Shan Bawden's Wanaka To-Do List

Shan Bawden is a blogger and photographer who falls harder for Wanaka everytime she visits. Here's her Wanaka 'must-do' list for the Spring and Summer.

Words by Shannon Bawden

When I think of a summer roadie, my mind instantly drifts to the lakes and rugged mountaintops that surround the area of Wanaka.

There's something special about those mountain peaks that continues to draw me back.

Days spent on the lake, ending with sundowners and good people, nothing can top it! I had ten days, bags packed, no plans and a heart racing full of adventure. Excited to explore this epic part of the world, I packed my bags, loaded the car and hit the road. This trip was nothing short of incredible - rock jumping, wakeboarding, mountain hiking, local eating and damn good people!

Here's what I got up to on my recent roadie through Wanaka and its surrounding area. 

When in Wanaka...


➼ A sunrise hike to Rocky Mountain Summit

 Swimming at Glendhu Bay

 Cliff jumping at the Motatapu Gorge

 Sunset wakeboarding on the lake

➼ A 4x4 Highlights Safari with Ridgeline Adventures

 Sunset session at Dublin Bay

Ridgeline Adeventures in Wanaka, New Zealand

Ridgeline Adventures, photo by Shannon Bawden

Rocky Mountain Summit in Wanaka, New Zealand

Rocky Mountain sunrise, photo by Shan Bawden


➼ Kai Whakapai - damn good muffins, coffee and great vibes

➼ Trout - waterfront eats and delicious craft beers!

➼ Fedeli Cafe - pastries and a quick espresso fix

➼ B. Social Brewery - Epic B. Effect brews on tap and a killer atmosphere

➼ The Coffee Shack - best coffee in town!



➼ Wanaka Hotel - it's in the heart of town and there's tacos right at your doorstep!

In Hawea...


➼ Hiking the Sawyer Burn track

➼ Rock jumping into the crystal clear water at 'The Neck'

➼ Sunset at Hawea Esplanade beach

➼ Driving the scenic Meads Road along the lake stretch

➼ Watching the brave surf the River Wave at the Camphill Bridge

A girl jumping in the water in Hawea, New Zealand

Rock jumping at the Neck, photo by Shan Bawden


Good Joe Coffee Co. at The Food Truck - delicious coffee, epic burgers, tacos and vibes

Mo's - a quick coffee buzz and yummy pastries

A girl drinks Good Joe coffee in Hawea, New Zealand

Sipping Good Joe, photo by Shan Bawden


The Camp - picturesque lakeside luxe glamping tents nestled beneath the mountains. A hidden gem!

A girl sits outside a glamping tent at The Camp in Hawea, New Zealand

The Safari Tent at The Camp, photo by Shan Bawden

Wine at The Camp glamping in Hawea, New Zealand

Wine time, photo by Shan Bawden

In Mt. Aspiring National Park...


➼ Walking the famous Blue Pools track

➼ A helicopter ride through the National Park - epic views of glaciers, Mt. Aspiring and an incredible mountaintop landing

➼ Standing beneath the roaring Thunder Creek Falls

➼ Riverside picnic at Cameron Flat

A girl overlooks view in Mt. Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

Views in Mt. Aspiring National Park, photo by Shan Bawden

Waterfalls and rivers in Mt. Aspiring National Park, New Zealand

Waterworks in Mt. Aspiring, photo by Shan Bawden


Wonderland Makarora Lodge - early morning breakfast spot.

➼ Makarora Country Cafe - delicious ice cream



Wonderland Makarora Lodge - quaint A-frame chalets against an epic backdrop