Wanaka

Wanaka and its namesake Lake Wanaka offer some of the most breathtaking scenery in New Zealand. As well as being the main gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park, Wanaka is popular amongst skiers seeking a quieter alternative to Queenstown, with Treble Cone, Cardrona, Snow Farm and Snow Park ski areas all nearby. Summer thrill seekers are kept busy with mountain biking, hiking, fishing, jet boating, canyoning and more. Wanaka is surrounded almost entirely by mountains, with Mount Victor to the north, the towering Mount Aspiring and Mount Hyde to the east, and Mount Pisa to the south. This is a trap for the snap happy - as the view of Lake Wanaka with the mountains in the background is equally amazing from every angle.

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Population 7,390
Book Flights to Wanaka Book now
Languages English, Te Reo Māori
Holiday Packages to Wanaka Book now
Area 192km2
Time Zone UTC+12
Currency New Zealand Dollar
Dining

The majority of Wanaka’s restaurants and bars are located on the town’s main strip of Ardmore Street. After a big day on the slopes, hungry skiers can take their pick from pub food, Italian, Indian, French, Mexican, Japanese, American, Thai and contemporary New Zealand cuisine. The beautiful homemade gelato and sorbet at Black Peak Gelato is a popular dessert choice. Following any day of adventure sports comes the night of storytelling; and there’s certainly no shortage of pubs and bars in Wanaka to facilitate this. Kick off the evening by sampling the range at Speight's Ale House, before progressing next door to Lalaland, where the comfy couches provide the ultimate relief for aching bodies. Finish the night in style by enjoying a whisky or cocktail in the comfort of a leather armchair at Barluga. Fuel up for the day ahead (or recover from the night before) with a delicious breakfast at one of Wanaka’s charming cafes. The smoked salmon tortilla at Relishes Cafe and the potato and thyme rosti at Cafe Gusto are popular picks. For the best coffee in Wanaka, head to Ritual Espresso Cafe on Helwick Street. When the body begins to yearn for a day off the slopes, a wine tour of Wanaka is the perfect way to relax while experiencing the region’s gourmet underbelly. With half-day and full-day options available, a wine tour promises not only tastings of delicious local wines but also spectacular scenery, beautiful food platters showcasing the area’s finest local produce, and even a tour of the historic Old Cromwell Town.

Shopping

There are two markets well worth a visit while in Wanaka. The first one, for those lucky enough to be in Wanaka on a Sunday between October and April, is the Wanaka Sunday Craft Market. Visitors can browse and buy a wide range of locally made products, including pottery, paintings, woodware, jewellery and handmade clothing. The market is held in Pembroke Park, on the southern shore of Lake Wanaka. The second of Wanaka’s markets, also held in Pembroke Park, is the Wanaka Farmers and Gardeners Market, held every Thursday from 3pm and Sunday from 10am. Offerings are seasonal but might include fresh berries, jams and relishes, flowers, olive oils, organic local garlic, cheeses, meats and yoghurt, as well as all the common fruits and vegetables. As a popular accommodation base for four busy ski areas, Wanaka not surprisingly is home to an abundance of ski shops. Racer's Edge, MT Outdoors, The Boardhouse, Base, Outside Sports Wanaka and Ski Connect are all within 700 metres of one another. All types of skiing and snowboarding gear and clothing can be readily hired as well as purchased.