Wanaka

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Wanaka is a town situated on the shores of Lake Wanaka in the South Island of New Zealand. It is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park.

Get in[edit]

By road[edit]

The cheapest bus option is nakedbus.com - fares start at $1 if you book early enough.

Connectabus operate 2 return trips a day between Queenstown and Wanaka.

Approximate distances:

By plane[edit]

The closest airport with scheduled flights is at Queenstown.

Get around[edit]

The town is compact and located on the lakeshore. It is an easy walk to shops and restaurants. A number of operators offer car or mountain bike hire. Also if you're interested in getting around the area, perhaps visit Lake Hawea, there is a new local carpool system that works on a gold coin donation for a ride.

See[edit][add listing]

The Leaning Tower of Wanaka, a focal point on the grounds of Puzzling World.
  • Stuart Landsborough's Puzzling World, ☎ +64 3 443-7489. Just outside of town, Puzzling World's major feature is The Great Maze, a 1.5km, two story maze of confusing passages. The site also features dozens of optical illusions and puzzles. Open daily 8:30AM-5PM.
  • Warbirds Over Wanaka, [13]. An air show held every second Easter long weekend (last was in 2008). See over 50 aircraft from the biplanes of WWI, the stars of WWII, the Korea fighters and the jets of Vietnam. Also military vehicles and Harley Davidson motor cycles.
  • Wanaka Beer Works, [14]. Located at Wanaka Transport Museum. Learn about the brewing process and sample a brew or two in the tasting room.
  • Wanaka Autumn Arts Festival. This celebration of the arts occurs every year in late March.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Fishing, the surrounding lakes and rivers offer superb Fly Fishing. The rivers are stocked with both Brown and Rainbow Trout.
  • Cycling, rent a bike and cycle near lake Wanaka. You can ride to Albertown, or alternatively do some downhill cycling from the mountains near Wanaka.
  • Cinema Paradiso, probably one of the few cinemas in the world that can be found in the Lonely Planet guide. Relax in a cozy environment, watching the latest movies, and enjoying freshly-made cookies and ice cream. Tickets for most movies are $15, although 3D movies can be slightly more expensive. 72 Brownston Street, Wanaka -- 03 443 1505 -- www.paradiso.net.nz/
  • Skiing, Lake Wanaka is both a skiers and snowboarders paradise. Close to 4 ski resorts. Heliskiing and cross country skiing are also possibilities.
  • Wine [18], take a tour around the local estates

Wanaka is a mecca for outdoor adventure; trail hikes and day hikes, rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, mountaineering, boating on the lake or rivers, horsetrekking, skydiving, scenic flights etc...

Wanaka attracts international tourists year-round.Many are attracted to the region’s huge range of adventure activities, hiking in the rugged and spectacular Mt. Aspiring National Park World Heritage area; or to ski one of Otago's world-renowned skifields - Cardrona, Treble Cone, Coronet Peak and the Remarkables.

You can take scenic flights, go skydiving, paragliding, bungee-jumping, go lake cruising, jet boating or rafting, take a Lord of the Rings tour, go fishing, play golf, climbing, canyoning, kayaking or canoeing, mountain-bike riding or horse riding.

Or just take in its magnificent scenery, explore the stunning Otago Lakes region, go wine-tasting, or exploring historic Arrowtown or Queenstown.

In addition to overnight and multi-day hikes such as Gillespie Pass, French Ridge, Cascade Saddle and etc there are an ever increasing number of enjoyable day walks. Probably the most popular of these and the most satisfying is the Rob Roy glacier hike in Mt Aspiring National Park, closely followed by the circuit Diamond Lake track and the Mt Roy track. New additions include the trail (best mountain biked) out to beautiful Colquhouns beach and on to the Rumbling Burn.

Several operators offer guided cruises out to the islands on Lake Wanaka. Both Mou Waho and Stevenson's island provide wildlife sanctuaries for birds. Mou Waho is a larger island with a small lake which you can walk up to. Lake Wanaka itself is the third largest lake in New Zealand and has a maximum depth of over a 1000ft. There are beaches close by town which offer swimming and sailing or windsurfing, as well as idyllic and virtually deserted beaches 5-10min drive from the township.

