New Zealand Itinerary Day 4-6 – North + South Island Road Trip


New Zealand Day 4-6 Cover big

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New Zealand Itinerary Day 4

Franz Josef Glacier Guide Center
Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk
Lake Matheson Hotel
Lake Matheson

 

New Zealand Itinerary Day 5

Franz Josef Glacier Guide Center
Lime Tree Lodge Wanaka
Mount Iron Loop Track
Big Fig Wanaka

 

New Zealand Itinerary Day 6

Lake Wanaka
Rippon Vineyard
Crown Range Road
Te Anau Explorer Motel
Te Anau Glowworm Tour

 

<- New Zealand Day 1

 

 

New Zealand Itinerary Day 4

On our 4th day in New Zealand, we woke up early at our Franz Josef hotel to prepare ourselves for the famous Glacier Heli Hike tour that we booked in advance. As weather conditions are extremely crucial for the tour to even commence, we made a call to check if the tour was confirmed before heading over. As the weather was not at its best, the staff couldn’t confirm whether the trip was on until the last 15 – 30 minutes before the tour.

We had toast and coffee as our breakfast provided by Franz Josef Montrose. After our breakfast, we drove to the Franz Josef Glacier Guide office which is only 2-minute drive from where we stayed, hoping that we could make it to the Glacier Heli Hike tour.

New Zealand Itinerary Day 4 – Franz Josef Glacier Guide

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Franz Josef Glacier Guide1

Upon reaching the Franz Josef Glacier Guide office, we were informed that our tour had to be cancelled due to the bad weather conditions. No tours are allowed during inclement weather to ensure the safety of all participants. There is a risk of getting stuck on the glacier at high altitude if the tour was to go in the bad weather. Heavy rainfall, strong winds and low cloud cover create risks with the helicopter flights. So always be prepared that your plan for the heli hike may not work out and you will need a backup plan.

New Zealand Itinerary Day 4 – Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike Tour

New Zealand Itinerary day 4 – Franz Josef Glacier-4

Photo credit: newzealand.com

Here’s some information about the southern Alps. Along the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier are two world renowned glacier townships that provide access to the magnificent, jaw-dropping glaciers. Visitors are not allowed to access to both glaciers without a guide. Fox Glacier Guiding and Franz Josef Glacier Guides are the two main companies that provide flight+hiking tours on the respective glaciers, and they are owned by two different companies. As such, you can expect competitive, if albeit expensive, prices, and people are always torn between the two.

New Zealand Itinerary day 4 – Franz Josef Glacier-2

Photo credit: newzealand.com

We chose Franz Josef Glacier over Fox Glacier due to the majestic ice formation of crevasses and ice caves available at Franz Josef Glacier. Due to the steeper gradient of Franz Josef Glacier, the glacier is constantly moving at a slow pace and thus resulting in the formation of the stunning blue ice caves on the glacier surface. We would definitely recommend Franz Josef for the once in a lifetime blue ice experience. In addition, Franz Josef town offers more options for food and drinks as compared to Fox Glacier town. And what’s more, visitors get to have a soak in the relaxing hot pools at Franz Josef glacier.

New Zealand Itinerary day 4 – Franz Josef Glacier-GlacierCountry

Photo credit: glaciercountry.co.nz

Fox Glacier, on the other hand, is larger than Franz Josef Glacier and it has a relatively less steep incline, good for those with lower physical abilities. The walk to the Fox Glacier terminal face has a shorter distance while at the Franz Josef Glacier, it takes 45 minutes walk to the terminal face viewpoint.

New Zealand Itinerary Day 4 – Tips for Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike

The Franz Josef Heli Hike Glacier Guided tour is priced at NZD$459 per adult.

  • The 4-hour tour includes a short ride on a helicopter above rugged terrain and a 3-hour guided hike on the glacier.
  • If the tour is canceled due to weather conditions, you can either reschedule for the next available time slot, replace the tour with Glacier Valley Walk or get a refund.
  • Rain Jacket, waterproof trousers, crampons, socks, boots and gloves are provided.
  • Bring along sunglasses, sunscreen, camera and light snacks and drinks.
  • Bring along your swimwear and towel for a free entry to the glacier hot pool.
  • Reach the office at least 15 minutes prior to the booking time slot.

See here for more information about the glacier guide tour and tips before going.

New Zealand Itinerary Day 4 – Backup Plan for Franz Josef Glacier

Since its impossible to go for the heli hike tour as planned, we rescheduled the tour to the next morning. With huge disappointment, we left the Franz Josef Glacier Guide office and went on to carry out our plan B. We decided to go for a hike at the Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk, which allows us to have a glance of the glacier from a viewpoint at the end of the track.

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Franz Josef 1

Despite the cloudy weather and the high risk of rain, we couldn’t give up exploring the glacier since we had come so far to the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The carpark of the Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk is about a 10 minutes drive away from the Franz Josef Glacier Guide office. We decided to explore on our own by driving to the carpark near the starting of the trail. Alternatively, you may engage the guided tour offered by Franz Josef Glacier Guides.

