Ship Creek got its name from an odd historical twist, but the beach and creek are a nice area for a relaxing walk. But be warned of the sandflies.
The name comes from a rather improbably shipwreck on the beach just south of the river mouth. Back in 1855 a ship struck the Australian coast and after all on board exited safely, part of the ship floated across the Tasman and beached itself in 1856.
There is a lot of drift wood on the beach and ever present birds of all types. When we were there, we also spotted a couple of dolphins playing in the surf.
There is a ~20minute walk down to Mataketake "Dune" Lake, which is a glass smooth pond separated from the sea by a small dune. (see the second picture of this tip)
As if the coast line doesn't already have enough gorgeous vantage points, there is one with great views, picnic tables and toilet facilities.
About 30km north of Haast, Knights Point is a majestic rocky outcrop dropping into the sea. There were scenic views both north and south, lots of birds circling over head and of course the sound and smell of the ocean. Very relaxing, without the annoyance of the sand flies.
Fifteen minute walk into the deep rain forest, where giant trees looming over, covered in light green moss, fresh air and beautiful chirping birds from above, lead you to a vast gorge connected by a hanging bridge. Quite wobbly but pretty secure. Just don't look down... :D
The forest thinning along the wooden path leading to a corner curving slightly. And all of the sudden, a soothing turquoise pool opens up before your eyes.... What a sight!!!
Sometimes, a tourists just have to do what tourists have to do. Moreover, since the morning was cold, I took the opportunity to go bird chasing. Actually, I was doing my run to keep myself warm while the sea birds were just lazing on the large field in front of the hotel. No worries, none of the birds were harmed. :)
You can do the Wharekai Te Kau Walk here to the beach (40 minutes). At the beach you can see pinguins, if you're lucky, I haven't seen them. The walk is quite nice though and so is the beach. Just beware of the sandflies.
The Haast Pass is the lowest route over the Main Divide, rising only to 563 metres.
The road begins as early as 1929. But it was in 1965 that they finally connected the Paringa -Haast Section of the Highway to State Highway 6. The highway now is the gateway to Wanaka.
Do check if Haast Pass is closed during winter.
Along the way after the Blue Pools, comes Thunder Creek Falls.
Beautiful clean turquoise-color river as in most part of the South Island.
The scenery is so "Lord-of-the-Ring"ish....
This is only a stroll into the forest. The water there is blue and clear enough to see the fish swimming around in it. You can also engage in rock stacking. There are a lot of sandflies here to.
If you need to feel alone and "blow the cobwebs out" - then the best medicine is going for a long walk on the beach. It's long and there is no-one else out there.