  • Skydive Lake Wanaka, 14 Mustang La, Wanaka Airport, SH6 (10min drive from Wanaka or 1h15 drive from Queenstown), +64 3 443-7207 or FREEphone NZ 0800 786 877, [1]. 8am-8pm. Multi award winning dropzone From $329.  edit
  • TravelTruly Fly Fishing, Wanaka (Pickup/Drop off), +64 21 2469616, [2]. A day of Fly Fishing In New Zealand is a great way to experience not just some of the best trout fishing in the world but also a chance to get out into the wilderness and indulge in the countries amazing landscape.  edit

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Deep Canyon (Guided canyon adventures), 99 Ardmore St, 03 443 7922, [3]. Nov-Apr daily 07:00-11:00. Descend the spectacular canyons of the Matukituki valley. Explore your way through crystal pools and native forest. Plunge down water polished chutes, abseil down waterfalls. Climb, swim and float through a spectacular world of water sculpted rock and sparkling, crashing waterfalls. $225 upwards. (44.42,169.09) edit
  • New Zealand Heli Skiing (New Zealand Heli Skiing), 37 Shotover St, Queenstown, 03 442 6222, [4]. Premier New Zealand heli ski operator  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Finchey's Bar and Restaurant is on 2 Dunmore St and built on the 1880 old Wanaka jail site.
  • McGregor's Restaurant, 54 Reece Crescent, +64 3 443-5200. Local cuisine, outdoor seating. Huge meals. (-44.691387,169.142952) edit
  • VICE Food Co., Mitre10, 35 Plantation Road (just ouside the Mitre10), 027 353 3599. Cheap but delicious food.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • AmiGos Mexican Grill, 34 Ardmore St, [5].  edit
  • LaLaLand, Level 1, 99 Ardmore St.  edit
  • Shooters Bar, 145 Ardmore St.  edit
  • Red Rock Bar & Cafe, 68 Ardmore St.  edit
  • Fitzpatrick's Irish Pub, 59 Helwick St..  edit


Sleep[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

Wanaka currently has 7 backpacker hostels, ranging in quality and size, but all generally similar prices per night.

  • BBH Wanaka Bakpaka, 117 Lakeside Rd, Wanaka, +64 3443 7837, [6]. The highest rated hostel in Wanaka, located around 5 minutes walk from the centre of the town. Prices begin at $30 for a dorm bed, with discounts available for current BBH members.  edit
  • BBH Mountain View Backpackers, 7 Russell St, Wanaka 9305, +64 3443 9010, [7]. A homely style backpacker, very close to the local supermarket, Cinema Paradiso, and DOC office. Prices start at $31 for a 6-bed dorm, and $34 for a 4-bed.  edit
  • BBH Holly's Backpackers, 71 Upton St, Wanaka, +64 3443 8187, [8]. Basic dorms & private rooms in a simple hostel featuring BBQs, a guest kitchen & a garden.  edit
  • Matterhorn South Hostel, 56 Brownston St, Wanaka, +64 3443 1119, [9]. Centrally-located with the option of either Lodge or Backpacker accommodation. The hostel has a cozy atmosphere, around a gas fire. Prices stand at $33 for an 8-bed dorm.  edit
  • Flying Kiwi Backpackers, 21 Russell St, Wanaka, +64 3443 6723. They provide a laid back kiwi experience, a friendly welcome, traveller friendly affordable accommodation, with simple surroundings that provide everything you could need. Prices start at $29 for an 8-bed dorm, with a 4-bed dorm available for $34. (Not to be confused with Flaming Kiwi Backpackers, located in Queenstown)  edit
  • YHA Wanaka Purple Cow, 94 Brownston St, Wanaka, +64 3443 1880, [10]. Laid-back hostel offering mixed & female-only dorms, plus private rooms & free Wi-Fi. Prices start at $30 for a 6-bed dorm, with a 4-bed dorm available at $38.  edit
  • Base Backpackers Wanaka, 73 Brownston Street, Wanaka, +64 3443 4291. Base Wanaka has a central location; just a few minutes walk to shops, cafés and local stores. Mint Bar and Café is open from 5pm.  edit

Mid-Range[edit]

The Bellavista in Wanaka is in the middle of town.

Wanaka Kiwi Holiday Park [19] has self catering accommodation for all budgets ranging from campervan sites, cabins, studio and 1, 2 & 3 bedroom motel units with cooking facilities. Quiet with lovely views.

Alpine View Lodge [20] on the edge of Wanaka, offers either B&B or self contained accommodation with lovely rural views, outdoor spa pool and free WiFi.

Splurge[edit]

For luxury or more upmarket stays try the following excellent locations.

  • Edgewater Hotel, 54 Sargood Dr, Wanaka, +64 3443 0011, [11]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 10:00. Wanaka's only accommodation on the water's edge. Offering studio, suite, and two-bedroom apartment rooms. The hotel has a tennis court, as well as a spa, complete with sauna. Prices start at $182 for a studio room; $234 for a suite; and $412 for a two-bedroom apartment.  edit

Maple Lodge[21] on the edge of wanaka has mountain.

Wanaka Resort luxury apartments have balcony views of the Alps. Apartments open onto outdoor living space including pool, jacuzzi, tennis court, gym, barbecue facilities.

  • Montrose Bed & Breakfast, 120 Mount Iron Drive, +64 3 4432289, [12]. checkin: 2:00pm; checkout: 10:00pm. Home stay NZ$ 80-130. (-44.686015,169.147683) edit

Get out[edit]

  • Fox Glacier - the biggest West Coast glacier. About 3 hours drive north of Wanaka.

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