Matt Burns shares his favorite issues to do in Wanaka, New Zealand. He shares his experience from residing there for 2 years and offers us his greatest insider suggestions of what to see and do!
The little lakefront city of Wanaka has sat sleepily within the shadows of it’s massive sister Queenstown for years.
However for those who scratch beneath the snow capped mountain surroundings and contemporary blue waters, you’ll see this place is something however sleepy.
There’s a lot to do right here and a lot you’ll need to see that even many of the locals would battle to agree on one of the best issues to see and do when you’re right here.
Whereas it’s managed to retain its small city standing and really feel, there’s no doubting that Wanaka is a city experiencing some main reputation surges over current years, because the place continues to search out its method onto increasingly peoples New Zealand journey bucket lists.
And to be truthful…it’s not onerous to see why.
When you’re visiting Wanaka and questioning the place to start out, don’t panic. We’ve bought you coated.
So sit again, hit ‘bookmark’ and let’s get into it.
#1 Take a stroll (or hike a mountain)
The very first thing you’ll discover while you arrive into Wanaka is that it’s nearly utterly surrounded by mountains.
Since nearly 1/third of New Zealand is owned and managed by the Division of Conservation, (with a superb chunk of the rest being farmland) just about all of what you’ll be able to see is open to the general public.
Climbing in Wanaka
One of many first stuff you’ll need to do while you arrive in Wanaka is to stand up excessive and get an outline down and out over the gorgeous blues of the lake and the tiny little township nestled into its southern shore.
As luck would have it…there’s a hike for that.
Actually, there’s lots of hikes for that.
The most well-liked by far, and the one you’ve most likely seen in all of the images, is the view from the highest of Mt Roy – a hike that begins a brief drive out of city round to the west facet of the lake.
For an equally superior view although – and one you’ll be able to really see with out having to do battle with 100’s of digicam lenses with folks connected to them – hold driving a little bit additional on previous the beginning of the Roys Peak monitor.
Then hold going a little bit extra.
Previous Treble Cone ski space.
Finally you’ll spot a little bit gravel street off to the suitable, which can take you to a little bit automobile park and the start of the Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain tracks.
From the highest you’ll have the ability to see the Southern Alps, proper out over Lake Wanaka with its many bays and bluffs and out in direction of the height of Mt Aspiring.
When you like your hikes rather less intense, there are nonetheless heaps of nice choices to select from.
Different Hikes Round Wanaka
- A stroll alongside the river to neighbouring Albert City
- A stroll previous the quiet waterfall creek for views of Mt Aspiring
- Or an off-the-cuff stroll across the lakefront provides you with a fantastic style of what Wanaka is all about and why precisely it’s so particular.
The serene and utterly unspoilt panorama on supply right here is the rationale that so many individuals come to go to Wanaka, and why a fortunate few select to name it “house”.
#2 Drive to Raspberry Creek
For one thing actually particular although…take a drive out to Raspberry Creek in close by Mt Aspiring Nationwide Park.
It’s arms down considered one of my all time favorite little items of street. Truly, that’s a lie, as a result of it’s not likely a street. It’s extra of a gravel/filth monitor that somebody minimize out alongside the river (and infrequently, via it).
When you get to the automobile park on the finish of the monitor, you’ll get to make the powerful selection.
You’ll be able to hike a 5km hike to via the forest to take a look at the superior Rob Roy Glacier, or take the 9km path alongside the meandering West department of the Matukituki River and out to Aspiring Hut and a few unmatched views out via the valley past.
#three Get on the water
On a sunny day, you’ll be able to hire kayaks from down on the lakefront or join boat excursions with Eco Wanaka or Lake Wanaka Cruises.
In addition to being ridiculously stunning, Lake Wanaka can be enormous.
So there’s a LOT to discover.
There are three islands on the lake too, with Ruby Island specifically being a well-liked purpose for kayakers with half a day or so to spare.
For the extra adventurous or skilled kayakers, an in a single day tenting journey out on Stevensons Island (extremely beneficial!) can be an superior option to spend a weekend.
Be careful for the climate – the wind picks up shortly right here and it’s straightforward to get caught out. Waves can choose up over the extensive open water and whitecaps have tipped me over greater than as soon as.
Control the forecast from the native Met Service and take discover of the wind speeds.
February and March are normally one of the best and calmest months to get out on the water.
#four Seize a espresso
Whereas the warfare over who really invented the flat white rages on, one factor I can inform you is that the Kiwis take their espresso fairly rattling critically.
And Wanaka isn’t any exception.
