flowers. Valleys are greener and days are longer to enjoy the varied landscapes of blue lakes, with time to reflect on a well-placed seat beside the lake. I stayed at Wyndham Vacation Resorts Wanaka, set among the trees, away from the busy centre of Wanaka – so so peaceful.
The highlight of this holiday has been the flight to Milford Sound. Alpine Air were great – there was a chance that our flight might not stay for the boat cruse of the Sound, as the weather there was very iffy for flying with rain and winds coming in. I decided, let’s go, even if there is no cruise – the mountains and rivers will be wonderful from the air anyway. Up up and away we went, over Wanaka, the lake, above the scattered cloud, over the wonderful mountains covered in snow, glaciers, and over hidden valleys with wonderful rivers.
On to the east coast to cloudy weather, into Milford Sound we fly like a toy plane against the mountains that tower over the Sound at right angles, towering some 3,000 – 4,000 feet or more, to softly land on this air field that appears magically at the end of the water. The decision by the wonderful pilots, as there were two planes in our group, was yes to the cruise; wow, lucky us. The cruise was breathtaking with waterfalls, vertical gardens of ferns, trees etc clinging to the rock faces.
Out to the mouth of Milford Sound and back, seeing the other cruise boats and planes in the Sound looking like remote control toys against the sheer walls that surround you. On board our flight again into the skies before the window of opportunity is closed by the weather gods. The usual path up a valley is closed due to cloud, so we take another, only to have to turn around and fly north, climbing to something like 6,000 feet to pop through a hole in the cloud. This gives a great understanding of how planes splat into mountains; the skill of our pilot was exceptional.
Above the cloud were more snow covered peaks. As we fly back to Wanaka via a southern path, we see more deep valleys and rivers, and the change from wet to dry in the landscape. To arrive back at Wanaka with the sun shining on a beautiful day, wow what a contrast, wow what an adventure, and wow the difference in the weather, approx 10 degrees at Milford Sound and cloudy and 21 degrees at Wanaka and sunny. Thank you Alpine Air for the opportunity and the many pictures I have to share.
The second highlight was to wake one morning to look out at the mountains to see fresh snow! Wow, how wonderful was this, and the snow was further down the mountains than I had seen two years ago when I visited in September 2014. The photo opportunities of the changed landscape were tremendous – slopes with what appeared to be cotton wool wrapped around the tussocks of grass, or from the distance appeared to be sprinkled with what can be best be described as icing sugar. Winter was back.
What a wonderful holiday adventure this has been through the wonderful assistance of WorldMark South Pacific Club. The lovely, quiet and peaceful resort at Wanaka provided a comfy base – we must say a big thank you to the friendly employees and the unseen domestic staff responsible for the beautifully clean units!
To finish the wonderful stay, it was a joy to relax by the lake with a double scoop of ice cream accompanied with coffee on a sunny day with a slight breeze.
Wyndham timeshare Owner since 2006
Read more Wanaka (NZ) holiday stories by Wyndham timeshare Owners