Wanaka, New Zealand

The Antipodes Great Outdoors

Ins and Outs of Matukituki
Diffuse sunlight illuminates the canyon of the Matukituki River.
By amphibious pastures
Vaqueiro leads a herd through the thinned bed of the Matukituki River.
baron will
Will poses at the front of his historic plane that continues to fly day after day over Wanaka's skies.
Rob Roy Green
The thawed emerald green of Rob Roy Creek.
cold waters
Diving platform on Lake Wanaka.
intriguing world
Portico of Puzzling World a small theme park that distracts visitors with illusions.
on hold
Suspension bridge over the Matukituki River, near the place where the Rob Roy stream flows into it.
With the help of the saints
Serious cross-country exercise down the sloping path of Rob Roy Creek below.
Dilemmas of local life
Visitors to Puzzle World in a small wooden maze.
Baron Will II
Will, a local classic aircraft pilot, about to take off at Wanaka airfield.
The Wanaka Transit
Herd of sheep advances, in a row, parallel to the Matukituki River.
Business in Nature
Weekend fair, taking place outdoors by Lake Wanaka.
Rob Roy White
The Rob Roy Glacier, installed against much of the homonymous peak.
New Zealand, were there any doubts?
Scattered sheep on a green meadow with the Southern Alps mountains in the background.
If New Zealand is known for its tranquility and intimacy with Nature, Wanaka exceeds any imagination. Located in an idyllic setting between the homonymous lake and the mystic Mount Aspiring, it became a place of worship. Many kiwis aspire to change their lives there.

Sunday dawns bright.

We walked aimlessly along the grassy edge of Wanaka, New Zealand. We are stopped by the caricatured challenge to which a teenager had undertaken. “Win 50 or 100 dollars” entices the poster. The participant clings as best she can to the flexible plastic ladder.

To the surprise of the game's dynamizer, he overcomes his whims and leaves with one of the disputed notes, strolling through the kind of flea market and, at the same time, the garage that takes place all around.

Fair in Wanaka, New Zealand

Weekend fair, taking place outdoors by Lake Wanaka.

Wanaka is distracted as he can and with little. Situated just 70km away, Queenstown is New Zealand's adrenaline capital. He hasn't rested a second for decades. Instead, most of Wanaka's inhabitants pride themselves on the bucolic peace they've grown accustomed to worshiping, and share a certain terror at the prospect of their village becoming like its neighbor.

Until the date we passed through there, there was no fast food in Wanaka, nor did hordes of teenage strangers arrive with the almost sole purpose of bungee jumping or any other such radicalism. The most extreme practice in these parts is skiing and snowboarding, even so, a good distance from the village.

From Maori Origin to Kiwi Favorite Shelter

The origin of the name Wanaka comes from the corruption of Oanaka, “Anaka's Place”, Anaka was one of the first Maori chiefs in this area. The village, on the other hand, resembles so many others in the vast domain of Southern Alps of New Zealand.

It appears in the vicinity of snowy mountains, on the idyllic shores of lakes fed by melting ice. Its look, however, has something special. And if it wasn't just the setting, the wine and gastronomic culture and the community profile would always make a good difference.

Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

Diving platform on Lake Wanaka.

People from the land know each other and greet each other in an affable manner whenever they are on the street or in an establishment. More than mere greeting, residents engage in frequent outdoor activities and pastimes. In this way, they see a stronger feeling for each other and, more importantly, the solidarity that helps them to overcome difficult moments in their lives.

But those who live in Wanaka were not necessarily born there. Migrants arrive fed up with the heartless, cosmopolitan hustle and bustle of Auckland, the nation's great city. They move from Wellington, the much more restrained capital. They come from Christchurch that earthquakes insist on ravaging, from Queenstown, the mecca of extreme sports and even from European or North American countries.

As soon as they settle in, the new residents are infected by the self-love of the place. They come to revere and praise him in every coffee conversation, between residents or with passing visitors.

On the edge of a breathtaking lake of the same name

As part of the last category, we marvel at every step we take around the blue lake Wanaka, with the snow-capped peaks that jut beyond its opposite shore and the verdant hillocks that help make them stand out.

We go inside the houses, mostly made of wood, along the alluvial and verdant plain of the lake, between its sand of small washed pebbles and a sample of mountain range almost clean of both vegetation and snow. We don't come across ostentatious homes.