If you wish to load up and get your caffeine repair, there’s definitely no scarcity of venues to select from.
Get right down to any of the superior waterfront cafes like Kai Whakapai or Relishes for those who like your caffeine with a facet of view.
Or if you wish to beat the vacationer crowds on a sunny morning then Florences or Cafe Gusto are each glorious espresso spots.
You’ll don’t have any downside discovering a snug seat and burying your head in that superior new ebook for a number of hours.
#5 Get Your Adrenaline Repair
If the surroundings and the nice espresso doesn’t fairly get your coronary heart racing sufficient, then don’t panic.
Wanaka’s not performed but.
New Zealand – The Journey Capital of the World
New Zealand is famend as being a real adrenaline junkie paradise.
It’s the birthplace of the bungy bounce, the best commercially rafted waterfall on the planet and naturally, Sir Edmund Hillary.
Adrenaline in Wanaka
Again right here in Wanaka, you’ll be able to seize a slice of the adrenaline pie.
- Wanaka has some world class mountain climbing terrain housing probably the most concentrated sport climbing space in New Zealand. There are almost 1000 routes all positioned a mere solely 15 minutes from city.
- In Aspiring Nationwide Park you’ll be able to throw your self off waterfalls in a terrifying and exhilarating canyoning expertise.
- And it’s essential to take probably the most scenic flights of your life in a classic biplane over the Southern Alps.
Nonetheless not sufficient?
How about having a go at New Zealand’s highest tandem paragliding up at Treble Cone ski space? Parasailing whereas strapped to the again of a rushing boat excessive above the lake? Or take management of your personal 2 man airplane for a fast trial flying lesson out of Wanakas tiny regional airport.
Or check out the final word adrenaline rush and ”strap your self to a good looking stranger and bounce out of a superbly good aeroplane”.
Wanaka is house to one of many highest skydives in New Zealand, and if 15,000ft of free falling insanity isn’t sufficient to get your coronary heart leaping out of your chest then the insane views you’ll be handled to only would possibly do the trick.
An excellent tip for reserving any sort of actions like that is to take a look at BookMe.co.nz. It’s New Zealand’s largest deal web site and most exercise corporations will frequently put up a restricted variety of low-cost tickets up on there for individuals who are fortunate sufficient to get in fast.
#6 Get some snow
Within the winter, maybe much more so than the summers, this wonderful little mountain city actually comes alive.
Customer numbers to the city rocket within the southern hemisphere winter season, though you wouldn’t comprehend it from a noon stroll via city. Everybody’s too busy having fun with the snow at one of many superior ski resorts which can be only a 20 minute drive from the city heart.
For the extra skilled and adventurous skiers, there are alternatives aplenty too.
Backcountry Snowboarding in Wanaka
Keep in mind that superior backcountry you spent all summer season mountaineering via? Properly strap on the skis as a result of, as everyone knows, every part at all times appears higher when it’s coated in snow.
Backcountry snowboarding right here will not be solely common however very accessible.
Each of the ski resorts can be utilized as a leaping off level into one of the best unspoilt and utterly untouched off piste cross nation, and there are a number of alpine huts able to cater for multi day expeditions for those who actually need to get caught in!
When you just like the draw of the backcountry with out the drag of the uphill then Harris Mountain Heli Ski are primarily based in Wanaka and organise powder classes throughout Mt Aspiring Nationwide Park. Alpine Heliski are another choice primarily based over the hill in Queenstown.
#7 Attempt the meals
You wont discover any quick meals joints or mass produced nonesense right here in Wanaka. This wholesome, outside city’s having none of that.
It’s actual, contemporary meals solely right here.
Whereas the little city of Wanaka isn’t crawling with choices, there are many nice locations to seize a chew.
Fact be informed, for its measurement, Wanaka continues to be packing a fairly good culinary punch.
Seize a improbable Italian feed at The White Home or get pleasure from distinctive Asian fusion meals sitting on the balcony at Alivate, or a fantastic post-hike gourmand burger at Purple Star.
Neighbouring Queenstown, only a 40 minute drive away over the scenic crown vary additionally has a booming foodie scene too.
When you’re heading over the hill, try Firsttable.co.nz for good earlybird dinner offers.
Matt Burns – is an ex digital marketer turned freelance author. Normally discovered underneath the heavy affect of caffeine, he writes and blogs for journey corporations who need to develop their on-line presence.
Since 2011, he’s been slowly working his method world wide. One journey at a time. You too can comply with his travels right here on Twitter – @MattBurnsUK and Fb
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