Over 70 years ago, “That Wanaka Tree” began as a wooden fence post that kept livestock from wondering through the Wanaka Village.
From those origins, a beautiful willow tree has grown.
The signage nearby notes that photographers come from around the world in an effort to capture the beauty of this tree. Please visit this link to see a photo of a swarm of photographers trying to capture this distinct little tree.
Evidently the popularity of the tree and the desire for selfies is starting to damage the tree. Per a story on News Hub, Lake Wanaka Tourism is asking tourists not to climb the tree to get photos, after a branch fell off before Christmas. “The loss of a branch is a big concern as it takes longer for this particular tree to regenerate,” a Queenstown Lakes District Council spokesman told NZ Newswire. “It’s quite a small tree growing in a challenging environment with its roots often completely submerged in alpine lake water. When bark falls off, which is more likely if people climb on it, the wound can be a focus for decay fungi and other diseases,” he said.
Thankfully, there were only a few others there when Boomdee and I visited, and I definitely did not damage the tree when I took my selfie 🙂 Sadly, the selfie of Boomdee and I, due to the bright sun and the angle at which I held the camera, did not turn out.