NZ Road Trip — Wanaka and discovery of pesky sandflies

This is the third post (3 of 7) of a series on our two-week road trip in New Zealand’s South Island. If you missed the last post, you can read it here.

Next morning, we did a short hike up a rugged terrain of Fox Glacier Valley. Then we drove down the West Coast and headed inland over Haast Pass toward Wanaka.

Fox Glacier Valley Walk. We did this hike in the morning. Afternoon lighting would have been better for photographing.
The trail up a lateral moraine to a viewpoint
Looking down the valley. You can see a milky river from melting Fox Glacier.
Heading inland toward Haast Pass

Shortly after Haast Pass, we stopped at Blue Pools. The parking lot was full when we arrived. We were considering continuing to Wanaka when a spot was available, so we parked our JUCY. A walk down to Blue Pools, though easy, was longer and had some elevation loss and gain more than what an information sign suggested. It was a nice stop to stretch our legs.

Blue Pools. Isn’t that water inviting for a swim? This photo was taken from a suspension bridge over the pool.
People were hanging out at the shore of Blue Pools, but not many took a dip. Although the weather was warm, I’m sure the water was cold.

When we got back to the parking lot, I noticed that I had been bitten on my legs and ankles by sandflies. After Blue Pools, we continued to Wanaka. The scenery along the road was beautiful. The highway followed the eastern shore of Lake Wanaka for a while, then cut to the left to follow the western shore of Lake Hawea. Both Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea were formed by glacial activities and are impressively large in size.

We arrived in Wanaka in mid afternoon. Since I planned a hike in Mount Aspiring National Park the next day, we booked two nights at a holiday park in Wanaka. It was a hot afternoon in Wanaka, so we made it an easy evening and just hung out at the park. Next morning with a combination of not feeling energetic and a forecast of hot and sunny weather later in the day, we decided to forgo a long hike in the national park and opted for exploring Wanaka’s lakeshore and hiking a shorter trail up Iron Mountain.

That Wanaka Tree
A lovely public park on the lakefront in Wanaka

Well. The decision to tag on a hike up Iron Mountain after exploring the lakeshore wasn’t a great idea. It really was a hot day of walking in town. By the time we got to the Iron Mountain Trailhead, we were hot, exhausted, and low on water. Looking up at how high we had to climb in the heat of the day almost had us cancel the hike. But after sitting in the shade to cool down for a while, we decided to give it a go. Fortunately, there was a toilet with a drinking water fountain so we tanked up and refilled water bottles.

The Iron Mountain Trail was very scenic. The view of Lake Wanaka got better the higher we climbed. The trail wasn’t crowded at all. I think we saw about 10 people on our hike. After having a sandwich at the summit, we returned to the trailhead and headed back to the holiday park.

A sign at the trailhead of Mt. Iron
Lake Wanaka from Mt. Iron
After eating our sandwiches and cooling down, it’s time to return.

The spots on my legs and ankles that were bitten by sandflies started to itch. I was grateful for steroid cream and extra antihistamine pills that we brought with us. Little did we know at the time that this was just the beginning of our troubles with sandflies.

4 thoughts on “NZ Road Trip — Wanaka and discovery of pesky sandflies

  1. Thank you for your travel update. Enjoy seeing where you and Keng are headed to next. Need to publish a Rv road traveling guide.
    Love always Jane


  2. Those blue pools were so mesmerizing I don’t think I could have stopped myself from taking a dip. It would have been well worth it, cold as It may have been. Glad to hear you guys are still having a good time, sandflies withstanding.

    Look forward to the next stage of your journey!

    Liked by 1 person

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