The easygoing sibling of vivacious Queenstown, Wanaka marries small-town accessibility with high standards worthy of its international resort town status. Visitors can expect a warm welcome from the friendly locals who are always happy to share their little slice of heaven.
Wanaka is home to winter ski fields with fantastic natural snowfall and a range of terrain to suit all ages and abilities. From gentle beginner slopes to the largest heli-skiing area in the Southern Hemisphere, the ultimate snow escape is right here.
Off-mountain, there are a multitude of ways to enjoy the area. Pick up tasty locally-made goods at the farmer’s market, walk up Mt Iron for heart-stopping views, visit the family-owned artisan Cardrona Distillery, or catch a movie at classic Cinema Paradiso. For a truly special experience, join Eco Wanaka Adventures for a nature encounter, heli-hike, or guided walk on Rob Roy Glacier.
Whether you’re seeking a ski or snowboarding getaway with a focus on tranquility, a fun-filled family holiday, or an invigorating break with friends, herein lies the magic of Wanaka – it can be whatever you like.
Wanaka is where kiwis come to ski – you don’t get a better recommendation than that!
5 More Reasons to Choose Wanaka
1. Mountain biking – with over 750km of tracks, you can choose an easy ride along the lakefront or something a bit more strenuous. Either way, you’ll be among some of the most magnificent scenery in the world.
2. Lake Wanaka – jewel of the township, the lake covers 193 square kilometres and there are numerous ways to explore the crystal-clear waters and hidden bays.
3. Local attractions – fun for young and old at Puzzling World and the National Transport & Toy Museum.
4. Family friendly – the atmosphere here has brought folks from all over the globe who can’t resist the upbeat vibes and endless array of recreational opportunities available to family groups.
5. From Wanaka you can access the nearby ski fields of Cadrona and Treble Cone. For those with families, both ski fields operate excellent kids’ clubs, and Cadrona has child minding for littlies under five.
Where to Eat
Unlike the vast majority of holiday destinations, Wanaka can lay claim to being totally devoid of fast food chains. You would be hard-pressed to find an establishment that doesn’t serve fresh, tasty fare, but here are a few particular recommendations.
Amigos Mexican Grill
Get yourself something spicy and wash it down with a margarita for authenticity. Great kids’ menu, plus puzzles and drawing stuff to keep them occupied while you wait for your food to arrive.
Kai Whaka Pai
The name literally translates to ‘food made good’, and you can count on it. Located on the waterfront, ‘The Kai’ serves exceptional coffee and wholesome food by day; at night it becomes the town’s most laid-back bar, with local beer on tap.
Gin & Raspberry Boutique Bar
To be quite frank, this joint is mostly about the classy beverages (do try their eponymous cocktail). However, the menu of tempting bar snacks is not to be passed over.
For a speedy feed that doesn’t compromise on quality, the Middle Eastern-inspired dishes here will tickle your tastebuds. Eat in or takeaway; it’s the perfect nosh for a gourmet picnic.