Wanaka, Cardrona & The Crown Range Road

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Visited April 2012

Day 3: Wanaka & Cardrona
Having accomplished our task of a 2 day drive up to Mackenzie, it was time for us to return back to Queenstown. As we took Highway 8 on our way up, we decided to take a different route, by detouring to Wanaka and making our way through the Cardrona Valley Road. Along the way, we chanced upon an amazing spectacle of autumn leaves.

01 Clutha

Wanaka is a nice town in the Otago region, with attractions like Puzzling World, River Journeys (Jetboating) and Eco Adventure Tours. But because we were only passing through, we could not venture much into the wondrous tourism activities. Instead, we stuck to exploring the city area, as we explored the lake, indulged in their ice-cream and visited the Farmers Market.

02 WanakaMoving on, we finally arrived at Cardrona Valley Road, where we chanced upon Cardrona, a quaint little township with a vintage feel. Not knowing much about it, we snapped a few quick pictures before heading off, whilst being surrounded by many grazing sheep.

03 Cardrona

Cardrona however, also boasts an Alpine Resort for avid skiers and snowboarders. A distinct contrast between the vintage high country feel and the modern ski resort, it is a place for almost everyone. However, to get there, one must travel through the amazingly winding Crown Range Road.

The twists and turns of the road, together with the height, are not for the faint-hearted. When we first drove through, all passengers in the car, even the driver, were in awe.  At the peak height of 1076m, the highest sealed pass in all of New Zealand, this was not something we were accustomed to. Thankfully, with the skills of our driver, we managed to get through it safely to our destination.

If I ever had the chance, I would have looked for a decent and safe place to alight to capture the winding curves of the road, but I was in too much of a shock to register that thought. If second chance permits, I would need a brave driver though to help me out with the roads, and also pray for less traffic. An aerial shot is just not possible for me without wings.

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