Whenever someone asks me where my favourite place in New Zealand is you might think I’d say Wanaka with it’s beautiful lakes and mountains, or maybe the Coromandel with it’s long, white sandy beaches. I used to find it hard to decide where I liked best, but that was before I stumbled across Te Hapu Farm in the Golden Bay. But you won’t find this place in the Lonely Planet Guide Book, and it was by complete luck that I found it myself.
Last October I’d been looking for places to do some Wwoofing when I came across hosts, Sandra and Ken, who own a thousand acre sheep shearing and beef farm along with some holiday cottages. The farm lies on the North West tip of the South Island, in between the Kahurangi National Park and the Tasman Sea, right on the coast.
I wanted to share one of the best and most beautiful walks I did while I was in New Zealand, the Isthmus Peak Track.
It was around this time 2 years ago I was living in Wanaka for the ski season. My boyfriend, Chris, had started pre-season work at Cardrona Ski Field, but I was jobless and struggling to find work.
So one morning, I decided to get out of the house and go off by myself for a hike, hoping it might make me feel better. After a bit of research I decided to do the Isthmus Peak track, a 16km day walk that takes you up to a 1,385 metre summit. With the sun out and barely a cloud in the sky I left Wanaka and drove 30 minutes to Lake Hawea and the start of the walk.
The other day I spent some time looking through photos from my time in New Zealand. I was happily flicking through them but it was when I got to the album titled ‘Wanaka, Queenstown and Glenochy’ that I couldn’t help but stop and look at each photo again and again, thinking about where I was and what I was doing when each one was taken. I was filled with a complete sense of nostalgia, I think I’d somehow forgotten just how beautiful this part of the world is.
But looking at these photos has brought it all back to me. Arriving in Wanaka in May 2012 for my first ski season, hiking up Mount Roy, camping on the lake side, the dodgy drive along unsealed roads and through rivers to reach the Mount Aspiring National Park, and taking a road trip from Wanaka, to Queenstown and then on to Glenochy.
There’s something great about hiking up mountains. You struggle up with sweat dripping down your forehead, your cheeks red, your lungs bursting, wondering why you ever thought this was a good idea… but then you reach the top to look out over the land around you and suddenly, it all seems worth it. You’re filled with a sense of peace, lifted away from everything down below and allowed to look at the world from a different perspective. You’re on top of everything. Continue reading →