Landscape & Nature Itinerary

Mount Aspiring National Park, is the third largest in New Zealand.

It stretches from the dense rainforests of Fiordland, across braided river valleys and alpine meadows to the glaciated Southern Alps. Wanaka sits right on the door step to this World Heritage Area and is a great place to base yourself while you explore the Park.

Jetboat, helicopter, fly, walk or climb – there are lots of ways to enjoy this adventure playground. Check out our itinerary suggestion below covering 128km over three days, best explored all year long!

Don't forget to take a look at our range of accommodationcafes and restaurants and other activities that you can do to add to make your own personalized itinerary.

Day 1: Makarora

By car from Wanaka: 1 Hr | 64km

The short 60-minute drive up State Highway 6 to Makarora past Lakes Hawea and Wanaka is a visual feast. Stop at Hawea and The Neck and take some photos before carrying on to Makarora. 

A compulsory first stop is the magical Blue Pools about 10-minutes past Makarora. A short downhill walk, through native beech forest, will get you to the gorgeous turquoise pools - but be warned you must cross a swing bridge to get to them! For the more adventurous, you can keep walking down the Blue Pools link track and finish at the Young River where a jet boat will transport you back to Makarora. They do drop offs as well, so your car will be waiting for you back in Makarora.

Explore some other short walks before heading back to Makarora for the night. There are lots of great accommodation options once there.

Things to see and do:

  • Blue Pools & Blue Pools Link Track
  • Blue Pools Nature Experience

A kayaker at the Blue Pools in Makarora, New Zealand

Day 2: Siberia Valley

By car from Wanaka: 1 Hr | 64km

Fly, walk and jetboat - a great half day adventure combo!

Fly into Siberia Valley in Mt Aspiring National Park, by helicopter or plane, stop at the Siberia Hut for a quick snack before heading down the track to the Wilkin River pick up point. This lovely, three-hour bush walk is achievable for the whole family. Your jetboat will pick you up and take you on a thrilling ride back to Makarora.

Suitable for all ages and average fitness.

Return to Wanaka or stay overnight.

Things to see and do:

An old school plane rests in Siberia Valley in New Zealand

Day 3: Matukituki Valley

By car from Wanaka: 1 Hr | 55km

Head up the Matukituki Valley and explore along the way.

The Matukituki Valley is home to a whole host of activities which generally take half a day to complete. For the lovers of water, try canyoning or jetboating, while the whole family can do the via ferrata climb up the iron rung ladders beside Twin Falls. The off road 4WD tour over a real working farm and to Colquhoun’s Beach is a real classic Kiwi adventure. For the adventurous types, try a tandem parapent off Treble Cone and a helicopter flight to a glacier is not to be missed either.

In winter, there is skiing at Treble Cone and heli skiing in the largest terrain outside North America.

One day is probably not enough time to do all the activities this valley has to offer – so stay another night and come back!

Things to do:

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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