In good kiwi fashion, everything stays as down-to-earth as possible. When faced with the unavoidable question of what to do to support themselves, several residents limited themselves to activating the organic creativity that proliferates among New Zealanders: a certain family opened a lavender farm.

A group of friends opened a craft beer bar, which is mandatory today. A couple accompany visitors down a river on a paddle board. A lady who collected old Citroën cars, started to take people who were more enthusiastic about wine to the local wineries.

Toward the Dazzling Heights of Mount Aspiring

Several hikers and climbers guide expeditions through the surrounding valleys and mountains. After all, we are in the middle of Mount Aspiring National Park, part of you Wahipounamu, a UNESCO World Heritage stronghold covering more than 3500 km2 of the South West of the South Island.

Not being New Zealand's supreme peak – title held by Aoraki/Mount Cook which rises to 3724m, Mount Aspiring, is by far the most emblematic in the area. Seduces the fans of Great Outdoors to memorable hikes and climbs. We couldn't resist the first modality.

Meadow and Mount Aspiring in the background, New Zealand.

>Sheep scattered in a green meadow with the mountains of the Southern Alps in the background

We leave the village very early, the sun still struggling to get rid of the double blockage of mountains and morning clouds. We skirt the lake shore. We enter a succession of huge green meadows dotted with sheep, in canyons carved by the prehistoric slide of glaciers and, at intervals, in pockets of southern forest and the cold.

The asphalt quickly gives way to the gravel and imposing backdrops of Rob Roy Valley, named in honor of Scottish hero Rob Roy MacGregor, who has been revisited over and over again by Hollywood, including by the box office hit starring Liam Neeson.

Along Matukituki Flow

We follow a road that advances side by side with the Matukituki River and subjects us to as many or more meanders as the river. But it's not just the curves. The narrow way goes up and down in its entirety and almost makes us feel at sea.

As if that wasn't enough, from time to time, we come across large traffic signs that display “FORD”. After each one of them, we subject ourselves to crossing a stream, all of them, luckily, at that time, shallow.

In times of sparse rains, Matukituki also flows less, away from the torrent generated by the melting that intensifies with the increase in spring temperatures.

It didn't take long to cross a herd of cows moving in the middle of the bed, guided by kiwi cowboys supported by an old pick-up truck.

Cows on the Matukituki River, New Zealand

Cowboy leads a herd across the narrowed bed of the Matukituki River

But animal transit does not stop there. On the other side of the Matukituki, half camouflaged in the dry grass of the slope, a herd of sheep advances autonomously in a long line and in the opposite direction to the cattle, the same one in which we were moving.

Finally, we arrived at the Raspberry Creek parking lot and left the car. We inaugurated, there, a glorious path along the edge of the Southern Alps, towards some of its renowned mountains: Pico Rob Roy, Mount Avalanch and, seen in the distance, the culminating Mount Aspiring.

The trail quickly makes its way to the first slopes and inclines. Consequently, Matukituki narrows and flows in fast mode. On a suspension bridge that opens onto a hillside and a shadowy beech forest, we cross the river and meet a couple of trampers.

Matukituki River, New Zealand

Diffuse sunlight illuminates the Matukituki River Gorge

Up the Slope of Peak Rob Roy Above

On the opposite bank, we climb a good climb and sweat a good sweat. We marvel at the purity of the landscape of those islands in the South Pacific. ok, one of ten endemic New Zealand parrots that, at almost half a meter in adulthood, we see flitting above the treetops.

Suspension Bridge Over Rob Roy Creek, Wanaka, New Zealand

Suspension bridge over the Matukituki River, near the place where the Rob Roy stream flows into it.

Another stream, that of Rob Roy Creek, descends furiously from the heights. It skirts huge boulders lined with thick, velvety moss. It runs in an almost emerald green, no longer in the milky white of the Matukituki to which, at the height of the suspension bridge, it had surrendered.

When we think we're alone, left to Nature, we come to a tight elbow of the road and two cross-country runners almost drag us down the slope. Athletes reach the bridge in a flash. We, crawled up Rob Roy's rivulet.

Before long, we reach a point halfway up the slope that, at last, frees us from the dismal undergrowth. The clearing catches us with the unexpected sight of the glacier that feeds the stream and gives it its name. But a mist makes the ice diffuse and, from time to time, hides the peak overlooking the glacier.

Rob Roy Glacier near Wanaka, New Zealand

The Rob Roy Glacier, installed against much of the homonymous peak.

