Wanaka's most famous landmark is Lake Wanaka, so this should be your first port of call when you arrive. It's the fourth largest lake in New Zealand, and very popular amongst boaters and fishermen. It's also a great place to go water skiing, kayaking or swimming in summer. There are a few fish and chip shops and gelatarias near the lake, so you can indulge in a tasty treat on the lakeshore and then, if you feel inclined to burn off those extra calories, take a walk along one of the relaxing forest tracks around the water's edge or head up to the Diamond Lake Track, an easy 2.5km walk.
July to September is ski season, when snow lovers flock from all over the country, and indeed the world, to enjoy the slopes of Wanaka. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced skier, there's a slope here to suit your needs. Wanaka is also home to New Zealand's only specialist cross-country field at Snow Farm. Some of the other popular ski venues in the area are the Cardrona, Treble Cone and Waiorau slopes.
No matter which season you're here, if you're really keen to get active, you can tramp through the World Heritage listed Mount Aspiring National Park and experience nature at its finest. There are plenty of hiking tracks and rock climbing spots, as well as fantastic fishing streams. The highlight, though, is picture-perfect Rob Roy Glacier and its gorgeous waterfall, so make sure you pack your camera.
Over the Easter long weekend, the biennial Warbirds Over Wanaka is a thrilling event with military fighter jets performing aerial acts and mock air battle scenes, as well as aviation stalls and displays on the ground. After you've witnessed the event, you might want to visit the Warbirds and Wheels Museum, home to an impressive collection of warplanes and classic cars to make just about any guy (or girl) drool with delight. If you can't get enough of those vintage vehicles, zip on over to the National Transport and Toy Museum to see the huge private collection of antique cars and fire engines, as well as dolls, teddy bears and wind-up toys from yesteryear.
Getting Here and Around
If you're planning on hitting the ski slopes or hiking through the forests, most hotels offer shuttle services or tour buses to get you there. However, if you want a bit more independence while you're here, you're best off hiring a car. So, make sure you get in quick and book your hire car, as well as one of these cheap flights to Queenstown. The drive from Queenstown Airport to Wanaka is only an hour and if you're keen to visit some of the nearby towns, Cromwell is only half an hour from Wanaka and Alexandra is about an hour away.
So wot are you waiting for? Book your flights and Wanaka accommodation with us now, so you can start enjoying the natural beauty of Wanaka as soon as possible!
Hotels in Wanaka start at NZ$81 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.