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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wild Hills in Wanaka

For our afternoon in Wanaka, we booked the Wild Hills & Wine tour with Mark at Ridgeline Tours. He has special permission to drive to the top of a nearby mountain for spectacular views of the entire area. We start out the trip going through a ranch area full of cows.

Soon, we climb up into the sheep range area.

Climbing & climbing, we the scenery is just beautiful- bright yellow fields, brilliant green forests, clear blue skies.

We get out & take a little nature hike, where we learn a little about the history of the area & many of the plants that grow there.

We really enjoyed learning about all the unique plants & how they can be used.

Continuing deeper into the ranch & higher up the mountain, we run into the quintessential sheep blocking the roadway.

There are two main type of sheep in New Zealand & Mark told us all about the Merino and Romney.

Every single person we met in New Zealand would comment on how stupid the sheep were...

At the top of the mountain, we rounded a corner & were greeted with spectacular views of Wanaka below us.

Surrounded by lakes & mountains, it's well worth the drive to the top for the views.

We could even see a few other lakes far off in the distance.

We were on the tour with 1 other couple & while we enjoyed the views, the guide set up a mini picnic for us- drinks & snacks, tables & chairs.

This was the road through the valley that we drove in on from Queenstown.

I love little itty bitty islands & the place in the middle is a gorgeous winery that we were headed to next.

The best place around for panoramas!

We got to walk a little bit while Mark cleaned up- it was great to be out in the beautiful weather, taking a leisurely stroll.

You really feel like you are on top of the world up here.

See the little winding road down there? I also loved these silver-green trees for some reason to0- they were so pretty blowing in the wind.

Finally, Mark came to pick us up & take us the rest of the way down and onto some wine tastings.

Back down the mountain we go & Mark does a great job of telling us more about the area & the ecology of central New Zealand.

All in all, a really wonderful experience- beautiful & peaceful. We enjoying the exclusive access & being in such a small group with a great guide while learning about the natural surroundings.

GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: No hurricane in Houston, but plenty of rain & cooler weather is a nice break from the summer heat.


Ridgeline Adventures said...

Hi Amanda
Wow, thanks so much for your comments and great photos. So glad you both enjoyed this experience. I feel priviledged to be able to share this incredible part of New Zealand with people that appreciate the beauty of peace, solitude and incredible views. So thank you again. Drop me an email when you get the chance.

Ridgeline Adventures said...

Oops, should be