Wanaka has quickly becoming a hub of good coffee, amazing trails and must do’s on your list. If you’re flying into Queenstown and you have time, you must get over the hill to Wanaka.
I try and get there at least once a month, its an hour’s drive over the Crown Range or hour fifteen if you go past Cromwell (especially in Winter) and your camera will love you for it. Dazzling views all the way there and a stop off at Cardrona Hotel for full effect. I’ve cobbled together my faves for you if you have one, two or (lucky you) three days.
Head straight for Federal Diner for their bacon and egg butty and awesome coffee to get you started. If the weather is pants (that’s rubbish in my language) a spot of shopping is great. 47 Frocks, Gifted, Outside Sports, Wilson & Dorset, Alice to start you off. There’s heaps of shops hidden away in the little malls and side streets so get wandering and keep your eyes peeled. Lunch at Relishes or Kai Whaka Pai and if you’ve a car you can’t miss a wander up Mount Iron (just a short drive out of town). On the way back in head to Good Rotations and check out their bikes (and a coffee at The Good Spot Caravan) and then shoot over to Kika for dinner or The White House.
A moonlit wander along the beach to finish.
See Day One and then add in a trip out to Glendhu Bay, either by car or start the wandering along the Millennium Track. If you have the inclination you can ride or run there but a small jaunt towards it is good enough (it’s 15k one way). If you’re driving keep going after Glendhu Camp Ground (check out the view of Mount Aspiring on the way) and see the gorgeous green crystal clear water of all the bays along the way all the way out to Treble Cone.
Another must do is Mou Waho. An island in a lake on an island in the lake (you’ll understand when you get there) is one of my absolute favourite things to do with Eco Wanaka Adventures. They’ll explain about the island, the work they’re doing out there, the fact they have Weka there (extinct on the mainland) and it’s one of the most mindblowingly beautiful places on the planet. Don’t believe me? You will.
A bite at Florence’s (for lunch in the middle of the day) and then dinner- a trip to The Landing for dinner looking out at the mountains. You can also sample crepes at Charlie Browns. I already did for you so you’re welcome!
See day one and two. Head to Big Fig for some coffee and brekkie and a wander along Lakeside Road on the trail and snap at Black Peak. After Black Peak get yourself to another Black Peak (Black Peak Gelato) this time for some of the best ice-cream this side of the hill. Coconut is my go to. They have all the flavours for you to drool about on the board outside.
After out to Oakridge for a dip in their hot pools and swimming pool. Total relaxation. Bad weather day check out Paradiso Cinema for a gorgeous unique experience, or get all cozy a short drive out to Cardrona Hotel (nachos all the way). They have roaring fires and mulled wine in Winter, outdoor alfresco dining in Summer).
Ruby’s for some glamorous cinema times
Puzzling World if you like games and getting lost in a maze
Challenge Wanaka happens every February. An amazing ‘iron’ distance triathlon where the whole community joins in
Francesca‘s for amazing pizza
Outlet Track for running, riding and walking
Artisan Market every Thursday 3pm-6pm (so. many. cakes people)
Wanaka Wastebusters is an absolute MUST
If you’re an avid swimmer head out with the Wanaka Lake Swimmers every Sunday at 8.30am (and yes they swim in Winter in 10 degrees!)
Newbies The Coffee Shack for coffee and treats
All the chocolate you can eat from The Chocolate Workshop
I love Wanaka and would love to know ‘your’ Wanaka! What do you love or head to if you visit or live there?