Discovering the magical Mou Waho Island

By Queenstown Life

'Queenstown Life' visits Mou Waho - here's their story when they came to visit.

I am still mind-blown. Having lived in this beautiful land for ten years Mou Waho has been on my list forever. I’ve kept saying “I want to see this place”. It has a mystical quality to it as many say “where?”. And then you explain and people say “ohhhh the island in the lake on an island in a lake”. It needs its own hashtag it’s that cool.

I had the opportunity to head out to the island (thinking I might never come back) with Lake Wanaka Tourism, the story teller Chris of Eco Wanaka Adventures, travel bloggers Citizens of The World (COTW) and Tourism New Zealand. There’s a joke in there somewhere.

We set off in our glee like school kids on a trip away. Excited, unsure of what we were about to experience but full of stories from Chris about the beauty, the work they were doing out there and it was just a short boat ride to the island. An absolute stunner of a day. The sun was shining, the wind had run away to the North Island and we were ready.

Leaving from the glistening shores of Lake Wanaka on a stinkingly beautiful day we set sail to Mou Waho which took us about 20 minutes by boat. A short hike up to the top we were greeted by Weka, a flightless bird which has been extinct on the mainland since the 1920’s. A rare and valuable sight.

Another short hike up to the top of the hill and we encountered Weta (and their amazing motels), geckos, bird song and views. Once at the top the most beautiful lake (within a lake with an island in the middle - get it yet?) greets you. We dove straight in. Crystal clear water, warm on the top and cool underneath, nothing could replace this feeling right there, right then. Tea and biscuits were served and we had the chance to relax and breathe it all in.

We then took another short walk up to the top (you thought you were there?) and the chance to look back at Wanaka, at the mountain ranges and the world below. A short time to stop, slow down and actually be quiet. Which we were. Quiet. For a whole couple of minutes. As the silence enveloped us we looked out in glee at the place we were right there. Right now. So damn lucky.

It’s not often I’m speechless, and shamefully less and less the longer I’m here, but this place. This place was spectacular. Simple, removed, quiet, beautiful. Nothing to do but look around, swim, smell, listen and taste.

You’re excited aren’t you?

Heading back to Wanaka we chatted, took photos and relished in the hot sun of the day. Still damp from our swims, hair in a tangle I couldn’t help but smile at the day and laugh at the comments on Instagram. WHERE IS THIS PLACE? was the common theme and now you know. Now you can discover for yourselves. Camp, hike, swim, drink wine, discover Mou Waho.

Thank you Eco Wanaka Adventures and Lake Wanaka