If you ever find yourself in Wanaka (rhymes with Hanukkah), New Zealand, take the Mt. Aspiring road to its end in the Mt. Aspiring National Park. You’ll run out of pavement and have to ford a few little streams — all of which are no sweat provided it’s not during the spring thaw or a downpour — but you never run out of glorious scenery.
Or incredible places to hike — or tramp as the Kiwis call it. My husband prefers walking as hiking/tramping sounds much too unpleasant for his tastes.
Our first foray was a walk along a side creek — where it looked like only sheep had trod — to get out onto the stony riverbed.
The only living thing we saw in the creek or river was an ultra-green frog. Can you spot him in this photo? Hint: He stuck his head under a rock.
Private farms are located within the national park and our second foray was a short 10-minute trek across a cow paddock to reach a lovely waterfall.
For perspective, I’m the tiny blue blotch on the right side of the photo just to the left of the leafless tree.
The cows kept their distance on our walk over, but on the way back their munching brought them to one of the step-crossings conveniently erected by the park to help trampers…uh walkers… navigate the electrical fencing put in place by the farmers.
John shooed all things bovine away and we made it back to our car without incident — by which I mainly mean we didn’t step in a cow paddy.
Our bovine adventure wasn’t finished, however. We followed Betsy down the road quite a ways until she kindly pulled over and let us pass.
Mt. Aspiring Road ends at Raspberry Creek — an alpine trailhead for walks deeper into the park along the Rob Roy Glacier Track and for serious climbers inspired to ascend the approximate 10,000 feet to the top of Mt. Aspiring.
The only ascension we attempted was driving to a ski area, Treble Cone, to take in the magnificient views from on top.