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Franz Josef 2

On our way to Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk track

New Zealand Itinerary Day 4 – Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

Please take note that the walk doesn’t go onto the glacier but instead, leads to a Franz Josef Glacier viewing area. The walk takes around 1 hr 30 minutes for a return trip and you’ll walk past a waterfall on your way to the viewing area.

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Franz Josef Glacier Walk 1

At the beginning of the trail, we walked past the forest before reaching the wide open space where we could see the glacier from afar. The walk then becomes rocky but the surface is generally flat throughout the walk. A small climb is required approaching the end of the track before reaching the viewing area.

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Franz Josef Glacier Walk signboard1

New Zealalnd Itinerary Day 4 – Franz Josef Glacier Walk waterfall-1

The valley walk follows the riverbed and you can see the beautiful waterfalls – Trident Creek Falls by the side of the walk-path.

New Zealalnd Itinerary Day 4 – Franz Josef Glacier Walk waterfall-2

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Franz Josef Glacier Walk waterfall 2

Even though the views of the waterfall and glacier are beautiful, you should always be aware of the possible hazard of the surroundings. There are some warning signs at the track and they ought to be strictly followed. Be mindful that the river level may rise abruptly and flood the valley during heavy rain. And you should never cross the barrier or attempt to climb on the glacier for safety reasons. The only way to access the glacier is by following a guided tour.

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Franz Josef Glacier Walk 7

New Zealand Itinerary Day 4 – Franz Josef Glacier View

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Franz Josef Glacier Walk 2

Unfortunately global warming has caused the glacier to recede, and at the end of the Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk trail, you only get to glimpse a small part of the glacier. Oh well, it’s a free walk versus the couple of hundred bucks for the helicopter ride and guide walk on the glacier itself.

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Franz Josef Glacier Walk 6

The viewing area to have a good view of Franz Josef Glacier

The pictures you are seeing now are very different from the photos online taken a few years back.

Watch the video of how the glacier shrunk in 2 years here.

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Franz Josef Glacier Walk 5

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Franz Josef Glacier Walk signboard 2

More warning signs. Again, don’t go beyond the barriers!

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Franz Josef Glacier Walk signboard 3

I would recommend this walk if you have an extra time slot or when your heli hike tour and other activities are canceled. Otherwise, you may want to skip this walk as I presume that the glacier view at this viewpoint can’t hold a candle to what heli hike tour has to offer.

info Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

 Address:
Franz Josef Glacier Valley Access Road, Westland National Park 7886, New Zealand

Directions:
From Franz Josef Village head south on the SH-6, turn left into Franz Josef Glacier Rd after driving past the bridge over the Waiho River. Follow it for the next 3.5 km. The carpark is at the end of Franz Josef Glacier Rd. Google Maps

Time To Spend:
1.5 – 2 hours 

Opening Hours:

Contact:
+64 (7) 888 1505

Website:
Glacier Valley Walk

New Zealand Itinerary Day 4 – Lunch at The Landing

New Zealand Itinerary day 4- The Landing

Franz Josef is a small town on the west coast of Southern New Zealand. There aren’t too many choices of restaurants and The Landing is one of the more popular choices available.

 

New Zealand Itinerary day 4- The Landing3

Since we weren’t too hungry and we were told that the serving sizes are pretty generous, David and I shared a Big L Burger Lunch. The burger was priced at NZD$21 and indeed, its enough for the two of us.

 

New Zealand Itinerary day 4- The Landing Big L Burger Lunch

After our lunch, we headed straight to the Lake Matheson Motel which is only a 30-minute drive away. After checking in, we were extremely excited as we were on the cusp of one of New Zealand’s highest rated attractions – the famous Lake Matheson with its well-known mirror-like views of Aoraki/Mount Cook and Mount Tasman.

 

info The Landing

 Address:
State Highway 6, Franz Josef Glacier 7886, New Zealand

Directions:
From Franz Josef Glacier Guide office, drive along Cron St toward Wallace St, then turn right onto Cowan St. Turn left at the onto State Highway 6. Google Maps

Signature Items:
– 

Opening Hours:
7:30AM–10PM

Contact:
+64 3-752 0229

Website:
The Landing

New Zealand Itinerary Day 4 – Lake Matheson Motel

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Lake Matheson Motel 11

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Lake Matheson Motel 1

Lake Matheson Motel has one of the highest ratings among all the lodges in the area. The rooms are reasonably priced, spacious, clean and cozy. As the rooms are all spread out, it’s really quiet without the noises of random people passing by, unlike the previous motel we stayed in.

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Lake Matheson Motel 2

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Lake Matheson Motel toilet

The best thing about staying at Lake Matheson Motel is that we could actually park our car right outside the room with a proper shelter. It was raining the whole day and thankfully we got to access our car without getting wet.

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Lake Matheson Motel 4

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Lake Matheson Motel 8

There’s a kitchen included in the room. You can find all basic equipment that you need – a stove, toaster and microwave.

