The drive home – Roxburgh Gorge, Lake Wanaka, Haast Pass and Hunts Beach

starlit skies at hunt beach

The drive home from Invercargill to Greymouth is a long one to say the least so after a recent trip down south, we broke it up with an overnight at Hunts Beach at the southern end of the West Coast.

rolling farm paddocks of southland

The first section, heading away from Invercargill through to Gore and then inland to meet with Raes Junction is predominately gorgeous rolling green farmland dotted with sheep (ok so not in this photo but trust me there were sheep…….).

roxburgh dam

From Raes Junction you start to follow the mighty Clutha River – New Zealand’s second longest river and the longest in the South Island –  she is a beauty.  We cross at Millers Flat to do the less traveled route on the other side of the river – through the Roxburgh Gorge to the Roxburgh Dam.  The colour of the water has to be seen to be believed a rich turquoise blue – stunning.

cool cows in the paddock

We make some friends along the way – check out these cuties that we just had to stop to photograph.  Think they were wondering what all the fuss was about but then I guess they get to see this scenery every day – bit like us on the West Coast, it can be easy to take what you see everyday for granted.

crazy clouds reflecting lake hawea

reflections lake hawea

The diversity of scenery in this drive is fantastic as we drive onwards again to Alexandra and then into the Lakes District first following the edge of Lake Hawea.  We get some wonderful reflections on the shores of Lake Hawea where we have snow-capped mountains feeding into crystal clear lakes.

enjoying views bank of lake wanaka

If Lake Hawea wasn’t enough eye candy after a small piece of road section called “the neck” you then came onto Lake Wanaka and drive that shore line for the next 1/2 hour. For us this is our leg stretch stop – Boundary Creek picnic area where you can safely get right down to the water’s edge.  The boys enjoy a run around and a short dip in the lake while Stephen takes – well quite a few photos to be honest, surprise, surprise.

photographer captured shores lake wanaka

Chuffed with myself I manage to get a sneaky shot of the man in action – seems it was good enough not to be deleted so I must be learning something from the master.

drive across Haast Pass

Onwards again though – while we’ve been on the road for 5 or so hours already we still have another good 2 hours ahead of us. After leaving the Lakes District behind us it is time to head on through the Haast Pass to make our way to the West Coast.  Love this drive – a road squeezed in through the Southern Alps following the river.

There are numerous waterfalls – but you’ll just have to trust me on this one as we didn’t stop to get any photos.  It is a magic drive through predominately beech forest with towering snow-capped mountains.

knights point beach west coast bush and mountains

And then we reach the West Coast.  To me I’d describe the West Coast as beauty personified.  It is alive, magical, untamed and natural.  Am I bias – well maybe just a little…..

lake moeraki west coast

We make one last stop at the shores of Lake Moeraki to catch the reflections and then it is a last-ditch driving effort to reach our destination for the night – the beautiful Hunts Beach just past Bruce Bay.

sunset reflections hunts beach

Arriving just before sunset, while I unpack the car Stephen runs off with the camera to catch the last of the daylight and the magic that is the West Coast on sunset.  Hello I do believe we’re home.

Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth on the West Coast of the South Island.  They enjoy getting out and about exploring and sharing their travels and adventures.




About coastingnz

Jan and Stephen live on the Punakaiki coastline, north of Greymouth on the West Coast, NZ and run Breakers Boutique Accommodation. They both enjoy the outdoors and are passionate about things to see and do on the West Coast and would like to share their experiences with you.
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2 Responses to The drive home – Roxburgh Gorge, Lake Wanaka, Haast Pass and Hunts Beach

  1. Will and Eko says:

    Tough to pick a favorite photo from this bunch. They all have great depth, especially that first one.

    • coastingnz says:

      Thanks Will – this was a shot from the little bach we hired for the night and the people we hired it from were blown away with the photos – nice to see from someone else’s eyes they said as you forget how beautiful a place is that you live sometimes. You do it with your photos of the fur kids playing – I so want to visit Chicago now!

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