Top 10 Highlights
See what you must do on a trip to Lake Wanaka. Check-out our must do's and our staff picks to give you an idea of where to begin.
1. Take a short walk...
A visit to Lake Wanaka wouldn't be complete without getting out and going for at least one short walk - but why stop there. With over 750km of tracks in the area you will be spoilt for choice. The easiest option however is to start in town and head around the lake in either direction for as long as you want. Read more
2. Relax at the lakefront
Organise a lovely picnic of fresh local produce, grab a homemade gelato ice cream or fish and chips and then head to your favourite lakefront spot to relax and watch the world go by. If you like go for swim, hire a kayak or water toy and have some fun but be sure to get wet.
3. Visit Puzzling World...
Unique and quirky, weird and wonderful, Wanaka has some great attractions to have some fun in. Puzzling World is a must for all ages but Transport & Toy Museum, Warbirds and Wheels, BaseCamp Wanaka and Have a Shot are also worth a visit. Read more
4. Try skiing or snowboarding...
Nowhere does winter like Wanaka and with the largest skiable terrain in New Zealand it is THE place to be and for apres ski, Wanaka has been voted as one of the top 25 ski towns in the world . Read more
5. Try a day walk...
For the more adventurous try some of our great day walks. Rob Roy Glacier, Roys Peak and Diamond Lake to the top of Rocky Mountain are some of the favourites. But for something different try the Fern Burn Track and the Blue Pools Link Track are also great day walks in the area. Read more
6. Go cycling or mountain biking...
The Lake Wanaka region is two wheel heaven with a mix of single tracks in Sticky Forest, wide tracks for the whole family and some really challenging terrain for the really adventures. Don't forget to check out Deans Bank and Lismore Street jump park. Hire a bike here or bring you own wheels. Read more
7. Try some water activities...
Lake Wanaka is all about water, so make sure you get into it and enjoy it. Hire a kayak, paddle board or water toy for some fun or take a jetboat up a river or a lake cruise out to an island. Fish, cruise, paddle or just splash. Read more
8. Go to Cinema Paradiso...
A small classic movie theatre located in Wanaka. Lonely Planet travel guide lists this Wanaka cinema as a Must Do. The homemade cookies and ice cream at the old fashioned intermission are a must as well! Read more
9. Visit Mt Aspiring National Park...
A World Heritage Area, Mt Aspiring National Park is New Zealand's third largest with a mixture of high mountains, glaciers and beautiful river valleys. It is a walker's paradise and a must for mountaineers. Easily accessible from Wanaka there is everything from a 5 minute walk to overnight adventure in backcountry hut. Read more
10. Make an event of it...
If you're coming to Lake Wanaka then why not come when we have a special event on. From the athletic to the inspirational we have an event to suit everyone. Music, drama, art, sports, craft, warbirds... read more
Our Teams Favourites:
- Favourite short walk - Lake Wanaka Outlet track a beautiful walk and always sheltered
- Favourite cycle - ride from Albert Town to town along the track and lake front finishing at a local cafe for a coffee or Rippon Vineyard for a wine tasting (easy!)
- Favourite beach - the main beach or Eely Point on a windy day, lots of people to watch.
- Best view - top of Mt Iron track easiest walk to give stunning view of the area, including both lakes and the mountains.
- Favourite time to visit - summer, I like it hot and to swim in the lake.
- Hidden gem - Top Forks Hut and the alpine lakes, Wilkin Valley, Mt Aspiring National Park. A truly beautiful area and not very well known.
- Favourite short walk – Diamond Lake and then extend the walk up to the top of Rocky Mountain if you have the energy!
- Favourite cycle – Road bike: follow Mt Aspiring Road around to Treble Cone and back. Approx 42km return from town with great alpine and lake views. Then a compulsory coffee at a lakefront café in town. Mountain bike: the Newcastle / Upper Clutha Track loop. Approx 30km return from the Albert Town Bridge and with a great lunch option at the Luggate Pub halfway.
- Favourite beach – Dublin Bay: generally quite sheltered, shallow / warm water with a nice sandy bottom
- Best view – across Lake Wanaka from the chairlift at Treble Cone ski area
- Favourite time to visit – autumn. Beautiful colours and great temperatures for biking and hiking – warm but not too hot.
- Hidden gem – Arethusa Pool on top of Mou Waho Island. A lake on an island, on a lake on an island…
- Favourite short walk – Waterfall Creek to Damper Bay lookout point – soak up the spectacular views up the lake and across to the mountains from the picnic table, and if you have enough time/energy, continue on to Glendhu Bay for a swim.
- Favourite cycle – Mountain bike: Dean’s Bank, closely followed by Sticky Forrest single track network – also both really good at night under lights. Road – loop from Wanaka to Lake Hawea, onto the Red Bridge and back past the Wanaka airport.
- Favourite beach – Glendhu Bay – warm and sheltered with stunning views of Mt Aspiring. Where else can you swim, water ski etc in view of glacier/snowclad peaks.
- Best view – the 360 degree panoramic views from top of Roys Peak – looking up the head of lake towards Makarora/Haast, to Fog Peak and surrounding snow clad mountains, the rugged beauty of Mt Gold, the golden tussock covered Pisa Range, the Clutha River, and Wanaka township below.
- Favourite time to visit – winter. Crisp clear days, intense colours and the snowline low on the mountains, not too mention fresh powder and 4 ski areas to choose from and huge heli-skiing terrain. But you can still ski, bike, walk, golf etc in one day, and in September you can snow ski and water ski in the same day. Bliss!
- Hidden gem – Kidds Bush, Lake Hawea – great for overnight camping or a day trip from Wanaka. The short walk through beech forest is very family friendly. On a stunning day the drive from Hawea to the Neck is simply stunning