ECO Wanaka - A beach pick up.
Posted on March 09, 2013
ECO Wanaka Adventures with Chris Riley.
We sent Melanie (my front of house rigtht hand ) out with ECO Wanaka Adventures today to familiarise herself with this wonderful experience. She took some lovely pictures and annotated them below.
On the beach in front of Whare Kea, we waited for our taxi on the warm sun-soaked gravel, though unlike any other taxi, you can see this one coming on the horizon, there's no traffic and the scenery is the best on the planet - what a delight! Our taxi today is the boat that is taking us to the island of Mou Waho on Lake Wanaka. We can just see the island from the Lodge here poking out as a temptation to visitors.
As soon as we came alongside the little stone wharf on the Eastern side of the island we are greeted by the natives - Above is Chris Riley building relations.
A gentle walk on a well-formed track up the islands' sloping side gave ever increasingly spectacular views where Chris would often give us our bearings.
Almost at the top of the island we saw the small joining of land that separates Lake Wanaka with Lake Hawea. This little bit of land is called "the neck" to locals here. Historically, this Neck was used to move cattle by the early settlers and before that would have been the Maori people using this as passage whilst using the lakes for seasonal migration. Now Merino sheep are reared on these steep cliff strewn faces for wool and lamb.
On top of the world, Chris and Melanie and the Arethusa Pool. A lake within an island, within a lake, within an island. And to top that, there is an island in the Arethusa pool too!
Time for a coffee at the top of the island with one of the first Weka to be re-introduced here- Willy, is his name and he seems to know where Chris keeps the cookies! Of course we don't feed him, but he knew!
We learn of the continued efforts to make this island the wildlife sanctury that it is, Weka nearly extinct are now thriving here, indigounous trees are planted on every visit Chris makes and the gecos roam around after night-fall.
Chris knows where the gecos live and they seem to know him well, putting up no fuss with being handled by him..
By the end of the journey Chris' guests have an appreciation now for the little islands on Lake Wanaka and the purpose they have, and also the purpose of Chris' visits to the island. Contributing to the native habitat, daily observation of progress and educating the visitors - not to mention have so much fun for a half day excursion. Morning or afternoon he goes if the weather permits.
On the return trip home on the boat we are taken to this tiny waterfall that falls into incredibly deep and turquoise water from right above us.
The ECO Wanaka Experience provides a wealth of knowledge not quite the same from reading it in a book - Interestingly, what stuck with Melanie was how plants on the island had developed a way of protecting themselves from the ancient Moa (a 7ft flightless and now extinct bird) by being difficult to eat until they reached a certain height and then they developed into a completely different shape once out of harms way.
There are so many things Mel wanted to tell us all, but she left it for you to find out for yourself by taking the trip with Chris from ECO Wanaka Advntures.