Wanaka and Albert Town, New Zealand

Iconic view from Wanaka waterfront #thatwanakatree

The 4.5-hour drive between Milford Sound and Wanaka required a big southward dip before turning north to take us along Lake Wakatipu almost back to Queenstown. From there, we left the green and blue of the water’s edge to cross the barren landscape of desert tan and scrub brush of the Crown Range.

Albert Town/Wanaka was primarily a layover between Milford Sound and Mount Cook/ Aoraki National Park. When I’d planned this trip, I thought we might be in need of a washing machine at this point in our travels so had prioritized that. The Albert Town AirBnB turned out to be much more than that: lovely, quiet, very comfortable, budget-friendly and a short drive to Lake Wanaka and downtown. Our host hobbled out to greet us with a truly harrowing story of a hang-gliding accident six months before from which he was only just recovered enough to walk, albeit gingerly. Hang-gliding was already off my list, but this confirmed my choice. Our host had done hundreds of flights before his accident, but when I asked him if he’d fly again, he gave a firm no. read more