Are you planning a road trip from Wanaka to Haast or vice versa and wondering what to see along the way? Well, you’re in for a treat!
The 140 km stretch from Wanaka to Haast covers some of the most dramatic and beautiful scenery on the South Island.
We’ll take you through some of our favourite places to see that always leave us mesmerized while taking the journey between Wanaka and Haast. So, buckle up, and let’s dive in!
Distance from Wanaka: 2.2 km
Distance from Haast: 144.9 km
Hours: Open 24 hours
The single willow tree on the shores of Lake Wanaka is one of the most photographed trees globally and is an iconic sight that Kiwis are proud of. This tree grew from a random seed on the lake’s rocky shore and now serves as a symbol of resilience and life.
- Visit it during sunrise or sunset to get the perfect shot. But remember, everyone else might have the same idea, so be aware of the crowds.
Franz Josef Glacier
Distance from Wanaka: 287.1 km
Distance from Haast: 144.0 km
When we think of Franz Josef Glacier, we think of the jaw-dropping views of snowy mountains and ice formations hanging like crystals. The glacier is massive, and the surrounding rainforest is lush and green—making for some of the best landscape photography shots.
- Experience the glacier at night with a guided tour. You can snowshoe through the glacier’s bright blue vistas and head to the peak for beautiful stargazing and views.
Distance from Wanaka: 16 km
Distance from Haast: 129.7 km
While Lake Wanaka might be more famous, Lake Hawea is a quieter, less crowded, and equally magnificent lake. It is also home to the Hawea Flat Reserve and the Hawea River, a popular spot for recreational fishing and water sports.
- If you have time to spare, pack a camping stove, pitch a tent, and camp by the lake’s shores to wake up to one of the most picturesque views that New Zealand has to offer.
Distance from Wanaka: 261.5 km
Distance from Haast: 118.8 km
Fox Glacier may be smaller than Franz Josef Glacier, but there is plenty to see!
Its forests are home to towering kauri trees, ferns, and mosses. The lakes are home to native fish and eels, and its mountains are home to many birds, including kea, kaka, and tuatara.
- If you are an adventure enthusiast, try ice climbing with a skilled guide.
Blue Pools Track
Distance from Wanaka: 71 km
Distance from Haast: 71.7 km
Website: Blue Pools Track
Address: Blue Pools Track, Otago 9382, New Zealand
Hours: Open 24 hours
The Blue Pools Track is an oasis of turquoise-coloured water surrounded by lush greenery and towering mountains. Stroll along the well-marked trail, and you’ll arrive at the suspension bridge from which you can see the pools.
- Go early in the morning or late in the evening to have the place all to yourselves.
Distance from Wanaka: 18 km
Distance from Haast: 74 km
Lake Wanaka is always one of our first stops when leaving Wanaka. The blue and beautiful glacial lake reflects the snow-capped mountain range in the background—captivating many who visit, including us.
Hiking trails surround Wanaka, and trekking to the top can give you the perfect vantage point of the lake and the town.
Furthermore, Lake Wanaka is a popular water sports destination, with activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and sailing widely available.
- Pack a picnic and have lunch by the lake’s shores to enjoy the peaceful view.