Wānaka is a hub for skiing, snowboarding and great walks. After a day of outdoor adventure you can wine and dine at Wānaka's top restaurants.
Find out more about the top 10 things to do in the Lake Wānaka region.
From June to October Wānaka is a hub for snow lovers. The largest ski field in the South is Treble Cone. A four kilometre run offers great views of Lake Wānaka from the top. Cardrona Alpine Resort is open year round - winter for skiings and snowboarding, summer for downhill mountain-carting and mountain biking. Snow Farm is a great choice for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Soho Basin is a private ski area providing exclusive access to 264-hectares by snow-cat, a gourmet three-course lunch is included in this luxury experience.
Did you know?
According to Otago locals, 'That Wānaka Tree' was nothing more than a small willow tree that begun it's life as a fence post. It then transformed into a picture-perfect tourist spot on Lake Wanaka's waterfront. Today, it is the most photographed tree in New Zealand and is an iconic part of Lake Wānaka's charm. To get there, simply walk a few minutes along the waterfront from the town centre towards Roys Bay.
Wānaka is a haven for foodies, with a vibrant lakefront café scene and many restaurants showcasing the best local produce. Try the "Just feed me" experience at Kika(opens in new window). Or, the slow cooked lamb shoulder at Wanaka Gourmet Kitchen (WGK)(opens in new window). For flavours of Europe go to Francesca's Italian Kitchen(opens in new window) and Bistro Gentil(opens in new window). Meanwhile, Kota(opens in new window) takes the finest local ingredients and transforms them into Asian and Pacific dishes bursting with flavour. Hook Wanaka(opens in new window) and Edgewater's restaurant(opens in new window) are also firm favourites!
Climb the world’s highest waterfall cable climb (via feratta) with WildWire Wānaka. After the safety checks your expert guide will lead the way - walking over suspension bridges and scrambling up huge boulders. Be on the lookout for hidden pools before climbing up alongside a large waterfall. The three tour levels start from a short 150 metre climb through to 450 metres of challenging climbing. Are you brave enough to take on the Lord of the Rungs level?
Will you accept the challenge of skydiving from 15,000 feet? Your adventure with Skydive Wānaka(opens in new window) begins with a 20 minute scenic flight to altitude. As the plane door opens and you find yourself on the edge, do you dare to look down? Soon, you’re flying through the air at speeds of 200 kilometres per hour with uninterrupted views of six lakes, glaciers and the Clutha River. See Mount Aspiring National Park, the Southern Alps and Mount Cook from above. Then, after 45 - 60 seconds of free fall you land safely back at the drop zone. Afterwards, you can take home the video of your skydive so you can relive this epic adventure again and again.
If you're driving from Wānaka to Queenstown be sure to stop in at the Cardrona Hotel(opens in new window). Established in 1863, the hotel is a reminder of the Otago gold rush era. By the 1890's the hotel was only one of four remaining public buildings in the township and by 1960 the hotel was closed permanently and left to deteriorate, before being purchased by a local farmer. Some years later the hotel found new owners who saw it's potential and took on the mammoth restoration task. Today, the hotel is the perfect rest stop. The top quality restaurant, hotel rooms and outdoor entertainment area attracts visitors from all over the world.
Experience three days of aviation history during Warbirds Over (opens in new window)Wānaka (opens in new window)International Airshow(opens in new window). This spectacular biennial event is ranked as one of the top four wardbirds airshows in the world and takes place over Easter. Another biennial weekend event is Wheels At (opens in new window)Wānaka(opens in new window) featuring classic and vintage cars, earthmovers, steam trains and more. Wā(opens in new window)naka is proud to host a range of sporting and music events(opens in new window) throughout the year.
Puzzling World is definitely puzzling! You can hold the 'Leaning Tower of Wānaka' in your hand. And, as you step inside the illusion rooms you will think you're in another world. Another rainy day activity is to relax on the comfortable old sofas at Cinema Paradiso(opens in new window), a cute little 2 screen cinema in the centre Wānaka township - make sure you try the freshly baked warm cookies during the half-time break. Or, visit the National Transport and Toy Museum which houses a large private collection of classic cars, motorcycles and boats. Military vehicles and aircraft are also on display. Warbirds and Wheels hosts a great collection of World War 1 and 2 aircarft and classic cars and is located at the Wanaka Airport.
From September to May you can immerse yourself in the beautiful purple hues of Wānaka Lavender Farm. The lavender farm and farm experience are open year-round and is fun for the whole family. You can sample lavender ice-cream, beauty products and Lakes Honey that are all produced on the farm. To get there from Wānaka take State Highway 84, past Puzzling World and turn into Morris Road.