Road Trip Guide to Driving New Zealand-Day 2 Hooker Valley Track & Lake Wanaka


Day 2- Hooker Valley Track & Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

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DRIVING INFO: LAKE TEKAPO TO HOOKER VALLEY TRACK

Having left Lake Tekapo, and destined for Hooker Valley Track walk (located within the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park) , we drove in a Southern direction until we reached the State Highway 8 and 80 junction. For some strange reason our GPS was temperamental with some locations and took quite some effort to program certain destinations, hence why I’m so specific in sharing our exact routes. During our planning stages I also found it beneficial to use this driving guide website of a local NZ insider. 

Once on State Highway 80 we followed it all the way until clearly marked signs indicated “Mount Cook National Park”. The drive is extremely easy, once you’ve got your GPS to behave, and we arrived at Hooker Valley Track approximately one hour later after leaving Lake Tekapo.   

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HOOKER VALLEY TRACK WALK

The walk begins at the White Horse Hill camp ground, which is a few minutes drive  away from the Mount Cook Village centre. 

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The full walk takes approximately 3-4 hours return at a moderate pace, and concludes at the milky waters edge of the glacier Hooker Lake.

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The track is extremely well maintained, however sections are rocky and can be muddy at times. The landscape is inspiring and ever-changing. Surrounded with views of The Southern Alps we walked alongside the Hooker River, crossed over 3 suspension bridges, passed through tussock grounds all whilst basking in the beauty of river, lake, mountain and glacier views. 

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Arriving at the milky glacial waters of The Hooker Glacier Lake I couldn’t resist a photo of this untameable natural wonder. The water is devastatingly cold, and formed by Glacier melt from the mountains. A few moments of dipping my hands in and I couldn’t feel my fingers for the next 10 minutes.

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Fitness and mobility obviously varying greatly amongst individuals, but as a gauge for level of difficulty our daughters (the youngest aged 7) walked this with ease, (that being said we lead an active life as a family) and the girls are fit.

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Whilst increasing in popularity, the growing crowds do not detract from this experience, so beautiful and life affirming is the landscape. Simply put, Hooker Valley Track is a must do. I’d do it again and again and again.

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 NEXT STOP… LAKE WANAKA

Invigorated after walking Hooker Valley Track and wasting no time, we immediately hit the road again, Lake Wanaka bound. Always in favour of the most scenic journey, we drove the Lindis Pass-Tarras Rd route. By now the roadside scenery had become a real life screen-saver, making it a serious challenge not to stop every two minutes to photograph the never ending beauty that stretched for miles ahead.

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(Note, a continuous drive takes approx. 2 hours from White Horse Hill car park to Lake Wanaka).

CHECK-IN: LAKESHORE SPRINGS

Arriving in the lake front town of Wanaka on a crisp but gloriously sunny afternoon, we checked in to The Lakeshore Springs luxury apartments. Privately managed apartments available for rent, with prime lakeside position, I assure you the views will leave you speechless. But then again maybe not. Maybe they’ll have you waxing lyrical like me, as I couldn’t (still can’t) stop raving about them. We felt as though we’d struck gold. The pictures on the internet do not do this place justice, as the apartments feel more like a destination than merely a place to sleep.  (Once again, for transparency, this is not a sponsored post. We were independent paying guests). 

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Modern sophistication, packaged in minimalist yet liveable styling. When we entered the front door my hubby immediately said, “when can we stay here again?”, and we’d only just arrived. Truthfully, I’m actually reluctant to tell you about them, as it’s almost too good to share, (I want to be able to stay here again without you having beaten me to a booking). But in all seriousness, I will soon be posting an in-depth accommodation review for the luxury lovers on why Lakeshore Springs Apartments is the perfect home base when in Wanaka . 

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 Day 2 drew to a close shortly after settling into our apartment, but not before a short 3 minute evening walk into the Main Street for dinner and supplies.  Dinner was enjoyed at The Big Fig, a clean eating Lebanese inspired café. Specialising in full flavoured, home cooked style meals, the food is made fresh daily.  Once again, TripAdvisor proved to be accurate in the positive reviews of this café.  We saw ourselves returning on several occasions throughout our Wanaka stay for coffees and meals. Where I ate in Wanaka will also be a separate post soon.

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The emotional high of such a stimulating day finally took it’s toll. Day 2 was  now a closed chapter in our family adventure as fatigue hit. 

The ridiculously comfortable bed, along with  free wifi is to blame as I literally fell asleep with mobile in hand whilst editing photos taken that day. Of course I didn’t realise that until the next morning when dusky pinks streamed through my unshaded window. A sunrise and no curtains drawn, with mountain ranges visible whilst in bed is my kind of alarm clock. 

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Main bedroom view whilst lying in bed

Read more about Day 3 – Hiking Roy’s Peak, Wanaka (soon)

Categories: Miscellaneous, New Zealand, Travel Stories, Travel TipsTags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 comments

  1. This is great info! We are hoping to do a similar trip next year, only we are considering camping along the way! Can’t wait to read the rest 🙂 xk

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  2. Great read! We ate hoping to do a similar trip next year, only camping it! Looking forward to reading more 🙂 xk

    Like

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