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Lake Matheson Motel Kitchen

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Lake Matheson Motel 7

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Lake Matheson Motel kitchenwares

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Lake Matheson Motel 10

There are maps and brochures available in the room. There are even some recommended activities to do when the weather is bad.

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Lake Matheson Motel

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Lake Matheson POI3

The maps for Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier Townships:

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Matheson POI 2 New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Matheson POI 1

Lake Matheson Motel definitely has one of the most powerful heaters we have come across throughout our journey in New Zealand. The room was even pre-heated and it was nice and toasty when we got there. This is really pretty sweet and thoughtful!

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Lake Matheson Motel Heater

 

info Lake Matheson Motel

 Address:
Corner Cook Flat Rd & Pekanga Drive, Fox Glacier 7886, New Zealand

Directions:
From Fox Glacier Hwy, turn right onto Cook Flat RdThen turn left onto Pekanga Dr. Google Maps 

Contact:
+64 800 452 243

Website:
Lake Matheson Motel

New Zealand Itinerary Day 4 – Matheson Cafe

We spent a few hours resting in the room hoping that the rain would stop. Unfortunately, the rain persisted from the morning until the next day. Since we only spent one night at Lake Matheson, we decided to head to the Lake Matheson Walk before sunset despite the rain.

There’s a beautiful cafe near the entrance of the Lake Matheson Walk. We drove to the carpark at Matheson Cafe and had a cup of hot chocolate before heading for the walk.

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Lake Matheson Cafe

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Lake Matheson Cafe 2

 

info Matheson Cafe

 Address:
1 Lake Matheson Rd, Fox Glacier 7859, New Zealand

Directions:
From Fox Glacier Hwy, drive towards Sullivan Rd and turn right onto Cook Flat Rd. Then turn right onto Lake Matheson Rd. Google Maps

Signature Items:

Opening Hours:
8AM–10PM

Contact:
+64 3-751 0878

Website:
Matheson Cafe

New Zealand Itinerary Day 4 – Lake Matheson

If you’re lucky enough to visit Lake Matheson when the weather is clear, you will see the perfect reflection of Aoraki Mount Cook and Mount Tasman on the beautiful lake.

lake matheson-doc.govt.nz

Credit: doc.govt.nz

lake matheson-newzealand.com

Credit: newzealand.com

Lake Matheson is particularly mesmerizing, especially at dawn and dusk.

lake matheson-tripadvisor

Sunrise at Lake Matheson Credit: Tripadvisor.com

The walk around Lake Matheson takes around 1.5 hours. Do note that a large portion of the Lake Matheson Walk is in a forested area so if you do go for the walk before sunrise and after sunset it will be pretty dark.

If you happen to visit Lake Matheson on a rainy day like us, you can forget about seeing the beauty of Lake Matheson. Due to the rain, we couldn’t take any decent photos of the lake. Honestly, I was a little bit freaked out when we had to walk in the dark forest after the sunset, as the rain got heavier and heavier. We had to use the flashlights from our waterproof phones.

 

info Lake Matheson Walk

 Address:
Lake Matheson Rd, Fox Glacier 7859, New Zealand

Directions:
Lake Matheson Walk starting point is right next to Matheson Cafe. Google Maps

Time to spend:
1.5 – 2 hours (40 minutes if return from jetty viewpoint)

Opening Hours:

Contact:
+64 3 752 0360

Website:
Matheson Cafe

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Lake Matheson Cafe 4

Matheson Cafe

The aren’t many food choices near Lake Matheson. We decided to cook our own dinner since we had a well-equipped kitchen in the room.

New Zealand Itinerary day 4-Dinner

Note from David – this has to be the most disgusting luncheon meat and egg ibumie ever

New Zealand Itinerary Day 5 – Second Attempt for Franz Josef Heli Hike

The next day, we decided to give the Franz Josef Helihike another try, since we couldn’t do so previously due to the bad weather. Normally when this happens, you can choose to reschedule your slot or get a refund if you can’t afford to spend one more day here.

This time, we called the center to check if the trip was on and we were told that the weather was still fine and we could come down and register for the trip. Hence, we drove for about 30 minutes back to the Franz Josef Glacier Guides.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Franz Josef Glacier Guide-1

We queued at the counter, paid for the heli hike, and changed into the attire provided. However, while we were preparing to board the helicopter, we were informed that there was a huge cloud approaching and they were forced to cancel the trip… again.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Franz Josef Glacier Guide Center-3

We were so, so disappointed that we drove all the way back and yet the trip was canceled again. And since this is our last chance, we had no choice but to give up the heli hike and leave for our next itinerary.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Franz Josef Glacier Guide -2

The guide for our heli hike trip – A nice and cool guy

New Zealand Itinerary Day 5 – Franz Josef to Wanaka

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Franz Josef 1

Soon after we got our refund for the heli hike trip cancellation, we started our journey from Franz Josef to Wanaka. The journey takes around 3 hours and 40 minutes by car and it’s one of the most spectacular scenic drives that we had in New Zealand. Not only did we pass by Haast Pass along the coastal line, we managed to see the spectacular Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka as we approached Wanaka town.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Franz Josef 4

