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Featured Activities

It doesn’t often rain in Wānaka, but when the weather just isn’t quite on, there’s still lots to do. Here’s our curated list of things to do in Wānaka when it’s rainy or the weather just isn’t playing ball.

Puzzling World

Located just outside of town centre on the Wānaka-Luggate highway, you’ll spot Puzzling World as soon as you see the Leaning Tower of Wānaka on the front lawn.

Puzzling World started out as a simple wooden maze in 1973. Almost 50 years have gone by and today it’s multi-attraction business with massive interactive brain-testing exhibits, illusion rooms, a cafe and of course, the original great maze. 

Spend an hour or a whole afternoon wandering through the halls, checking out the attractions, figuring out the maze or pulling up in the cafe and working on a puzzle with a cuppa.

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National Transport & Toy Museum

About a 20-minute drive outside of town centre at the Wānaka Airport is the National Transport & Toy Museum, one of the world’s largest private collections of aircraft, vehicles and toys. 

Check out these numbers: 600 vehicles, 15 aircraft, over 60,000 toys and thousands of miscellaneous items are in the collection. You could spend several rainy days there and still not see everything. It’s fascinating for the younger ones in the family and a real trip down memory lane for the adults.

Crossfire

Just across the road from the National Transport & Toy Museum is Crossfire. Practice your swing on the driving range, shoot claybirds or try your hand at the rifle range. Pick up a bow and arrow for some archery practice and even you can bare the drizzle, head outside for some mini-putt.

Crossfire is the place to spark up a little friendly competition and with prices as low as $5, you might find yourself saying “let’s go another round,” all day.

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Basecamp Adventures

One of the places that locals always flock to on a rainy day is Basecamp Adventures. The Sport Climbing wall is a great option for climbers of all abilities and the routes are updated often. 

They also have a small bouldering cave, with a variety of walls, including a 20 degree, 5 degree and vertical.

Finally, Clip ‘n Climb is perfect for those who either don’t have a partner, prefer to climb alone or the kids! Try out the climbing challenges, the speed climbs and the zigzags. Full training is provided.

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Cinemas

A trip to the movies in Wanaka is still a special occasion. Wānaka has two cinemas, the first is Ruby’s Cinema & Bar. Located on Cardrona Valley Road (in the same building as Basecamp Adventures), Ruby’s has an old Hollywood vibe, with wrap-around velvet couchs in the foyer and old-school movie posters. You can buy delicious food, coffee, and treats as well as alcoholic beverages.

At Cinema Paradiso, located in town, you’re transported back to the dawn of the cinematic era. Cozy up on one of the couches in the theatre or sit back in a converted Morris Minor. You can purchase beer, wine, snacks and meals like pizza before the movie. And at halftime, be sure to get a freshly-baked cookie to take back with you for the remainder of the show!

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Realm Virtual Reality Centre

Realm Virtual Reality Centre is New Zealand’s largest fully immersive VR experience. Using cutting edge Infinity Platforms, they can cater for up to ten people at a time, with linked experiences or individual adventures.

Warbirds & Wheels Museum

View a world-class collection of 30 privately-owned classic cars and motorcycles, plus six fighter aircraft from World War I and World War II, through to the impressive SkyHawk and modern jets. Finish at the unique 1950s retro diner for a coffee or lunch.

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Tasting beer, wine and spirits

Experience a taste of the region, with exceptional wine tasting, craft beer and artisan spirits

For wineries, visit Rippon Vineyard, voted one of the best in the world. Or check out Maude, Aitkins Folly, Maori Point or Paddons Paddock

Sample the award-winning gin “The Source” at The Cardrona Distillery in the Cardrona Valley. 

Beer lovers are also spoilt for choice with B Effect Brewery, Rhyme & Reason, Wanaka Beerworks, and Ground Up Brewing. A guided tour is a great option if you want to make the most of the tastings.

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Massage or beauty treatment

A rainy day is a great excuse to treat yourself at one of Wānaka’s beauty salons or massage studios.

Book in to a sports massage to soothe your muscles and really get into the nooks or go for a traditional relaxation massage for a little quiet time. 

Beauty salons include luxurious skincare treatment, hair cuts and treatments and of course, the classics like pedicures and manicures. Sit back, relax and let the rainy day while away.

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Retail therapy

The shops and boutiques in Wanaka are so wonderfully varied. Check out the new Precinct building and find cool cafes, salons, fashion boutiques and sustainably-minded shops.

 Wandering through the rest of the CBD, you’ll find everything from menswear shops, outdoor stores, gifts, homewares and clothing stores. When it’s time to take a break, pop into a warm and inviting Wānaka restaurant or cafe.

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Shopping Trip, photo by Andy Brown

Don’t despair over a rainy day in Wānaka. Find more indoor activities here.

If you want to hear from someone locally, give the Wānaka i-SITE a call.

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