Welcome back to our Snapshots Series. A feature designed to give you a visual snapshot of our favourite locations across the globe.
Simply scroll down and absorb each image, but be warned, this insta-essay is likely to inspire a serious desire to down tools and book a one way ticket to New Zealand.
Wanaka boasts glacial lakes and mountain peaks
Amid snow-capped mountains and vast glacial valleys sit Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea.
The remnants of archaic glaciers that bore through the surrounding rock during the most recent ice age, the lakes encompass one of New Zealand’s most idyllic rural retreats.
For a landscape photographer such as myself, the terrain surrounding the seemingly bottomless cobalt waters of Wanaka and Hawea inspire an insatiable desire to capture every vista in detail.
As each day passes, the sun’s rays dance across the earth highlighting azure tones and emerald hues.
I’ve been fortunate enough to visit this part of the South Island 3 times during our epic 18 month exploration of New Zealand. Camping aside Wanaka’s lake edge for a little over 3 weeks last June I watched as winter engulfed the neighbouring peaks; each morning when I woke the line of snow had travelled further down the mountains towards me.
Returning to Hawea in November the frigid weather had retreated and summer was making its presence felt with long days of glorious sunshine and a backdrop of endless blue skies.
Sadly I must resign myself to the fact that I won’t be coming back to this part of the world for a while. Despite my desire to revoke my nomadic existence and call the town of Wanaka my home, wanderlust still has a firm hold on me and for now I must follow the path ahead.
Scroll down and you’ll soon realise why this part of New Zealand’s South Island stole my heart.
The north-west tip of Lake Hawea
Renting a jet ski and launching in Lake Hawea early one morning just as the sun was rising over the surrounding peaks, we followed the main body of the lake 35km to it’s most northerly tip.
Our reward was an alpine nirvana uninhabited and undisturbed.
Linking the township of Hawea with neighbouring Wanaka, the Hawea River track follows a dam controlled route as it wends its way south to join Lake Wanaka at Dublin Bay.
Mahi was in his element surfing on the front of the board while owner Bex did all the hard work!
Jet boating on the Matakutki River
An upper tributary of the Buller River the Matakutki River flows across a glacial valley floor and down towards the deep waters of Lake Wanaka. Travelling by jet boat from Wanaka’s Glendhu Bay we explored the river and surrounding alpine landscape.
Jet skiing on Lake Hawea
At it’s eastern most tip Lake Hawea is separated from Lake Wanaka by a 1000m isthmus, and while the two lakes are not dissimilar in size they both offer a unique aquatic adventure.
We were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take our Torque Marine Jet Ski to both lakes over the course of our full day rental, and had a blast exploring the multitude of bays and shallow inlets.
River rafting in Wanaka
As we cycled the trail alongside the Hawea River we came across a white water park where some plucky rafters were attempting to tame the wild waves.
Home to many who love outdoor adventure Wanaka is a region with so much to offer.
The mountains of the south island are calling
Both Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea will forever hold a special place in my heart.
One of the first landscapes I photographed down on the south island, they captivated my sense of adventure and offered me the opportunity to explore their vast glacial waters on my own terms.