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Franz Josef 3

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Franz Josef 2

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Franz Josef to Wanaka 1

The big contrast of scenery from the west coast to Wanaka is pretty amazing. We enjoyed how our surroundings switched from lush green rain forests to spectacular mountains accompanied by blue lakes. In order to free up some time for more hiking in Wanaka, we decided to skip lunch and only had some snacks in the car on our way to Wanaka.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Franz Josef Glacier to Wanaka 2

The drive between the mountain lakes is definitely a must-do road trip in the South Island of New Zealand.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Franz Franz Josef to Wanaka

The neck – A narrow neck that separates Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka

The are plenty of photo opportunities along the journey and if only the weather was less cloudy, the scenery would have been even more spectacular.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Franz Josef to Wanaka 3

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka 1

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Franz Josef to Wanaka 2

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Franz Josef to Wanaka 4

New Zealand Itinerary Day 5 – Lime Tree Lodge, Wanaka

After an enjoyable 4-hour drive, we have finally reached our destination in Wanaka. Instead of staying at a hotel at the heart of Wanaka town, we opted for a stay in a lodge that’s located in a privately-owned ranch.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge-10

I’m so glad that we made this choice because this is where we had a wonderful experience in a peaceful ranch. The lodge is beautiful and cozy, definitely very different from the usual boring stay at a hotel.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge-11

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge-4

New Zealalnd Itinerary Day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge-1

The lodge is run by a retired couple and there are only a few rooms available. To us, this is more like an atas (high class) version of a homestay. Despite being located within a ranch, the house and all the rooms have modern furnishings, on par with a 5-star hotel room.

New Zealalnd Itinerary Day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge-4

Imagine the moment you step out of your room, you get to enjoy the greenery, the beautifully landscaped garden and even some free range chicken taking a stroll in front of you!

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge-3

New Zealalnd Itinerary Day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge-2

The luxury accommodation is well designed and fully equipped with everything you need. Even the iron rods in the toilet are heated.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge-5

There’s a small corner with all the free drinks and snacks available for the guests. We loved the chocolate bars here!

New Zealalnd Itinerary Day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge-5

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge-ranch 1

We happened to catch a chicken wandering around right outside the lodge.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge-chicken

The common area is warm and cozy. Guests are welcome to spend time reading, relaxing while enjoying a glass of wine.

New Zealalnd Itinerary Day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge-7

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge-6

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge-9

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge-8

Dining area

 

info Lime Tree Lodge

 Address:
672 Ballantyne Rd, Luggate 9382, New Zealand

Directions:
From Wanaka Lakefront, drive about 11 minutes along State Highway 84, then take State Highway 6 to Ballantyne Rd in Luggate. Turn right onto Ballantyne Rd then you’ll reach Lime Tree Lodge. Google Maps 

Contact:
+64 3-443 7305

Website:
Lime Tree Lodge

New Zealand Itinerary Day 5 – Mount Iron

Since we only reached Wanaka in the late afternoon, we only had 2-3 hours left before sunset. Going for the famous Roys Peak was out of the question since that requires a 5-6 hour return trip. Without wasting too much time at the lodge, we drove to the nearby Mount Iron for a short hike.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka 2

On our way to Mount Iron

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka 3

Signs of autumn along the road in Wanaka

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka 4

New Zealand Itinerary Day 5 – Mount Iron Loop Track

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track 4

Mount Iron track is a circular track, ascending to 250 meters above sea level. The peak of Mount Iron offers a stunning 360-degree bird’s eye view of the unique landscape of Wanaka town.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track 10

It only takes about 45 minutes to reach the peak of Mount Iron. Even though it’s an easy track, the view of Wanaka town from Mount Iron summit is definitely worth spending the time and effort climbing to the top.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track 7

During autumn, you get to see the town dressed up in different colours. We were so astounded by the view along the track and couldn’t stop taking pictures as we hiked up.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track 6

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track 1

The circular track allows hikers to enjoy a spectacular 360-degree view of the town. I was so glad that we made it to the top because the view from Mount Iron is so beautiful.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track 8

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track 5

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track 9

Wanaka town is just so peaceful and beautiful. No high rise buildings, no pollution and surrounded by mountains and lakes.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track Peak 2

New Zealand Itinerary Day 5 – Mount Iron Summit

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track 11

Finally, after a 45-minute walk, we reached the summit of Mount Iron. The vantage point offers a stunning view of Wanaka town’s landmarks, including Lake Wanaka, Upper Clutha Basin, The Pisa range and Southern Alps.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track Peak 1

There are signboards, introducing the scenic points around the area.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track sign 1

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track Peak 8

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track 2

Along the way up to Mount Iron, we saw quite a few locals jogging up the Mount Iron track. Some even brought their dogs along. The locals are just so lucky to be able to stay in a beautiful town like Wanaka and jog while enjoying the spectacular view.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track Peak 3

Each side of the summit offers different views of Wanaka town. We were there on a cloudy day, the whole place was just so quiet and mesmerizing, I felt as if we were at some sort of paradise.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track Peak 7

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track Peak 6

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track Peak 5

New Zealalnd Itinerary Day 5 – Mount Iron Track Peak 4

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track Peak 9    New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track Peak 11

The layout of Wanaka town is so unique yet tidy. I’m so envious of the people staying here in a beautiful place like this!