Only two hours had elapsed since the start of the trek, but its last stretch pointed to the sky called for a decent rest. For now, taking our time, we take the snacks out of our backpacks and improvise a picnic. As soon as we open the repast, pitch-black clouds from behind the mountains ambush us.

Confident that trouble is going to set us up, we rearrange our backpacks and make our way back to the car, just in time to avoid most of the deluge. We complete a semi-amphibian return to the village. We ate something more substantial on a terrace and planned a quick passage through Cardrona.

The Puzzling Word and Cardrona Gold Legacy Puzzling Games

Along the way, we let ourselves be intrigued by the “Puzzle World” location, a simple theme park full of puzzles and illusions of everyday life or science.

Puzzling World, Wanaka

Portico of Puzzling World a small theme park that distracts visitors with illusions.

Cardrona doesn't take long. We can identify it by the yellow and red façade of its old roadside hotel, built in 1860, in the middle of the gold rush of this southern region of New Zealand, when several villages competed for the status of greater prosperity in the then British colony.

There was Arrowtown in the vicinity of Queenstown; Otago further to the southeast, the coast of the Gulf of Hauraki on the North Island, and the Cardrona we were approaching, among others. Today, in Cardrona little more remains of this golden heyday than history and the hotel. Cardrona itself is home to a small ski resort, humble compared to Treble Cone, the most reputable on the South Island.

Whether it's snow or hot, scenes like kiwis require aerial views. Accordingly, the more affluent New Zealanders maintain a national passion for light aircraft and scenic flights. It didn't take long to discover that, again, Wanaka goes further.

The Aero-Reverence of the South Island of New Zealand

It houses a New Zealand Fighter Pilots museum that features elegant Hawker Hurricanes, Havilland Vampires and Chipmunks. We visit it. At the airfield, we ended up chatting with Will, a Classic Flights pilot dressed in a thick leather jacket, glasses and a cap, as the name suggests, all in keeping with the classic aviation era.

Classic Airplane Pilot, Wanaka, New Zealand

Will, a local classic aircraft pilot, about to take off at Wanaka airfield.

Will is about to take off for a test flight. There's a vacant seat. In good New Zealand fashion, he barely knows us but, out of nowhere, he asks us if one of us wants to accompany him.

We still hesitate, but there are several conditions and mitigations that we are forced to consider: we had a stay booked for that night, in distant Dunedin and the inns in the downunder do not forgive delays. In this visit to the kiwi nation alone, we had already flown three times over the indescribable scenery of the Southern Alps.

Finally, we didn't know if we wanted to trust the old engine of that baked museum relic. We still watched Will's noisy take-off. Confirming the waste of the aerial experience, we pointed via road to the southeastern edge of New Zealand.

Nelson to Wharariki, Abel Tasman NP, New Zealand

The Maori coastline on which Europeans landed

Abel Janszoon Tasman explored more of the newly mapped and mythical "Terra australis" when a mistake soured the contact with natives of an unknown island. The episode inaugurated the colonial history of the New Zealand. Today, both the divine coast on which the episode took place and the surrounding seas evoke the Dutch navigator.
Annapurna Circuit: 2nd - Chame to Upper BananaNepal

(I) Eminent Annapurnas

We woke up in Chame, still below 3000m. There we saw, for the first time, the snowy and highest peaks of the Himalayas. From there, we set off for another walk along the Annapurna Circuit through the foothills and slopes of the great mountain range. towards Upper Banana.
Annapurna Circuit: 1th - Pokhara a Chame, Nepal

Finally, on the way

After several days of preparation in Pokhara, we left towards the Himalayas. The walking route only starts in Chame, at 2670 meters of altitude, with the snowy peaks of the Annapurna mountain range already in sight. Until then, we complete a painful but necessary road preamble to its subtropical base.
North Island, New Zealand

Journey along the Path of Maority

New Zealand is one of the countries where the descendants of settlers and natives most respect each other. As we explored its northern island, we became aware of the interethnic maturation of this very old nation. Commonwealth as Maori and Polynesia.
Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

The Divine Earth Shard of the Banks Peninsula

Seen from the air, the most obvious bulge on the South Island's east coast appears to have imploded again and again. Volcanic but verdant and bucolic, the Banks Peninsula confines in its almost cogwheel geomorphology the essence of the ever enviable New Zealand life.
napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s - Calhambeque Tour

In a city rebuilt in Art Deco and with an atmosphere of the "crazy years" and beyond, the adequate means of transportation are the elegant classic automobiles of that era. In Napier, they are everywhere.
Christchurch, New Zealand

