The Blue Pools of Haast were the first jaw dropping moments of our trip to the south island in New Zealand. We had already been enamoured by what we had seen so far – Christchurch, Franz Joseph, Lake Mapourika, Lake Matheson, and everything else in between. However, what followed in the days after reaching Haast can only be termed as purely magical!
Fair warning: As I continue to add posts and galleries from our trip to New Zealand, keep in mind that you’re going to see me use terms such as “jaw dropping”, “insanely gorgeous”, “excessive beauty”, “magical”, and a few more over-the-top adjectives. However, keep in mind that I will be using them in the strictest literal sense.
Our epic journey began on the outskirts of Paringa, at Bruce Bay. After clearing a line of trees, we came across a long beach. So, we parked our car on the side of the road and witnessed a misty spray at the end of the beach. The sun’s light was still mild, creating a soft glowing effect.
Knight’s Point & A Secluded Colony Of Seals
A good 15 minutes before we entered Haast, we came across a vantage point called the Knight’s Point Lookout. Like good tourists, we made sure we stopped at this point to take a few pictures. We stayed there for a while, soaking in the views and trying to hustle with other tourists for the perfect picture taking spot. I pulled out my zoom lens to shoot the rocks in the sea, I noticed a secluded and inaccessible beach covered in seals! Both my wife and I couldn’t believe our eyes. A private beach for seals!
After our brief stop at Knight’s Point Lookout we continued towards Haast. However, as is the case with driving in a beautiful country, we made another quick stop at a beach we saw hoping to see some seals. Sadly, there were none. But what we saw was something a way more spectacular!
Hector’s Dolphins in Haast
Hector’s dolphins are only found in New Zealand and are extremely shy (or so we were told). We saw dozens of Hector’s dolphins at this beach, riding the waves. Our jaws literally hit the floor! Both of us stared at them for so long that I forgot my camera was still lying in the car!
I quickly ran back to grab it, but these were the only images we could capture of the elusive Hector’s dolphins. I don’t know how, but we were extraordinarily lucky to have seen Hector’s dolphins in the wild like that 🙂
Through Haast Pass
After having been mesmerized and on the road since the morning, we were starving. So we made another quick stop at Haast to fuel ourselves before we embarked on what I was told was one of the most beautiful drives in New Zealand – through the Haast Pass. We stopped at the first lodge we saw in Haast where we ate the most delicious blue cod burger with whitebait in egg. I still dream of that burger till date.
Mindful of the time, we carried on driving after our lunch break. As beautiful as Haast Pass was, we tried to minimise our stops because we knew what lay ahead was far more spectacular. But of course, we had to stop for a few more pictures.
The Blue Pools of Haast
After slightly over an hour we finally made it to the Blue Pools of Haast. The pools are a 20 minute walk from the Haast Highway and are one of the most popular destinations in the Mount Aspiring National Park. As we walked down from the highway to the swing bridge, we could hear the Makarora flowing. From the swing bridge we could see trout swimming.
And no, this isn’t any Photoshop magic. This is what it looks like, for real! Transparent with hues of azure-blue, aqua, teal and turqoise! It’s nature in all it’s glory!
Sometimes it’s about the journey and sometimes about the destination. On this day, it was about both. We had been fortunate to have seen seals, dolphins, a beautiful natural park, and a stream of glacial water.
On to Wanaka
This wasn’t our last stop for the day. Wanaka, which is an hour away from the Blue Pools, was our final destination. In fact, most visitors to the Blue Pools come from Wanaka or Queenstown. We just did this journey in reverse.