Lake Hāwea Wānaka Loop

The Upper Clutha basin is a natural mountainous amphitheatre and the road from Wānaka to the airport, Luggate and onto Lake Hāwea follows the base of these mountains

The road leaves Wānaka on the path of the old Cardrona river bed past the Mt Iron carpark (a fine example of roche moutonnée rising 250m), Puzzling World (NZ’s first maze) and through rural farmland to the Wānaka airport – a collection of businesses offering different types of scenic flights and attractions celebrating aviation history.

Take time to explore then head along the river terrace to the small village of Luggate to enjoy the hospitality of the Luggate Pub, and Archangel Vineyard just a few kilometres down the road. Leave Luggate by crossing the Clutha River (the Red Bridge) and along the foot of the Grandview Range to reach the alpine glacial vistas of Lake Hāwea.

Highlights along the way:

Wānaka to Wanaka airport - 10 minutes, 10 km

  • Grab a coffee at one of the many cafes in Wānaka before setting off for the day
  • Getting lost in the maze at Puzzling World
  • The 360 degree views from the top of Mt Iron walk

Wanaka Airport to Luggate - 3 minutes, 4 km

Luggate to Lake Hāwea - 22 minutes, 22 km

  • Try locally produced food & beverage - Beerworks, Nanny Goat Vineyard and the Luggate Hotel
  • The Luggate Hotel has an old world charm and great food
  • Nanny Goat Vineyard well worth stopping at.
  • Take the short walk to “the Nook” on Clutha River – an interesting geological feature.
  • Cross the historic Red Bridge and view the Clutha River - the largest river in NZ by volume

Lake Hāwea to Wānaka - 15 minutes, 16km

  • Checkout local arts and crafts at Lake Hāwea.
  • Sailz Cafe in Lake Hāwea is a good place to stop and grab some refreshments before exploring along the lakefront.
  • If you'd like a wee tipple and a meal then check out the Lake Hawea Hotel
  • Don't forget to stop at Hook near Albert Town and try your hand at fishing or just enjoy a drink and some food while watching others try their luck.

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Driving to Wanaka Explore the Region

Driving to Wānaka

Driving on the South Island roads of New Zealand is a great way to experience the region, with relatively quiet roads and some of the most amazing scenery right outside the window.

Major car and campervan hire companies are all located at Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown airports. There are also a number of rental car companies based in Wānaka.

How to get to Wānaka

Explore the Region

Wānaka is unique and captivating; it inspires you to discover, and gives you the freedom to explore.

Located in the stunning alps of the South Island, New Zealand, visitors from around the world are drawn to the Wānaka region by its outstanding beauty.

Explore Wānaka

  1. Mount Aspiring
    National Park
    54 min
  2. Christchurch 5 h 14 min
  3. Ashburton 3 h 56 min
  4. Geraldine 3 h 19 min
  5. Tekapo 2 h 17 min
  6. Mt Cook 2 h 6 min
  7. Twizel 1 h 39 min
  8. Omarama 1 h 21 min
  9. Franz Josef 3 h 32 min
  10. Fox Glacier 3 h 6 min
  11. Haast 1 h 43 min
  12. Cromwell 39 min
  13. Queenstown 1 h 4 min
  14. Milford Sound 4 h 34 min
  15. Te Anau 2 h 52 min
  16. Dunedin 2 h 52 min
  1. Mount Aspiring
    National Park
    54 min
  2. Coronet Peak
  3. The Remarkables
  4. Cardrona
  5. Treble Cone
  6. Snow Farm
  7. Heli Skiing
  8. Heli Skiing
  9. Makarora 50 min
  10. Lake Hawea 1 h 7 min
  11. Wanaka Airport 11 min
  12. Luggate 13 min
  13. Tarras 27 min
  14. Cromwell 39 min
  15. Arrowtown 53 min
  16. Queenstown 1 h 4 min
  17. Queenstown Airport 59 min
  18. Matukituki Valley 51 min
  19. Raspberry Creek 1 h 6 min

Flights to Wānaka

Getting to Wānaka is easy - click on your city to see how close you are to Wānaka. It’s a short, scenic 60-minute drive to Wānaka from the closest international airport, where you will find all major rental car companies and scheduled bus services that provide transport to Wānaka throughout the day.

How to get to Wanaka