New Zealand's Cursed Wizard

Despite his notoriety in the antipodes, Ian Channell, the New Zealand sorcerer, failed to predict or prevent several earthquakes that struck Christchurch. At the age of 88, after 23 years of contract with the city, he made very controversial statements and ended up fired.
Tongariro, New Zealand

The Volcanoes of All Discords

In the late XNUMXth century, an indigenous chief ceded the PN Tongariro volcanoes to the British crown. Today, a significant part of the Maori people claim their mountains of fire from European settlers.
New Zealand  

When Counting Sheep causes Sleep Loss

20 years ago, New Zealand had 18 sheep per inhabitant. For political and economic reasons, the average was halved. In the antipodes, many breeders are worried about their future.
Mount cook, New Zealand

The Cloud Piercer Mountain

Aoraki/Mount Cook may fall far short of the world's roof but it is New Zealand's highest and most imposing mountain.
Napier, New Zealand

Back to the 30s

Devastated by an earthquake, Napier was rebuilt in an almost ground-floor Art Deco and lives pretending to stop in the Thirties. Its visitors surrender to the Great Gatsby atmosphere that the city enacts.
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.
Serengeti, Great Savannah Migration, Tanzania, wildebeest on river
Serengeti NP, Tanzania

The Great Migration of the Endless Savanna

In these prairies that the Masai people say syringet (run forever), millions of wildebeests and other herbivores chase the rains. For predators, their arrival and that of the monsoon are the same salvation.
Faithful light candles, Milarepa Grotto temple, Annapurna Circuit, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 9th Manang to Milarepa Cave, Nepal

A Walk between Acclimatization and Pilgrimage

In full Annapurna Circuit, we finally arrived in Manang (3519m). we still need acclimatize to the higher stretches that followed, we inaugurated an equally spiritual journey to a Nepalese cave of Milarepa (4000m), the refuge of a siddha (sage) and Buddhist saint.
Architecture & Design

the last address

From the grandiose tombs of Novodevichy, in Moscow, to the boxed Mayan bones of Pomuch, in the Mexican province of Campeche, each people flaunts its own way of life. Even in death.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.
Conflicted Way
Ceremonies and Festivities
Jerusalem, Israel

Through the Belicious Streets of Via Dolorosa

In Jerusalem, while traveling the Via Dolorosa, the most sensitive believers realize how difficult the peace of the Lord is to achieve in the most disputed streets on the face of the earth.
St. Paul's Cathedral, Vigan, Asia Hispanica, Philippines
Vigan, Philippines

Vigan: the Most Hispanic of Asias

The Spanish settlers left but their mansions are intact and the Kalesas circulate. When Oliver Stone was looking for Mexican sets for "Born on the 4th of July" he found them in this ciudad fernandina
young saleswoman, nation, bread, uzbekistan
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, The Nation That Does Not Lack Bread

Few countries employ cereals like Uzbekistan. In this republic of Central Asia, bread plays a vital and social role. The Uzbeks produce it and consume it with devotion and in abundance.
Tatooine on Earth
Matmata Tataouine:  Tunisia

Star Wars Earth Base

For security reasons, the planet Tatooine from "The Force Awakens" was filmed in Abu Dhabi. We step back into the cosmic calendar and revisit some of the Tunisian places with the most impact in the saga.  
combat arbiter, cockfighting, philippines

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

Banned in much of the First World, cockfighting thrives in the Philippines where they move millions of people and pesos. Despite its eternal problems, it is the sabong that most stimulates the nation.
forms of payment when traveling, shopping abroad
Travel does not cost

On the next trip, don't let your money fly

Not only the time of year and in advance with which we book flights, stays, etc. influence the cost of a trip. The payment methods we use at destinations can make a big difference.
Okinawa, Japan

Ryukyu Dances: Centuries old. In No Hurry.

