Wanaka Lake was a feng shui master's dream-- a lush valley-cum-ski town nestled beneath snow-capped mountains encircling a pristine lake.
The cloud formations made us feel like we were on a different planet, but a heavenly one that we weren't eager to leave, complete with ducks gliding on shimmering water and a breathtaking sunset.
We liked Wanaka for both its natural beauty and its random art installations.
We found some nice reflections of the mountains:
My partner channeled his inner monkey:
And then we stumbled upon a brontosaurus slide and playground.
The blur is my partner flying down the slide.
Lake Wanaka even looked beautiful after the sun had set, and the mountains seemed to radiate their own nocturnal light.
The next morning, we hiked up Mount Iron for a great panoramic view of the area. And true to form, even the rocks were silvery and luminescent:
Lake Wanaka from the top of Mount Iron:
Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea (on the right):
We had a real feast of a picnic, with sandwiches of cream cheese, spinach and fresh smoked salmon from the salmon farm, honey soy chips and orange juice.
We even treated ourselves to New Zealand Natural cookies & cream ice cream.
The ice cream in both Australia and New Zealand was much fluffier than American ice cream. We tried a few different kinds, and they all reminded me of Cool Whip. And the list of ingredients was much longer and included long, scary-sounding things. (Ahh, J.P. Licks. Why can't I take you and your amazing oatmeal cookie hard yogurt everywhere I go?)
But anyway, we were happy, and who can complain when enjoying a picnic with this view?
Plus, the ice cream was a little melted, which made it taste more like soft serve. And soft serve is always a good thing.
On our way back to town, with snow-covered mountains behind us and the lake in front of us, we came across these cactus flowers just growing on the side of the road. I swear, New Zealand never failed to surprise me.