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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

By Air

The closest international airport is at Queenstown which services flights from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Domestic flights are handled from Auckland and Christchurch. Wanaka is also served by at least two flights daily from Christchurch by Air New Zealand

By Road

Buses from all major cities stop in Wanaka. Timetable here

Approximate distances:

Get around

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.


The Leaning Tower of Wanaka, a focal point on the grounds of Puzzling World.
  • Stuart Landsborough's Puzzling World, 443-7489, [1]. Located 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-5:00pm.
  • Warbird Museum, [2]. Showcases WW2 Fighter aircraft and more, featuring the Hurricane, Mustang, Spitfire and Polikarpov fighters.
  • Warbirds Over Wanaka, [3]. An air show held every second Easter long weekend (last was in 2006). See over 50 aircraft from the biplanes of WW1, the stars of WW2, the Korea fighters and the jets of Vietnam. Also military vehicles and Harley Davidson motor cycles.
  • Wanaka Beer Works, [4]. 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.


  • Fishing, the surrounding lakes and rivers offer superb Fly Fishing. The rivers are stocked with both Brown and Rainbow Trout.
  • Skiing, Lake Wanaka is both a skiers and snowboarders paradise. Close to 4 ski resorts. Heliskiing and cross country skiing are also possibilities.
  • Wine, take a tour around the local estates




This is my favourite winery in the area. For Whites the Osteiner is really unique (nothing like it in Australia)


The Bellavista in Wanaka is in the middle of town and great to stay at (I've stayed every winter since they opened). The best backpackers in Wanaka is 'Mountain View Backpackers' due to the friendly vibes, just try to avoid the kitchen around dinner time, it can be rather crowded. Alpine View Lodge is an awesome to stay - it's surrounded by mountains, the views are amazing and the hosts are just the best. We stopped in summer, and have booked again in winter - they offer a wicked ski package with transport to the slopes. Check out the website

For luxury or more upmarket stays try the following excellent lodges. Riverrun lodge is set on 500 acres of riverside estate, with stunning mountain views, luxury accommodation, fine food and wine and friendly hosts. See Alternatively, try Minaret lodge or Lime Tree lodge, both of which are equally exclusive and offer great service.

Get out

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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...

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 5-10mins drive from the township.