After our gruelling climb up Mount Iron the previous day, we decided that we deserved a break, so after a lazy morning we headed over to the nearby Lake Hawea, just a 15 minute drive from our home base at Lake Wanaka.
Lake Hawea is located on the border of Mt Aspiring National Park, and lies in a glacial valley fed by the Hunter River. We parked at the Kidds Bush Reserve Campsite, which has plenty of picnic tables and is right on the shores of the lake itself.
The Kidds Bush Nature walk is a very easy 1km loop walk on a wide flat dirt pathway with bridges over a couple of little streams, so it’s a great family walk for all ages and abilities.
At the time of our visit, the forest rangers had just been through the beech forest and had cut down some of the dead and dying trees, leaving wide wooden stumps that J really enjoyed climbing on. During the walk, we encouraged J to pick up sticks that were lying across the path, which kept our little guy well occupied.
The forest was nice and quiet, and this gave me time to have some nice sisterly conversations with the ABC (then still known as A Becky Lee), whilst toting 9 month old Little E on my back.
I want to say that we were inspired by the forest into discussing profound subjects, but really, A Becky Lee just spent most of that time recounting the events of the Japanese TV series, Oshin, to me.
We were reasonably hungry after our little woodland stroll, so we sat down at the picnic tables and feasted upon ham-and-cheese sandwiches.
Mommy tip: Make sure you cover up the kids, even in warm weather, as this area is prone to sandflies.
By this time, J was itching to explore Lake Hawea, so he sat down with The Barn Owl on the shingles and began building a stick garden. Occasionally, he would come across a nice, flat stone and attempt to skip it across the mirror-like surface of the lake.
Meanwhile, Little E and I went for a stroll around the lake, watching the reflection of the craggy mountains in the waters and listening to the crunch of the gravel under our feet.
The lake was so quiet and still, we didn’t feel like talking, so we just walked quietly and listened. Even Little E seemed to feel the weight of the silence, and looked around her with big eyes. Eventually, she could bear it no longer, and a little baby chuckle exploded out of her, echoing far over the waters.