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track Peak 10

 

info Mount Iron Track

 Address:
Ardmore Street, Wanaka, New Zealand

Directions:
From Lake Wanaka, drive along Ardmore St, then continue on Wanaka-Luggate Hwy. In about 4 minutes, you’ll reach Mount Iron Trail Parking, where the Mount Iron Track starts. Google Maps

Time To Spend:
1.5 – 2 hours 

Opening Hours:

Contact:
+64 3 443 7660

Website:
Mount Iron Track

New Zealand Itinerary Day 5 – Dinner in Wanaka Town

Walking down from the summit is relatively easier than going up, we walked back to the car park and went for dinner in Wanaka town.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Mount Iron Track Peak 12

After we parked our car at a carpark near the dinner place, we took a stroll along Lake Wanaka as the sun was setting. In Wanaka, most of the stores and restaurants are clustered near Lake Wanaka. You can easily find some decent restaurants in town while enjoying the view of the famous Lake Wanaka.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – lake wanaka

New Zealand Itinerary Day 5 – Big Fig Wanaka

There are quite a number of eateries along Wanaka Lakefront and we had a hard time deciding what to eat for our dinner. Among rows of restaurants at the heart of Wanaka, we decided to give Big Fig Wanaka a try.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Big Fig Wanaka 1

Big Fig Wanaka tops the Trip Advisor ranking for the restaurants in Wanaka and surprisingly the food prices are pretty affordable. The restaurant is known to have delicious slow-cooked food served in a fast-food manner.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Big Fig Wanaka 2

You get to choose from various slow-cooked meat and vegetables, as well as some healthy desserts.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Big Fig Wanaka 3

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Big Fig Wanaka 4

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Big Fig Wanaka 5

We ordered 2 medium servings of platters, it costs about $17 each. I had a plate of rice with raisin, slow-cooked beef cheek, roasted eggplant, sweet potato and fried potato. It tastes absolutely delicious and I would definitely recommend this to all of you who are visiting Wanaka!

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Big Fig Wanaka 8

The beef cheek is tender and succulent, and the sauce goes perfectly well with the rice.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Big Fig Wanaka 6

David ordered rice with raisin, free-range chicken and fried potato. Comparing the two, the roast chicken seems to be pretty mediocre.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Big Fig Wanaka 7

 

info Big Fig Wanaka

 Address:
105 Ardmore St, Wanaka 9305, New Zealand

Directions:
3 minutes walk from Wanaka Lakefront. Google Maps

Signature items:
Slow-cooked meatballs, beef cheeks and vegetarian dishes

Opening Hours:
8a.m – 9p.m

Contact:
+64 3 443 5023

Website:
Big Fig Wanaka

 

New Zealand Itinerary Day 5 – Charlie Brown Crepe

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka crepe 1

After dinner, we drove to a cute caravan crepe stall nearby for dessert. There are both sweet and savoury crepes available. The sweet flavours include Nutella, honey, jam, maple syrup, salted butter caramel, peanut, chocolate and etc. As for the savoury crepes, you can choose to add ham, various types of cheese, salmon, tomato and more.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka crepe 2

The founder, Charles is a very friendly French guy who came to New Zealand for working holiday. This unique caravan is specially made in France and shipped all the way here to New Zealand. Charles told us that even though he would love to continue his stay in New Zealand, he wasn’t able to get his visa extended. So during our visit, he was already looking for people to take over his business. Shortly after we came back from our trip, we learned from their Facebook page that he has sold the crepe business to a fellow Frenchy and left New Zealand.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka crepe 3

Delicious savoury crepes!

New Zealand Itinerary Day 5 – Wine, Canapés, Music, and Books

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Franz Josef Glacier-86

The hospitality at Lime Tree Lodge is absolutely impeccable. The friendly host, John, brought us wine and canapés as we returned to the lodge. As there were no other guests in the house that day, we got to have the whole common area to ourselves!

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka wine and cheese 1

It was an absolutely wonderful experience relaxing on the couch in the lodge. Sipping wine, eating small snacks while reading beside the fireplace, and there was even relaxing music accompanying us!

New Zealalnd Itinerary Day 5 – Wanaka-1

There were racks of books available, some introducing beautiful attractions in New Zealand. I just couldn’t stop myself from laying my hands on all these books with beautiful scenery on every page.

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Franz Josef Glacier-88

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka wine and cheese 2

Free wine, snacks, warm and cozy reading place beside the fireplace, what else could I ask for?

