New Zealand: Wanaka and the East Coast


We awoke early so as to be able to bid our farewalls to David and then headed down to the lake to take some last photos of Wanaka.

Lake Wanaka 1 Helwick Street Lake Wanaka 2

We had still several days to go but meeting David had been planned as the climax of our trip and we couldn't help thinking that we were starting our return journey.

Driving to the East Coast

Leaving Wanaka 1 Leaving Wanaka 2

We left Wanaka slightly despirited but were soon reinvigorated by the scenery laid our before us. We were heading towards the mountains that divide the east and west coasts and everything was lit by the rosy dawn.

Lindts Pass

This was to be our third time passing from one coast to another but once again New Zealand had a surprise in store. We'd passed through alpine meadows and mountain forests in our previous crossings but once again we we about to experience a completly different type of scenery.

Lindts Pass 1 Lindts Pass 2 Lindts Pass 3

Lindts Pass 4

The snow capped peaks on each side seemed to glow with the sun's light and, even though a few weeks previously the thought of driving through a snow covered landscape (the road itself was clear) would have terrified us, we were enchanted by the fairytale landscape.

However we soon passed through the pass itself and down into a mountain valley which led to our first stop of the day.


Joel updates the journal

Omarama is in itself a rather unremarkable, serving as a waystation for travellers - such as ourselves - going from coast to coast. We stopped for our now ritualized morning coffee and cake and also to update the journal.

We also switched drivers and for the first time Cris took the wheel of our camper!

Cris at the wheel The road to Oamaru Lake Aviemore

Moeraki Boulders

Our end point for the day was Oamaru but we arrived earlier that we'd expected and as a result we decided to head down the coast to visit the Moeraki boulders.

This boulders are another of New Zealand's surprises, almost completely spherical and scattered all along the beach.

Moeraki Boulders 1 Moeraki Boulders 2 Moeraki Boulders 3 Moeraki Boulders 4

There is an interpretation centre which may have an explaination but we parked in the public car park and walked the hundred metres up the beach so if they have one we missed it.


After the boulders we drove back to Oamaru (Joel at the wheel again) to see if we might be able to get a look at the elusive penguins.

We parked next to the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony and entered to buy our tickets. Imagine our surprise when we were told that the penguins wouldn't be back until quarter to six!

We were rather taken aback by this statement but the ticket clerk assured us that the penguins would be punctual so we headed across the road to bar and sat down to wait a half an hour until the penguins clocked in for the night.

Construction at Oamaru breakwater

We spent the time alternativly joking about the timekeeping abilities of the blue penguin and watching a construction crew at work on the breakwater. Every wave seemed to be about to knock them into the sea.

Once the clock reached twenty to six we crossed back to the Blue Penguin Colony and headed out to the viewing area to wait for the penguins.

While we waited we were given a short talk on the habits of penguins and on the makeup of the colony itself.

Sure enough at exactly 17:45 the first penguins waddled up the ramp. As they came out of the water each had to struggle up the ramp, at every moment it seemed that the waves would suck them back into the sea but somehow they managed to stay just in front of the water (most of the time at least).

Once they left the ramp they would adjust their feathers and give a little call to see who else was home before bustling through the colony to their respective nests. Most re-appeared shortly at the entrance and started to call out over the colony - giving the appearence of a group of self-important neighbours shouting out the news of the day from their doorsteps.

We were mesmerized by this ungainly creatures and needed to reminded of the guide when it was time to go and to check under the wheels of our car before leaving and to drive with care as there the penguins sometimes ventured our along the road.

We arrived back to the camper to find two young boys carefully checking underneath all of the parked cars which enabled us to skip that step and concentrate on not running any penguins over on our way to the campsite.

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