The Quest for the Bluest Lake in New Zealand

After spending our first couple days in Queenstown, we drove to Lake Wanaka for the next two nights. By day 3 our only real plan was to find Lake Pukaki. As I explained here, Travis had seen it on google maps and was set out on finding this gorgeous glacial lake.

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For the record I am not positive that Lake Pukaki is in fact the bluest lake in New Zealand but it is pretty dang blue. 

After some research and conversations with some locals in Wanaka, we determined there was not too much to do around the lake but it was worth the drive just to marvel at its beauty. The journey there alone was breathtaking, I would really like to know if there are any ugly parts of New Zealand though.

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Once we arrived we realized that google maps/images had not deceived us and the water was as shockingly blue as we saw in pictures. We also realized people were not exaggerating about there not being much around the lake. There was a small information center, bathrooms and some picnic tables.

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We walked around the lake and took pictures and then became frustrated that the pictures did not seem to do the color justice. And clearly in our social media/picture obsessed world, the impressiveness of your pictures equals the quality of your trip (I kid). These are our unfiltered, unedited shots of the lake.

Confession: some of the ones with us in it are edited so that you could see our beautiful faces more clearly, sorry I’m not sorry. Also, this is the day I realized that I can not pull off the knitted headband.

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We also caught this gorgeous rainbow. I am not sure if it was just our luck but I saw more rainbows in New Zealand in a week than I have seen in the past year here.

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After we walked around for a while we decided to drive a little further down the road to the more popular Lake Tekapo. This lake had a little town center around it with shops and restaurants. We ducked into one of the first cafes we saw since it was freezing. We sat by a fire in one of the back rooms that looked out onto this view…

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There are quite a few things to do in Lake Tekapo and if I had done a better job planning this outing we would have brought our swimsuits and taken advantage of the hot springs that are located along side the lake. There are also tons of scenic flights, tours and jet boats that run in the area. Since we were there kind of in between seasons (and in the middle of the week) things were pretty quiet.

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We drove and walked around the area checking out the different vistas. I love how low the clouds look in front of the mountains. It makes you feel like you are up in the sky.

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Just a little sibling love.

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We found a quiet (and extremely blue) stream that was perfect for skipping rocks.

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Per the suggestion of the cafe employee we crossed the road and checked out the Church of the Good Shepard which is located on a hill overlooking the lake.

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They actually have services in this tiny, one room chapel. I went back to take more photos from the other side but about that time a tour bus of over eager backpackers infiltrated the place and I thought it would be rude to ask all 89 of them to get out of my shot.

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On the way home we took several other detours to check out every brightly colored body of water we could see. We also really tested Hugo the Highlander’s 4 wheel drive capabilities when Travis got us stuck in the mud and almost rolled us into the lake you see above. As much as that would have made a terrific story I am glad that we were able to get out safely (and dry).

Next up is the last of the New Zealand posts, our cruise through the Milford Sound (that’s not actually a sound but a fjord). Have a fabulous week!

Linking up with Travel Tuesday as usual!

Road Tripping around Lake Wanaka

After our first couple days in Queenstown, we hit the windy road in Hugo the Highlander (our rental car) and headed towards Lake Wanaka.

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Our first stop was in Arrowtown- where we scoped out their old fashioned chocolate shops and cute boutiques.

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Peak-a-boo pictures are always funny.  

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Travis loves making me take photos in phone booths (ex. here).

Lake Wanaka is only an hour away from Queenstown, so it wasn’t long before we arrived in our second destination.
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We followed recommendations and ate a delicious dinner at Francesca’s Italian before enjoying a night cap (of wine) back at our Air BnB.

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The next morning there was only one thing on our agenda- Lake Pukaki. Before our trip Travis was looking at Google Earth and a startling blue lake jumped out at him. After further investigation we found out it was called Lake Pukaki. From what we could gather it really was as piercing a blue as it looked in pictures and also that it was highly underrated. It was a 2 hour drive from where we were so we loaded up on caffeine, started our audiobook (The Girl on the Train- SO good) and headed to find this mysterious lake.

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It wasn’t too long before we had to stop and check out the scenery.

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Lindy Point Overlook

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We drove past several very blue rivers (or streams?) and knew we must be getting close.

When we turned the corner and saw this…

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Apparently glaciers make REALLY blue lakes.

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None of these pictures were edited whatsoever and honestly, we were disappointed that we couldn’t capture the brightness we saw in person.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon in awe of this gorgeous glacial lake and it’s neighbor Lake Tekapo. I have many more pictures from both of the lakes and will be sharing them in their own post later on. For now I will just leave you with pictures from our drive back to Lake Wanaka because in New Zealand roadside scenery is a little different then we are used to.

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As we pulled back into Lake Wanaka we were greeted with this beautiful sunset over the lake.

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Not too shabby, New Zealand.

Next week marks our one year anniversary in Australia! Time has gone by SO quickly. I will be celebrating our expat-averssary on the blog by sharing what I have learned in the past year. See you then!