New Zealand day 7: Travel to west coast

We were moving to the next phase of our trip in New Zealand. Westland, the most sparsely populated district would be our next destination for next 2-3 days. The southern alps next to the Tasman sea with temperate rainforest is strikingly similar to our western ghats. But with snow clad mountains and glacier, it can be considered as a mix of western ghats and Himalayas!!

Snow clad mountains of westland
The first part of the journey was to retrace the path to Queenstown. The Wakapitu lake was again our companion for a good part of the drive. It required several stops as the lake was looking spectacular in the early morning. Tanu felt that it was time to get some portraits for her.

Tanu at Wakatipu lake
 The route we were taking was Te Anau —> Queenstown —> Arrowtown —> Wanaka —> Haast Paps —> Haast.

Wakatipu lake
At Arrowtown, we took a shortcut via Crown range road. At 3,677 feet , it is the highest main road in New Zealand. The road was steep as series of switchbacks quickly took us to the top. 

Switchbacks at Crown range road
Wanaka looked like a picturesque town. For us it was time to refuel the car as the petrol stations were far and few between.

At Crown range road lookout
We were again passing next to the lake!! This time it was lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka. Lot of places to stop and enjoy. They journey was very slow but we has no issues!!

Lake Hawea
It was time to stop at one of the lookouts for lunch. The place was mesmerizing. Each time, when we thought that we had seen enough of lakes, there would be another beautiful one!!

Pristine lakes of New Zealand
We were now at Makaroa, the last settlement before Haast. Between them was the Haast pass, one of the three passes that crossed over to Westland. It was completely a forest drive. 

Forests of Haast pass
There were few places to stop on Haast pass. One of them blue pools. It was an easy 10-15 minutes walk that ended at the crystal clear water. We got the first “taste” of sandflies of Westland!! We had to be on alert to ensure that we had no bites.

Blue pools
We did a quick stop at Fantail falls. It was just two minutes walk. 

Fantail falls
Haast seemed to be smaller than the normal village in India!! Our place of stay “Bay road motel” was 15 km further from Haast. It was completely away from all the civilization. It was the most isolated place we stayed in New Zealand.

Our hotel at haast
We made a visit to Haast beach in the evening. We had to cross a small private farm before reaching the beach. A sheep was peacefully grazing in the field.

Sheep at Haast
Like many places in New Zealand, we were the only ones at the place!! Time to enjoy the solitude.
Haast beach

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