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There are many ways to explore the unique high tussock country which this area has to offer...walk, ride or drive.
Image: Mt Grand high tussock country. Gilbert van Reenen
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High Country Heritage

Lake Wanaka's High Country Heritage

Discover the Lake Wanaka of yesteryear – from early Maori to the gold rush through to the growth of the popular tourism destination Lake Wanaka is today.

The Lake Wanaka region is testament to the richness of the New Zealand heritage. To early Maori it was a place of learning and relaxation, a welcome stop on their journey to collect pounamu (greenstone). A century ago, it was home to thousands of gold prospectors from afar afield as Europe and China. Discover the remnants of early settlements that once housed thousands of prospectors, stores and hotels in the 1860s. The Cardrona Hotel is a legacy of this era with its historic restaurant and bar, and provides a fascinating glimpse into yesteryear.

Where once was gold are now farming and ski fields. Mountain bike tracks wind through the old gold tailings and vineyards sit among the iconic landscape created by the gold sluicing.

Highcountry all

  • Ridgeline Adventures farm tours

    Farm Tours (1)

    View sheep, cattle and deer on a working farm overlooking the gorgeous Lake Wanaka.
  • High Country Horse Rides in Lake Wanaka

    Horse riding (3)

    Come horse trekking in the historic Cardrona Valley, on Appaloosa horses outfitted in Western saddles. Two hour to full day rides with transport available from Wanaka.
  • High Country mountain biking in Lake Wanaka

    Mountain Biking (12)

    Lake Wanaka offers several different biking options which allow you to enjoy the unique high country tussock terrain. At one end of the scale we can offer full day rides on challenging tracks or for the less adventurous, easy going cruises down grassy double tracks taking in the breathtaking scenery. The choice is yours.
  • Ridgeline Adventures photo tours

    Photograph Tours (4)

    Improve your photography skills in one of the most beautiful and photographed destinations in New Zealand.
  • The Cardrona - Quad biking

    Quad Biking tours (1)

    Whether you have never ridden a quad before or really want to go exploring, we tailor the ride for you!
  • Old Post Office Cardrona

    Sightseeing Tours (3)

    Tranquil lakes, autumn colours, tussock covered hillsides and snow capped mountains are some of the vistas you will see on a sightseeing tour around the region.
  • High Country Skiing & snowboarding in Lake Wanaka

    Skiing/snowboarding (2)

    Lake Wanaka is fortunate in that it has the right combination of climate and terrain to produce some of the best skiing and snowboarding in New Zealand. Winter days are clear and calm with very few bad weather days.
  • Walking & Hiking High Country in Lake Wanaka

    Walking & Hiking (12)

    The high country around Lake Wanaka offers many opportunities for easy walks and some longers hikes through tussock and sub alpine vegetation with stunning views of the mountains, lakes and even Queenstown and beyond.

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