New Zealalnd Itinerary Day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge-6

New Zealand Itinerary day 5 – Wanaka Lime Tree Lodge fireplace

New Zealand Itinerary Day 6 – Breakfast

Initially, we planned to wake up early to visit Lake Wanaka at dawn to try our luck for some insanely beautiful photograph opportunities at the lake. Unfortunately, it was drizzling early in the morning and hence we went back to sleep and ended up waking up later than initially planned.

As we came out from the bedroom, the lovely hosts – Pauline and John welcomed us as if they have been waiting to cook us breakfast.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-breakfast wanaka

We were first served with fruits, juices, coffee, toasts with handmade jams as well as beautiful overnight oats, while John prepared some warm food for us.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-wanaka breakfast 4

Healthy & hearty breakfast

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-breakfast wanaka 2

John prepared a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, and toast based on our preference. Pauline and John have been chatting with us as we were having our breakfast. Upon hearing that we had a camera malfunctioning issue, Pauline immediately helped us out by calling her friends, sourcing for a camera battery for us. Even though in the end we weren’t able to find the battery model of my camera in Wanaka town, we were so grateful for the help from Pauline.

As we never listened to radio or read any news in New Zealand, we only learned that country was facing a cyclone from Pauline. That explained why we encountered nothing but rainy days recently which severely affected our plans. But thankfully, we were in the south-west part of New Zealand and there was only rain but not the heavy storms that were afflicting the north-east of New Zealand at the time.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-wanaka lime tree lodge

The friendly hosts, John and Pauline at Lime Tree Lodge

Overall we had an absolutely pleasant stay at Lime Tree Lodge. How I wish we could stay for another night here!

New Zealand Itinerary Day 6 – Ranch at Lime Tree Lodge

After we checked out, we took a stroll around the ranch at Lime Tree Lodge. I love how quiet and peaceful the place is, even though you don’t see too many sheep and cows around.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-wanaka lime tree lodge range 2

The lifestyle here is just so peaceful and comfortable. With all the beautiful scenery and the stories Pauline and John fed us about their retirement life in this small town, David and I were so tempted to spend our life here after retirement.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-wanaka 1

A random photo taken near the ranch, so beautiful isn’t it?

New Zealand Itinerary Day 6 – Lake Wanaka

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-lake wanaka 1

Once again, we drove to Lake Wanaka after we checked out. The famous lake is just so beautiful and the surrounding trees are all decorated with autumn colours.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-lake wanaka 2

Even though the rain stopped, the weather was still pretty gloomy. In the autumn, the clouds are generally low and that gives Wanaka a mysterious yet peaceful vibe.

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You may see ducks swimming in the lake and sometimes kids playing in the water too. If I ever get to live in Wanaka, I would be taking a stroll beside Lake Wanaka every day!

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New Zealand Itinerary day 6-lake wanaka 6

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Just look at these beautiful yellow leaves on the trees beside Lake Wanaka, this is the best thing about visiting Wanaka in the fall!

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-autumn leaves lake wanaka

New Zealand Itinerary Day 6 – That Wanaka Tree

new zealand itinerary day 6 – lake wanaka in autumn-1

Before we visited the super famous Wanaka Tree that we have seen a million times on Instagram, Pauline did warn us that recently the Wanaka Tree looks a bit different.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-lake wanaka – that wanaka tree

It did look “a bit” different, because unlike what we’ve seen in the pictures online, the tree is out of the water! We couldn’t hide our disappointment as we approached the tree, given how naked it looked. But on a brighter side, we get to have a closer look at the famous tree.

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Well, normally you don’t get to stand that close to that lonely tree, do you?

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-wanaka tree 1

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-that wanaka tree

#thatwanakatree #lonelywanakatree

 

info That Wanaka Tree/Lake Wanaka

 Address:
59 Wanaka-Mount Aspiring Rd, Wanaka 9305, New Zealand

Directions:
Park your car at Lakefront Carpark along Ardmore St and walk to That Wanaka Tree. Google Maps

Time To Spend:
30 minutes

Opening Hours:

Contact:
+64 3 443 1233

Website:
Lake Wanaka

New Zealand Itinerary Day 6 – Rippon Vineyard

The Central Otago region is well known to have some breweries that produce excellent wines. On the shores of Lake Wanaka, the family-owned Rippon Vineyard has some of the oldest vines since 1913.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-rippon vineyard -lake wanaka 2

From the carpark near that Wanaka Tree, it only takes less than 5 minutes drive to this magnificent view from the Rippon Vineyard. If you would like to have a good view of Lake Wanaka but you don’t have enough time, please at least drop by this beautiful place since its so near yet the view is so rewarding.

David and I are not really big fans of alcohol but Rippon Vineyard is just too great to be missed. Some people may have visited the winery for their distinct wines but for us, we were attracted by the stunning view over Lake Wanaka from the Rippon Vineyard.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6- rippon vineyard 1

Upon reaching Rippon Vineyard, we were so stunned and surprised by the spectacular views of the surroundings as we drove up the hill. The vineyard is surrounded by a big patch of grassland and decorated by some trees with autumn colours.

