Welcome to Wanaka, one of the most treasured tourist destinations in New Zealand. Wanaka is located in Central Otago, where large flocks of moas once lived, and is sheltered behind the Southern Alps in the South Island. Situated in the southern end of Lake Wanaka, this breathtaking marvel of nature is adjacent to the outflow of the lake to the Clutha River. It is primarily a resort town and is popular in both summer and winter seasons. Not unlike to Queenstown it can be referred to as a quieter less touristy version of the renowned Queenstown. The locality of this region, combined with its climatic conditions, makes it a perfect vacation destination with a large variety of outdoor activities for visitors. From hiking to sightseeing, fishing to tennis, horse trekking to heli skiing, golfing to gold panning, it offers something for everyone. Close to the Mount Aspiring National Park, Wanaka and its lake with the same name is an adventure paradise. Wanaka is at a short distance from Queenstown. However, the pace of life in this area is far calmer and slower in comparison. The region's geography offers some of the most exciting adventures in the country. Tourists who share a love of adrenaline pumping activities have substantial opportunities here. You can enjoy the thrills of paragliding, canyoning and jet boating. Wanaka is also close to several first-rate ski fields, suck as Cardrona and Treble Cone. Is it worth skiing in New Zealand? Read Tonys blog about skiing in New Zealand.
The stunning Wanaka Lake is the hub of sightseeing, relaxing and outdoor activities. Luxury Adventures highly recommends accessing both Milford Sound, Doubtful Sound and the Mount Aspiring National Park including Mt Aspiring via helicopter from Wanaka as a must do activity. These areas are very close as the crow flies and the scenery and experience unrivaled in all cases. If adventure is your thing, then jet boating around the region could be just the thing for you. Available here is a half day wilderness jet boating adventure, with stunning views of Mount Aspiring and her Glaciers. Enjoy the sightseeing as you traverse across the towering mountains, waterfalls and Lord of The Rings film locations on a truly unique jet boating sensation. Whereas, if you wish to fly over the wonderlands of Wanaka then try U-Fly Wanaka; a 2 in 1 flying joy, an opportunity to fly a plane and view the dazzling natural beauty of Lake Wanaka, the shimmering Mount Aspiring and her hidden glaciers.
One of the best times to visit Wanaka is Easter, because this is the time when you can see the Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow, a major tourist attraction of the area. Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow is held over Easter weekend every two years. The air show includes formation flying, displays of planes, acrobatics, helicopters and military vehicles. In addition, there is a wide range of ground displays, market stalls and aviation trade stands that complement the air displays and offer a wide range of souvenirs and memorabilia for purchase. The backdrop of the Wanaka hills creates the most perfect setting for this event. Whatever time of year, Wanaka is definitely worth adding to your itinerary. Come to Wanaka and experience New Zealand's true natural beauty.
Below are some suggestions about what to do In Wanaka. We've also written an article about Wanaka recommended activities that will give you further ideas.
Explore the Mountain World of Mount Aspiring National Park: Mount Aspiring National Park, just a short drive from Wanaka, has some of New Zealand’s most scenic walks. From Wanaka, the drive up the Matukituki Valley towards the park offers tantalising glimpses of the high peaks and glaciers. Treble Cone Ski Area is passed on the left and, further up the valley, remnant wetlands on either side of the road are home to a number of New Zealand’s wading birds.
Discover the Golden History of the Cardrona Valley: The Cardrona Valley gained its fame in Otago’s gold rush. Now the only gold is in the burnished swathes of tussock that cover the hills on either side of the Cardrona Highway linking Wanaka to Queenstown...
Try the Siberia Experience: The Siberia Experience leaves from Makarora at the head of Lake Wanaka (just 1.5hrs from Queenstown) and allows you to enjoy some of New Zealand's untouched scenery from the air, on land and from the water. Starting with a 25 minute unforgettable scenic flight with Southern Alps Air, 2.5 hour walk beginning in the remote Siberia Valley in Mount Aspiring National Park then a 30 minute exciting Jet Boat ride with Wilkin River Jets. Mountains, rivers, glaciers, alpine lakes, rain forest, waterfalls and more - this is your chance to see it all. Ask us how...
- Hire a guide to take you fly-fishing on the lakes, rivers and streams in the area. The region offers world class brown and rainbow trout fishing
- Lake Wanaka is a playground for sailors, water-skiers, kayakers, wind surfers, troutfishers and more...
- Go white water sledging or canyoning on the rivers
- Saddle up with a horse trek and venture into the back and beyond of Wanaka
- Walking in the mountains could be as simple as a one hour stroll or as challenging as a four day hike
- Go mountaineering with a professional mountain guide
- See a collection of flyable World War II fighter aircraft at the New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum
- Flight seeing operators are always keen to show off their playground in Milford Sound, Mount Cook and Mount Aspiring with remote area landings being available in Mount Aspiring National Park for hikers, climbers and hunters
- Warbirds Over Wanaka is held every 2 years and is classed as one of the best Warbird shows in the world
- Visit Wanaka Beerworks, a boutique brewery located next to Wanaka airport
- For an exhilarating snow experience, try heli-skiing or heli-boarding
- Nordic skiing is the thing to do at Waiorau Snow Farm
- The ski fields of Cardrona and Treble Cone are brilliantly equipped and offer a mix of terrain for skiers and snowboards of all abilities