Haast Pass, New Zealand

[ 0 ] June 3, 2012 |

One of the coolest things about New Zealand is the proximity of AMAZING things.  The transalpine journey from Haast to Queensland was one of the most breathtaking road trips of my life.  We literally couldn’t drive 10 minutes without being detoured to pull over and take a quick nature walk to yet another amazing waterfall or natural beauty.  The drive down Haast Pass-Makarora Road takes you alongside the Haast River and straight through Mount Aspiring National Park.  Mount Aspiring straddles the highway and is the conservation area where most of the amazing nature walks find themselves.  From reading one or two of the informational signs, the completion of this road in the 1930’s was a pretty big deal for Kiwi’s living on the southern end of the South Island.  Not only did it take several decades to complete the road over Haast Pass, but at the time, there was no other road over the mountains other than going all the way to the north end of the island and crossing over the range from there.  Shoot, the road didn’t even get tarmac’d until 1995.  Needless to say it’s a fantastic little stretch of road right through the heart of some of the most beautiful untouched countryside.

Al Prancing Around Mount Aspiring National Park

Pat Trekking Around Mount Aspiring National Park

My favorite part of the road trip is the 80-kilometer drive between the cities of Haast and Makarora.  If you do ever get a chance to make this drive make sure you at least don’t miss these four stops along the way; Roaring Billy, Thunder Creek Falls, Fantail Falls, and Blue Pools.

Thunder Creek Falls

Although it was the longest trek off the highway, the Blue Pools was definitely my favorite.  Named the blue pools from the bluish hue of the water given to it by its glacial runoff source, this a must see sight and one of the most beautiful nature walks on the island.

Al Over the "Blue" Pools

Not to be missed is the unofficial and ongoing rock sculpture community project just across the bridge from the Blue Pools where you can try your hand at stacking rocks.  We certainly had way too much fun here and killed almost 2 hours making our very own rock skyscraper.

Sea of Sculptures

Al Making a Masterpiece

Our Finished Product

The Artists Sign Their Work

Once you pass through the lush wilderness that is Mount Aspiring National Park, the rest of the journey to Queensland is beautifully gentle.   The landscape really opens up into wild rolling grassy hills providing some amazing vantage points to view the dramatic landscape surrounding Lake Wanaka all the way down to Queensland’s Remarkables Mountain Range.

Views on the way to Queenstown

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Category: Blog, Destinations, Featured Posts, New Zealand, Pat's Blog

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