The Best Free Things to Do in Wanaka, New Zealand

Some of the best outdoor activities in Wanaka are completely free. Here are our favourite free Wanaka attractions.

It is easy to find plenty of free things to do in Wanaka. The town and surrounding area is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, and some of the best Wanaka attractions are free.

Wanaka is a stunning resort town, popular in both winter and summer. It is located in district of Central Otago, which is one of the most beautiful regions of the South Island in New Zealand. Situated on the south end of Lake Wanaka close to the Crown and Southern Alps mountain ranges, Wanaka is blessed with some of the most exquisite landscapes and jaw dropping views you could find anywhere in the world. Here are some of the best Wanaka activities and attractions.

Go for a Hike

Wanaka is blessed with glorious weather in the summer time. It is hot, bright and dry during December to February, perfect for outdoor adventures. If you are looking for things to do in Wanaka in Summer then you will find no better place to go walking, tramping, strolling and hiking You can find something for every fitness level, whether it be a gentle stroll around the town itself to more challenging hikes and tramps into the mountains and around the lake. The rewards of the incredible views from the mountains and lake edge will leave you in awe of the natural beauty of this land.

Visit the Farmers Market

You could treat yourself to the tastes of this glorious regions when you visit the Wanaka Farmer’s and Gardeners Market, located in Pembroke Park during the summer months. You can sample mountain-bred lamb, delicious fruits and vegetables, specialty goods and breads and a wide range of organic produce all grown and nurtured lovingly in the area. You will be delighted by the fresh, outstanding quality food and produce, which is sure to satisfy any craving.

Have a Picnic by the Lake

What could be nicer than a picnic by the lake? Sunbathing and swimming in the lake as the heat rises. Lake Wanaka is truly a picture-perfect setting for relaxing and playing al-fresco.

Experience the Local Arts

Besides skiing, there are so many awesome things to do in Wanaka in winter, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money to enjoy what the region has to offer. If you want to take a break from outdoor adrenalin filled activities and venture inside, there are wonderful art galleries and museums to lose yourself in while keeping the crisp cold air at bay.

Visitors to Wanaka have the choice of contemporary art spaces such as Gallery Thirty Three in the township of Wanaka. If fine photography appeals a visit to The Picture Lounge will stun you as you view images of the local area brought to exquisite life. 

Take a Scenic Winter Stroll

One of the most wonderful activities you can do while in Wanaka over the winter months is simply to take a walk by Lake Wanaka. The views of the pristine snow covered mountains framed with the clearest of blue skies will warm your soul and leave you pondering the majesty of our incredible planet and this very special piece of New Zealand.

If you have children then you can also take them to Snow Farm where they can go down slopes in tubes or try their hand at sledding for free.


Wanaka is a must see destination when travelling the South Island of New Zealand. To get to Wanaka, hire your Queenstown rental car from one of Omega’s two local branches and follow Crown Range Road and Cardrona Valley Road for an hour.

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