Hiking at Lake Brunner – Day 109

Walking in the beautiful Lake Brunner

Today we are getting off the beaten track to the peaceful town of Moana and Lake Brunner!

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Video Transcript:

So today we are going to a black glacial lake. The Stunner, Lake Brunner, Can’t do better than that, right?

This morning we are leaving the beautiful Punakaiki Beach Camp and heading away from the coast just for a little while and heading inland this morning toward Lake Brunner. But the drive to get there is sensational. We take the Great Coast Road which is one of the most scenic roads in New Zealand. We are taking an awesome drive along the granite cliffs and rocky shores of the West Coast heading inland through different rainforest and vegetation and out in the distance we can see the snowy peaks of the mountains and that’s when we know we are heading somewhere awesome today.

Although this is quite a long drive and with our massive big old camper van it’s not necessarily the best one. We arrive at Lake Brunner happy because it was super super stunning. But we are not resting just yet we have a bit of a hike planned we are taking the Rakaitane Track which is a short hike on the shores of Lake Brunner which is famous for being a black glacial lake. It is a glacial lake because the river that feeds into the lake are actually sourced from the glaciers in the Southern Alps and it is a black lake because of all the tannin that are washing out from the nearby forests making it look like a very dark water lake. This makes it a perfect lake to go swim into especially in summer because the dark shade of the lake makes it heat much faster and it goes up to 27 degrees in summer. It’s super hot for a New Zealand lake.

But because it is still winter here it would be absolutely glacial for us to go swim in it so we’re enjoying the hike through the podocarp forest as well as the beautiful shores of the lake. Walking along the shore of the lakes gives us absolutely perfect views of the surrounding mountains. We have a stunning reflective views of the Southern Alps thanks to the very dark nature of the lake. It is brilliant.

This really does feel like a different pace of life here in Lake Brunner. It is super peaceful so quiet there’s only the odd boat that goes by on the lake but pretty much there’s nothing else to hear other than the birds in the forest and the rippling of the water. And this is the ideal location to stop for some lunch. I have to say I don’t want to brag but we have some of the best lunch breaks.

As with most places on the West Coast, there are a few sand flies knocking around but luckily we do have long-sleeved clothes on so it’s not too much of an issue.

So we’re going to head back along the lake and back toward the swing bridge now where we continue walking into that beautiful forest.

The becomes a reoccurring occurrence for me to say that but the forest that we are walking through is again absolutely different than anything else we’ve seen before. It really feels like every single short hike that we’re doing in New Zealand is in a complete different spot. This is really high podocarp trees with heaps of ferns at the bottom and gives us an amazing reflection on the sun. it’s really cool. it’s a place that I really really love. The Rakaitane Track is about a 30-minute return walk and the trees look amazing. they are like crooked spindly trees. the best way to describe them really is that they are lanky trees they’re just tall and thin a bit like Robin.

this is actually one of many different hikes you can do in Lake Brunner and we actually have a whole list of those hikes on BackpackerGuide.NZ so we’ll link that up in the description below.

We really love Lake Brunner. We’ve spent the entire afternoon on the shore of the lake and we’ve seen absolutely no one. It looks like nobody knows Lake Brunner even exists. So after crossing what we think is the wobbliest swing bridge in New Zealand we are back to the little township of Moana where we are staying tonight we are actually staying at the Lake Brunner Resort and they have a cafe bar restaurant that has a band tonight so we are bound to check that out.

The Lake Brunner Resort has a little bit of everything, There are backpacker dorms, motels and some powered sites for your camper van as well but we’re heading just next door to the pub where tonight not only are the New Zealand rugby team playing on TV but we are also checking out a live band as well.

Like in every little town in New Zealand everybody know everybody and we are the new faces in town. it’s really cool because a lot of locals approach us, share some tips and stuff to do actually we even meet the person that we’re going to do an activity with tomorrow. He’s going to take us on his boat and show us around the lake but in the meantime Stevie K which is the acoustic band that is playing right now is starting to hit up some tunes that everybody knows and with one drink too many we are starting to hit the dance floor with the locals. Laura is getting a little bit jealous but I get her one more drink and she’s happy.

And when we get over the swing bridge we then turn left which is my side to em.. And the reason I say left is my side because Robin doesn’t know his left and right and I’m always on the left side of the camper van so it’s easier to just say which is my side…

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