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We set out on Lake Wanaka today with Wanaka Cruises to Mou Waho Island, one of 4 islands in the lake.

Our boat for our 3 hour cruise
Beautiful if slightly chilly morning.
Twin Mercs make a nice wake.
Mou Tapu island is a sacred, pre-colonial burial place for Māori. Nobody but indigenous folks allowed.

Mou Waho island has been cleared of introduced pests & predators (rats, stoats and possums) creating a reserve with diverse birdlife. The flightless Buff Weka has been ‘extinct’ on the mainland since 1920 but thrives on Mou Waho.

Also called the woodhen – so basically a pretty chicken
He was thinking Kris had something good to offer.

Students from a local high school have made ‘weta motels’ out of tree logs to harbor and protect the weta, a huge endemic insect whose history dates back to before the dinosaurs!

Ground Weta, looks like a large grasshopper.
Homes for Weta made out of logs.
The inside of the weta motel

In the middle of Mou Waho Island is a small lake called the Arethusa Pool.

the Arethusa Pool contains a small rocky island making it “an island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island in the ocean”
The island up close.
At Tyrwhitt Peak – 201 metre (659ft) elevation in 1.5Km. That was a lot of up for such a short distance.

Amazing scenery
A Manuka bush – the bees that feed on the bush make very special honey
Hard, woody seed capsules on the manuka bush

Just across the channel is the low point of a peninsula. It wouldn’t take much more water for the right side to become an island.

That isthmus was pretty skinny!

Back in town, lunch was a seriously juicy, messy burger with red pepper relish and caramelized onion – we definitely needed to wash our hands when we were done!

Then we checked out the local Lavender Farm where we tasted some wonderful honey and sampled their lavender ice cream!

Lavender getting some pollination love from a bee.

Tomorrow is our last day in Wanaka – the plan is another hike if the weather holds.

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