Head out of Wānaka past Mt Iron and across the Clutha (Mata Au) River at Albert Town.
Continue on across the river terraces, alongside Lake Hāwea, and through Manuhaea (the Neck), with beautiful views of both Lakes Hāwea and Wānaka. As your journey draws closer to the Haast Pass, look across Lake Wānaka at beech forest, alpine mountains and historic glaciers of Mt Aspiring National Park. Makarora sits right on the edge of the park and the crystal clear Makarora River. There are numerous walks and lookouts easily accessed from the roadside between Makarora and the Haast Pass.
Return to Wānaka at your own pace.
Grab a coffee at one of the many cafes in Wānaka township before setting off for the day
Before you head down the road, the Mt Iron walk is great to do if you have time and gives panoramic views over the whole Upper Clutha basin
Be sure to stop at Pembroke Patisserie for some road trip baked goods in Albert Town
Spend some time at Hook and try your hand at catching a salmon.
If you have time take the mountain bikes and ride around the Deans Bank track – 12km of flowing single track with banks and berms.
Be sure to stop in to the Food Truck at The Camp Lake Hawea for lunch.
Check out numerous photo spots, including the Lake Wānaka Lookout and the Neck (the narrow spit of land between Lakes Wānaka and Hāwea).
On your way to Makarora, you’ll notice a change – you’re heading to the rain forest.
Once in Makarora, there are two cafes to choose from: Makarora Country Cafe and Wonderland Makarora Lodge. After grabbing a cuppa, check out the beautiful fifteen minute nature walk located near Wonderland.
Continuing on, ten minutes up the road past Makarora is the Blue Pools walk through beech forest to beautiful crystal clear pools
After your Blue Pools walk, down the road stop at Cameron Flat campsite for great elevated views of valley and a nearby walk to the lookout.
Once you’ve reached Haast Pass, there’s a twenty minute walk to one more lookout – giving you big West Coast mountain views.
From here, head back the way you came to your Wānaka stay.