After a good night’s rest, we woke up fresh and full of beans, so we decided that we should all be paragons of virtue and get some Fresh Air and Exercise (which, as you all already know, is the best way to get over jet lag)!
Getting Fresh Air and Exercise is very easily accomplished in Wanaka, but for our first morning, we decided to tackle the Mt Iron Track! This is a fairly wide and easy track up the side of a glacier-carved rocky knoll and is suitable walking for all ages and abilities, according to all accounts, so we armed ourselves with bottles of water and set off for the Mt Iron Track Carpark (which is located about 2km outside the main town centre, very close to the entrance to Wanaka Puzzling World).
The first half of the track zig-zags up the side of Mt Iron, and can be a difficult slog at times, but is definitely achievable! This was J’s first hiking trip up a mountainside at 3 years old, and I am VERY proud to say that he made it to the top all by himself, with lots of encouragement from all of us. If you’re travelling with older kids and teenagers, or even with an ambulant elder, this hike should be a breeze.
Mommy tip: Make sure you are wearing good walking shoes – the path can be steep in places, so it is not a place for flip flops.
The guidebooks state that the walk takes about 1 – 1.5 hours to complete. We took it very slow, seeing as we were trying to encourage our toddler to make his way up without being carried, and we made plenty of water breaks along the way. We were also distracted by the flora and fauna on the mountainside and had to stop many times to allow J to examine everything. In the end, it took us about 90 minutes to reach the top. Little E was in her carrier all of the way and was rocked into a deep sleep on The Barn Owl’s chest by the time we reached the top, so she missed the magnificent view!
Mommy Tip: The path is steep at times, and is not suitable for wheelchairs so tuck your infants into a carrier instead!
The top of Mt Iron has a few benches and stone slabs which are great places to stop off and have a picnic (or a nap, if you’re so inclined), and there is a 360degree panoramic view of the Wanaka and Upper Clutha Basin, and you can see The Pisa Range as well as the Southern Alps in the distance.
We continued down the other side of the Mt Iron, and completed the whole loop, walking through the kānuka shrubland and amongst the silvery manuka trees, watching the occasional rabbit scoot off into the dust…getting back home in time for a very, very well deserved lunch and a very, very well deserved afternoon nap!