Whew! What a wild couple of years it’s been. And down here in Wānaka, we’ve seen some changes. Check out the new places that have sprung up in Wānaka over the last couple of years and don’t forget to add your wishlist picks to My Suitcase!
In Winter of 2021, Cardrona Alpine Resort finally opened up Willows Basin, the first new major section of skiable terrain in New Zealand since they put in Valley View. Willows is located in the Soho Ski Area on the Southern face of Cardrona, overlooking Queenstown. It’s accessible via the Willows Quad chair and McDougall’s chondola.
Kiwis were able to experience this terrain for the first time last season, and we’ve got to say – it is EPIC. The two bowls allow for snow to settle into beautiful pockets of powder that keep the slashes coming all day long.
What was once an old police station at 28 Helwick Street is now a modern shopping complex with a big city vibe called The Precinct Wānaka.
A beautiful creative concept, the Precinct aims to nurture community, industry, big ideas and boundary pushing. This is evident in the eclectic mix of shops and services housed there.
Browse shops like Revology, a circular design concept store and Deval, a stunning fashion boutique with in-house styling. Walking further into the Precinct, you’ll happen across Wee Tart, a cute cafe with a rooftop sitting area offering an incredible view over the CBD and accented by local art painted directly onto the concrete walls.
Across from the rooftop cafe are co-working spaces and wellness spaces like Ukiyo.
Simply put, a shopping trip down Helwick Street isn’t complete without a stroll in the Precinct.
Hospitality might’ve undergone the most updates since we’ve welcomed international visitors.
Kicking off with our craft breweries b. effect brewing co. opened their brewing location and eatery, b.social, shortly before the border closure and since then, have expanded to include more seating and an upstairs events area. Similarly, Ground Up Brewing has opened a vibrant and funky tasting room and has the Wanaka ‘Wich Project food truck located on-site for American-style sandwiches to go with your tasting flights!
Speaking of food trucks, we have to mention the new Food Truck Market on Brownston Street. Situated around Bullock Creek and featuring old favourites (like Burrito Craft), mixed with new-kids-on-the-block, sit in the sun at a picnic table or on the lush grass and enjoy local food truck eats.
Finally, new cafes and restaurants in Wānaka have been popping up all over the place, plus we’ve seen some of our restaurant veterans get a makeover. In the cafe space, we love Scroggin, an alpine hut themed cafe that prioritises locally-sourced ingredients. In the same thread, new restaurant Muttonbird also features beautiful, fine dining fare sourced from local farmers and producers. Finally, stop by Alchemy Cafe and Wine Bar, to check out their incredible facelift – new interior design completed during the border closure.
In the time since borders were open, there’s been a lot of work going on behind the scenes to ensure that, when New Zealand did open its borders, we were ready to welcome back visitors with a strong sense of Our Why. With a renewed focus on our vision that will help protect this place for future generations, we’re excited to embark a new chapter of tourism and leaving this place even better than we found it.
For those who are visiting soon and would like help take action on our vision, we’ve created a guide to being a good traveller here. Our guide includes information about the Tiaki Promise, how you can join initiatives like Plastic-Free Wanaka and Single-Use Cup Free Wanaka while you’re visiting, ways to care for the outdoors while you’re exploring and how you can contribute to our community organisations and projects.
Well, that’s a small snippet of what’s new in Wānaka since you might’ve last visited. We’re so excited to welcome you back and for you to experience the things that you’ve always loved about this place, and to discover a few new loves along the way. We’ll see you soon.
Ready to start planning your trip to Wānaka? Click here.