Thursday, October 26, 2017

Traipsing around Wanaka

Here's a little commentary, complete with photos, of some of the walks and cycle trips I've been doing in the last few weeks.

Mt Iron is a piece of left over glacial debris sitting at the head of Lake Wanaka. I'm pretty sure it isn't made of iron or it would have been mined into extinction by now! Well that's what we do in Australia at any rate....

Being a mere 500m above sea level, and about 240m above Lake Wanaka, it's an easy climb to capture great views right up the Lake, and also overlooks Albert Town and the Cardrona River. It forms the backdrop to my rear garden and is the only mountain my eye surgeon says I can climb at the moment. It's also a favourite for exercise training amongst the super fit Wanaka locals. The climb is short but steep in sections, and the preferred option is to run it. I'm sticking with walking myself!!

From Albert Town there are a series of tracks radiating up and down the various rivers that meet there. There's the Hawea River Track which crosses a swing bridge and then follows the Hawea River (funny that!) up to the small township by the lake's edge. I love the serenity out at Lake Hawea, though I am reliably informed it can get hellish windy and not bad for kitesurfing and windsurfing either. Brrr!!! I'll stick to my warm ocean wave riding back in West Oz thank you!

Travelling in to Wanaka from Albert Town you can either ride around the base of Mt Iron (the quick way in) or take the much more scenic Outlet Track, which is a fairly narrow track heading upstream next to the Clutha River to where it begins at Lake Wanaka. From there you ride along the lakeside with spectacular views across the water to snow capped peaks on one side, and jaw dropping mansions on the other. And most of those mansions are holiday homes of the rich lying cruelly vacant. Sigh....

A third and fourth alternative from Albert Town is to follow the Clutha River downstream. There is a choice of tracks either side of the river as it flows swiftly southward. Both tracks (Newcastle on the true left, Upper Clutha on right) finish at the Luggate Red Bridge which makes it a good 26-28km round trip. Considerably easier to do on a bicycle, but I decided to walk it! Bit of preparation for some long day and overnight walks I have planned. Aside from sore legs and a blister on one little toe, I nailed it.

Across the Albert Town bridge on the other side of the Clutha River is Deans Bank. This is a more technical mountain bike track so I've been holding off on riding it until my vision is a little better. Now that the gas bubble in my eye has mostly reabsorbed I am left with a thick cataract that limits my ability to see with clarity in that eye. But I have enough vision to have better depth perception than is possible with just the one eye, meaning I'm now overtaking and passing others with ease, and downhill riding is no longer a completely terrifying experience.

Aside from Deans Bank, there's the Dublin Bay track, a rutted and at times steep, sandy and still terrifying for me downhill run out to the tranquil waters of Dublin Bay on the eastern side of Lake Wanaka.

I'm yet to tackle the more serious mountain bike tracks in Wanaka, of which there are many that I haven't even mentioned. Tackling the tracks out to Dublin Bay via Deans Bank were a bit challenging so perhaps I shall leave the others for another year, when my eyesight is fully restored.

On that note, yet another eye review has been and gone, and I am happy to report that there is a slight possibility that my two remaining operations will be done before Christmas to restore my sight back to what it was. In fact better than it was as the plan is to correct the myopia so I won't need to wear a contact lens in that eye!

Right now I'm preparing a list of all the things I need back here for the summer and the following year in NZ, because soon I'll be jetting home for a few days of sun, sea and surf, bookclub and catchups.

Woohoo! The grounding is over!!!!!!

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