As we slowly walked towards the winery, I was so excited to see the breathtaking view over Lake Wanaka that I actually ran towards to the edge of the grassland.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-rippon vineyard -lake wanaka 1

This place is just absolutely beautiful. During our visit, there weren’t many people and it was so quiet and relaxing.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6- rippon vineyard 2

The rows of vines roll down the hill on the shores of Lake Wanaka and they are so colourful and neat. With the mountain range in the backdrop, Lake Wanaka looks even more attractive from here.

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New Zealand Itinerary day 6-rippon vineyard -lake wanaka 3

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-rippon vineyard 3

Plenty of photo opportunities at the vineyard!

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New Zealand Itinerary Day 6 – Wine Tasting at Rippon Vineyard

After spending at least 30 minutes taking photos outside, we finally decided to enter the wine cellar for the free wine tasting session.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-rippon vineyard 4

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-rippon vineyard 5

The wine tasting room is transparent to outside so while you’re tasting the great wine, you get to enjoy the beautiful scenery as well.

We were offered six varieties of wine made from the grapes grown in their vineyard. We are not wine connoisseurs it’s probably unwise to comment on the quality of the wine here. Even though the wine tasting is free of charge, you may still want to buy a bottle or two, otherwise do consider making a donation as a courtesy.

The prices of entry-level white wines at Rippon Vineyard range from NZD$25 to NZD$35, while the red wines range from NZD$59 to NZD$105. There are also some high-end wines that cost 3 digits.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-Rippon Vineyard menu

info Rippon Vineyard

 Address:
246 Wanaka-Mount Aspiring Rd, Wanaka 9381, New Zealand

Directions:
Drive for around 2 minutes on Tapley Paddock toward Wanaka-Mount Aspiring Rd. Then turn right onto Wanaka-Mount Aspiring Rd. Google Maps

Time To Spend:
1 hour

Opening Hours:
11 a.m – 5 p.m

Contact:
+64 3 443 8084

Website:
Rippon Vineyard

New Zealand Itinerary Day 6 – Lunch at Lake Bar Wanaka

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-lake bar 1

After we were done with the wine tasting session, we headed to a restaurant near Lake Wanaka for lunch. There are quite a few nice restaurants in that area and we decided to go to Lake Bar that has a great view over Lake Wanaka.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-lake bar 3

There are some outdoor tables if you would like to get closer to nature. We chose an indoor table that was facing the entrance of the restaurant. We had a fabulous view! We could see the beautiful Lake Wanaka with mountains in the backdrop.

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Lake Bar is very spacious and it is like a glasshouse that allows a clear view of the scenery outside. In the day the bar is not too crowded but by the night it can get really lively.

new zealand itinerary day 6 – lake bar wanaka -2

Initially, we decided to go to Lake Bar for lunch just for the view from the bar. We were expecting that the food over here to be mediocre. However, the food here is surprisingly much better than expected.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-lake bar fish n chips

We ordered a serving of Fish & Chips and Lamb Chop. The servings are generous and they are delicious! The Fish & Chips was served piping hot with crispy skin and a nice soft inside.

new zealand itinerary day 6 – lake bar wanaka -1

As for the Lamb Chop, we found that some of the meat was tender and juicy, near to perfection. However, some parts are a tad too tough to chew. But overall, I would say we had a great meal at Lake Bar, accompanied with the beautiful lake scenery.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-lake bar 4

The mountain view from the other side of Lake Bar

 

info Lake Bar

 Address:
155 Ardmore St, Wanaka 9305, New Zealand

Directions:
Walking distance from Wanaka Lakefront. Google Maps

Signature Item:
Lamb chop, fish & chips

Opening Hours:
11 a.m – 3 a.m

Contact:
+64 3 443 2920

Website:
Lake Bar

 

New Zealand Itinerary Day 6 – Patagonia Cafe

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-Patagonia choclates and ice cream

After our lunch, we walked to the Patagonia Chocolates cafe next door. Patagonia Chocolates was established in Arrowtown in 2005. There are several outlets in Queenstown, Wanaka, and Arrowtown. This establishment is known for selling good chocolates, ice cream and coffee.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-patagonia coffee

I got myself a cup of Mocha before setting off from Wanaka to Te Anau.

New Zealand Itinerary Day 6 – Wanaka To Te Anau

New Zealand Itinerary day 6- crown range road 1

The drive from Wanaka to Te Anau via Crown Range Road is one of the most remarkable drives throughout the journey. The scenery along the road is definitely top notch, especially on the Crown Range Road.

