More than a dozen vineyards now exist between Cromwell and Wanaka – offering wine enthusiasts an enjoyable day’s touring. A growing number of cafes and restaurants create innovative food from local produce. Wanaka is also home to an emerging art scene. A number of local galleries, as well as café walls, offer visitors the chance to check out the local talent. Some artisans extend an invitation to visit them at work in their studios. Also worth a visit are a number of carefully tended private gardens that open their doors to visitors.
There are many ways to enjoy Wanaka’s beautiful outdoor environment. Visitors can choose from gentle day walks or bike rides around the lake-edge, to skiing, sky-diving, a lake cruise or canyoning. The local rivers and lakes are renowned for their trout, fishing guides can show you the lesser-known locations. The lakes can be enjoyed by sailboat, kayak or wind surfer. The rivers are a focus for river surfing, kayaking, rafting and jet boating. The local crags are popular with climbers and of course the park offers many opportunities for walking, trekking and mountaineering.
It is well worth taking the time to explore Wanaka’s environs. Follow the Cardrona Valley up to the historic hotel for a pint; cruise out to Lake Hawea for a swim or a stroll along the waterfront; explore a high country station on a 4WD adventure; head out towards Cromwell, stopping at the unique Puzzling World and New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum; spend a day in the Matukituki Valley – the gateway to Mt Aspiring National Park. Or enjoy the park from the air: the scenic flight from Wanaka to Milford passes over the World Heritage area, taking in high glaciated peaks and the curling coastline of Fiordland.