Featured Activities

Slow travel is the opposite of hectic, stressful travelling – going from place to place, site to site.

When visiting Wānaka we invite you to ditch the checklist, spend less time in tourist-focused areas and move at a slower pace. Slow travel is a shift in mindset; it’s about seeing less and experiencing more. It’s also about immersing yourself in the community and hitting the roads or hikes less travelled.

Girl standing on balcony watching sunset

The concept of slow travel

‘Slow Travel’ is a relatively new-age concept that is slowly (pun-intended) being adopted by travelers globally. The aim? To create a greater whanaukataka (a sense of connection) to our places, people, culture and food.

Being a slow traveler has many benefits, allows you to explore more, get to know the community and to travel more sustainably. Slow travel helps to mitigate the impact of air travel by staying for longer in destinations.

Girl walking in nature

3 simple ways to travel slowly

The town of Wānaka is easy to explore by foot or with an e-Bike thanks to the Wānaka Tracks App. There is so much to experience without the need of a car – plus you’ll actually see a heap more too! If you are heading up the mountain for skiing or biking, grab an affordable shuttle bus at the Cardrona Corner to decrease the burden on both your bank account and the environment.

Mountain bikers riding Minaret Burn track

Wānaka is striving towards becoming Aotearoa’s first single-use cup (SUC) free town. Twenty-four cafes and caravans in Wānaka have now implemented cup-lending schemes or libraries and 12 are completely SUCfree, saving 180,000 cups from landfill annually. We encourage you to either BYO coffee cup or invest in one of the borrow/keep cup options at a local cafe above.

person pouring coffee into their mug in nature

It’s more sustainable if your money contributes to the local economy. We encourage visitors to support local business owners – keep an eye out for the LoveWānaka, Supporting Local stickers in shop windows. By spending and travelling mindfully, you can do your bit to help us move towards a more circular economy.

couple sitting at a table sharing some dinner

Slow shops, stays and eats

Looking for the spaces and places in Wānaka that encourage slow shopping? Hit up Freshlink Grocer for a waste-free, meaningful and engaging experience. They have a bulk-refillery with a selection of nuts, seeds and more, and offer jars, compostable paper bags and tote bags for your produce purchases.

person shopping in the local grocer

Grab a useful gift, a sustainable souvenir or  lifetime piece at Revology Concept Store & Tea House. Their space is dedicated to rethinking how people design, use (and reuse) materials, with a focus on circular design & mindful living. You will find ethically sourced objects made from sustainable materials. From books to bags, body & healthcare, childrens play, as well as haberdashery, homeware, kitchenware and a unique selection of organic tea blends.

Inside of a concept store

Feast with the whanau on seasonal Otago and NZ produce at Mutton Bird. Take the full evening off to slowly indulge in thoughtfully created dishes, from Natural Oysters and Beef Carpaccio starters, Royal Burn slow cooked Lamb for mains and a Rhubarb & Lemon Madeleine for sweets. Their menu is a daily, rotating selection, seasonal to farmers and producers across Otago & NZ.

Tasting plates served at a restaurant

Sink into the landscape and slow down by the force of nature with a stay in a Geo Dome. Cross Hill Lodge celebrates the magic of human connection on the land with high country hospitality and premium comfort in a remote, peaceful setting. Take the day to explore Hāwea River track by foot or bike, and spend the evening under the stars in their wood fired hot tub.

Cross Hill Geo Domes

Sustainable and regenerative tourism is our core koronga (intention). Our mission is to both protect and respect the whenua of Wānaka, so that the land can remain wholesome for the generations to come.

If you loved reading this story, check out our other community and sustainability focused stories below!