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Guest Post: The Mountains, Lake & Glaciers of New Zealand

New Zealand, a world full of natural wonders from mountains to valleys, caves, rivers, lakes and glaciers. The beauty of this nation leaves the most seasoned traveller breathless. From the North Island to the South, there is no stone left unturned with the landscapes New Zealand has on offer.

Queenstown New Zealand


One focus, particularly since Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings series hit the cinemas, are the mountains, lakes and glaciers of the South Island. A few days touring the lower sections of the South can leave you spell bound and wanting for more.

Fox Glacier and Franz Joseph Glacier

These two glaciers, though superb to explore and admire, are also two of the world’s glaciers still yet to retreat from global warming. On top of that, they are some of the more convenient glaciers in the world to visit, laying at low altitude in a temperate climate.

Fox glacier is around 13 kilometers in length and drops over 2,600 meters from the Southern Alps to the river valley below. The nearby Franz Josef Glacier is considered one of the more inspiring sights in the world. Guided and hiking tours are available to those wanting to get up close and personal.

If you're fortunate enough to find a company that can take you on a trip from the glaciers through to nearby Wanaka to see her stunning lakes, and Queenstown’s surrounding mountains, then you’re in some luck.

Franz Josef glacier, New Zealand
Photo Courtesy: Galengray

Wanaka Highlights

The gems of Wanaka are the sights that only imagination and Mother Nature can conjure. Nestled in the Southern Lakes district, you’ll find gorgeous and peaceful Lake Wanaka.

Surrounded by mountain ranges as far as the eye can see, Wanaka township is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park and only an hour’s drive from Queenstown. If you go via Cromwell, you will also have the chance to experience Kawarau Gorge.

The Wanaka township itself, particularly in autumn and winter, is the perfect place for a little R & R, as you stroll through the ski shops and great cafes. It really is picture perfect.

The Lake, so pristine, is sometimes referred to as the “mirrored lake.” The small pebbled beach is perfect for those wanting to do a little soul searching; and the location is far from commercialised.

Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka, New Zealand
Photo Courtesy: Mark Nunneley, Travel Photographer


Going via Cromwell, the drive from Wanaka to Queenstown is around 90 minutes, depending on how many times you stop to admire the rolling views.

Queenstown has much to offer. Lakes, mountains, beaches and the Shotover River are but a few of the sights to take in. Couple this with the city life of clubs and countless restaurants, galleries, wine tasting and bungy jumping and you will always struggle to find the time to cover only half of this booming location and its world renown landscapes.

The town, named because it was considered “fit for Queen Victoria” back in its time, holds Moke Lake nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains. You can take a walk around the lake, enjoying the undisturbed nature of this wildcard. Lake Wakatipu, the crystal clear shores of which Queenstown sit, are equally as majestic and soothing to the depths of your core.


The author, Russell Calvert lives in nearby Australia and loves sharing the beauty of Australia and New Zealand through Great Ocean Road Tours.

Russell Calvert - August 17, 2016

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