The main reason why we decided to go Te Anau is that we wanted to visit Milford Sound. Te Anau is around 2 hours away from Milford Sound and we would be spending two nights in Te Anau, basically the night before and after our visit to Milford Sound.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6- crown range road 2

It takes about 3 hours drive to reach Te Anau from Wanaka. The roads along the journey are curvy so you won’t be able to speed. However, the drive is accompanied by stunning scenery so it’s definitely worthwhile. A lot of people will stop by Arrowtown and Queenstown which located between Wanaka and Te Anau. Our plan was to visit Te Anau first and then return to these places before heading to Mount Cook and Mount John.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6- wanaka to te anau 1

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New Zealand Itinerary Day 6 – Crown Range Road

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If you google the most scenic drives in New Zealand, you would definitely see Crown Range Road on the list. Indeed, this beautiful mountainous road has totally surprised us. The views along the journey were absolutely stunning and the journey tops our list of most scenic drives throughout the trip.

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As Crown Range Road located within a mountainous range, the road is extremely curvy and might be a bit challenging to drive. However, if you maintain a slower speed, you can definitely reach your destination safely. Some people were saying that this road is too dangerous to drive so they opt for other options. But just look at these photos, you definitely don’t want to miss this!

New Zealand Itinerary day 6- crown range road 4

Even though the road is steep and curvy, and you’d need to perform 180-degree turns along the edges at times, the view is totally worth the effort. Just drive slow and steady, it’s actually not that difficult. But just a word of reminder, for those who have car sickness, you might want to be the one driving or take a pill before the trip.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6- crown range road 3

New Zealand Itinerary Day 6 – Explorer Motel, Te Anau

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After a 3-hour drive, we have finally reached Explorer Motel in Te Anau. Te Anau is a small town and Explorer Motel is one of the highest rated accommodations in the area. Customers can park the cars right outside of their rooms.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6- te anau explorer motel 1

Our room was very spacious and clean. There was even a kitchen and dining area included.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-Te Anau Explorer Motel room

There was a garden at the back of the room, we could just go out from the back door.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-Te Anau Explorer Motel kitchen dining area

The kitchen is big and well-equipped. If you plan to cook, Explorer Motel may be a good choice for you.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6- te anau explorer motel kitchen

Even though the room looks a bit aged, the toilet looks very new and clean.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-Te Anau Explorer Motel toilet

 

info Explorer Motel

 Address:
6 Cleddau St, Te Anau 9600, New Zealand

Directions:
From New Zealand State Highway 94, continue on Te Anau Mossburn Highway to Te Anau town. Turn left onto Quintin D, then turn right onto Cleddau Str. Google Maps 

Contact:
+64 3-249 7156

Website:
Explorer Motel

New Zealand Itinerary Day 6 – Te Anau Glowworm Tour by Real Journeys

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-real journey glowworm tour 1

If you’re like us, spending the night in Te Anau just for the sake of the day trip to MilSound and have no idea what to do here, I’ll recommend this Glowworm Tour! This tour is organized by Real Journeys, can be done in the day or at night. The tour starts from the Real Journeys office, which is at a walkable distance from our stay.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-real journey glowworm tour

The Glowworm Tour from Te Anau is priced at NZD$93 per adult. The tour includes return cruise across Lake Te Anau and a guided tour deep inside the caves filled with luminous glowworm.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-real journey te anau glow worm tour 2

The cruise from Te Anau to western shores of Lake Te Anau

The cruise from Te Anau to the shores where the glowworm caves are located takes about half an hour (if I remember correctly). If your trip is in the day, you would be able to enjoy the nice scenery across Lake Te Anau but the cruise is pretty boring at night.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-te anau glowworm

New Zealand Itinerary Day 6 – Te Anau Glowworm Cave

Upon reaching, the visitors will be divided into small groups to enter the caves. The guide will bring you into the underground caves with a rushing river the flows right through. Along the way, the guide will walk you through the history and trivia of the caves, unique rock formations and glowworms.

te-anau-glowworm-caves-newzealand.com

Credit: newzealand.com

After a brief walkthrough and explanation, you will be taken by a small boat deep into the cave to explore the wonder of the glowworm caves. The guide asked us to refrain from physical movements and stay silent as we approached the grotto where the beautiful glowworms reside.

In the extreme darkness, countless of luminous glowworms hanging from the ceiling of the cave showcase a dazzling light show. Imagine the night sky packed with numerous shining stars, the view is absolutely exceptional. Do take note that photography is not allowed in the caves.

Te anau glowworm cave – leisuretours.co.nz

Credit: leisuretours.co.nz

New Zealand Itinerary Day 6 – Briefing @ Te Anau Glowworm Cave

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At the end of the tour, you will be disembarked at the Cavern House. Complimentary coffee and tea is provided.

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At the Cavern House, you would be introduced the history of the cave as well as the glowworm lifecycle with videos.

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-Te Anau Glowworm tour 2

New Zealand Itinerary day 6-Te Anau Glowworm tour 1

The tour only takes a total of 2.5 hours inclusive of the return cruise. We’ll recommend this tour if you have some free time to spare in Te Anau, but not if you have to come all the way here just for this.

That’s all for the second part of our New Zealand itinerary (Day 4 – 6). In the next post, we will cover the third part of New Zealand itinerary (Day 7 – 9) that includes Milford Sound, Queenstown and Arrowtown.

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