The Ryukyu kingdom prospered until the XNUMXth century as a trading post for the China and Japan. From the cultural aesthetics developed by its courtly aristocracy, several styles of slow dance were counted.
View of Fa Island, Tonga, Last Polynesian Monarchy
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

Exotic Signs of Life

Goiás Velho, Legacy of the Gold Fever, Brazil
Goiás Velho, Brazil

A Gold Rush Legacy

Two centuries after the heyday of prospecting, lost in time and in the vastness of the Central Plateau, Goiás esteems its admirable colonial architecture, the surprising wealth that remains to be discovered there.
Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde, Landing
Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde

Santa Maria and the Atlantic Blessing of Sal

Santa Maria was founded in the first half of the XNUMXth century, as a salt export warehouse. Today, thanks to the providence of Santa Maria, Sal Ilha is worth much more than the raw material.
Boats on ice, Hailuoto Island, Finland.
Winter White
Hailuoto, Finland

A Refuge in the Gulf of Bothnia

During winter, the island of Hailuoto is connected to the rest of Finland by the country's longest ice road. Most of its 986 inhabitants esteem, above all, the distance that the island grants them.
Baie d'Oro, Île des Pins, New Caledonia
Île-des-Pins, New Caledonia

The Island that Leaned against Paradise

In 1964, Katsura Morimura delighted the Japan with a turquoise novel set in Ouvéa. But the neighboring Île-des-Pins has taken over the title "The Nearest Island to Paradise" and thrills its visitors.
Celestyal Crystal Cruise, Santorini, Greece
Nea Kameni, Santorini, Greece

The Volcanic Core of Santorini

About three millennia had passed since the Minoan eruption that tore apart the largest volcano island in the Aegean. The cliff-top inhabitants watched land emerge from the center of the flooded caldera. Nea Kameni, the smoking heart of Santorini, was born.
Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Natural Parks
Annapurna Circuit: 5th- Ngawal-BragaNepal

Towards the Nepalese Braga

We spent another morning of glorious weather discovering Ngawal. There is a short journey towards Manang, the main town on the way to the zenith of the Annapurna circuit. We stayed for Braga (Braka). The hamlet would soon prove to be one of its most unforgettable places.
Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mayan History, heads of Kukulkan, El Castillo
UNESCO World Heritage
Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico

On the Edge of the Cenote, at the Heart of the Mayan Civilization

Between the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries AD, Chichen Itza stood out as the most important city in the Yucatan Peninsula and the vast Mayan Empire. If the Spanish Conquest precipitated its decline and abandonment, modern history has consecrated its ruins a World Heritage Site and a Wonder of the World.
In elevator kimono, Osaka, Japan
Osaka, Japan

In the Company of Mayu

Japanese nightlife is a multi-faceted, multi-billion business. In Osaka, an enigmatic couchsurfing hostess welcomes us, somewhere between the geisha and the luxury escort.
view mount Teurafaatiu, Maupiti, Society Islands, French Polynesia
Maupiti, French Polynesia

A Society on the Margin

In the shadow of neighboring Bora Bora's near-global fame, Maupiti is remote, sparsely inhabited and even less developed. Its inhabitants feel abandoned but those who visit it are grateful for the abandonment.
Rostov Veliky Kremlin, Russia
Rostov Veliky, Russia

Under the Domes of the Russian Soul

It is one of the oldest and most important medieval cities, founded during the still pagan origins of the nation of the tsars. At the end of the XNUMXth century, incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Moscow, it became an imposing center of orthodox religiosity. Today, only the splendor of kremlin Muscovite trumps the citadel of tranquil and picturesque Rostov Veliky.
On Rails
On Rails

Train Travel: The World Best on Rails

No way to travel is as repetitive and enriching as going on rails. Climb aboard these disparate carriages and trains and enjoy the best scenery in the world on Rails.
A kind of portal
Little Havana, USA

Little Havana of the Nonconformists

Over the decades and until today, thousands of Cubans have crossed the Florida Straits in search of the land of freedom and opportunity. With the US a mere 145 km away, many have gone no further. His Little Havana in Miami is today the most emblematic neighborhood of the Cuban diaspora.
Saksun, Faroe Islands, Streymoy, warning
Daily life
Saksun, StreymoyFaroe Islands

The Faroese Village That Doesn't Want to be Disneyland

Saksun is one of several stunning small villages in the Faroe Islands that more and more outsiders visit. It is distinguished by the aversion to tourists of its main rural owner, author of repeated antipathies and attacks against the invaders of his land.
Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
Amboseli National Park, Kenya

A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

The first European to venture into these Masai haunts was stunned by what he found. And even today, large herds of elephants and other herbivores roam the pastures irrigated by the snow of Africa's biggest mountain.
Full Dog Mushing
Scenic Flights
Seward, Alaska

The Alaskan Dog Mushing Summer

It's almost 30 degrees and the glaciers are melting. In Alaska, entrepreneurs have little time to get rich. Until the end of August, dog mushing cannot stop.