Wanaka travel guide

Wanaka Tourism | Wanaka Guide

You're Going to Love Wanaka

Just an hour's drive from Queenstown is the resort town of Wanaka. Its beautiful mountain ranges and snow-topped slopes have earned it a reputation as being the "Alps" of New Zealand. In fact, the town is often base camp for many trekkers and those who venture on to the Southern Alps' Mount Aspiring National Park, where natural wonders like glaciers and alpine lakes still remain unspoiled.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Wanaka

1. Go Boating

With Roys Bay right there, how could you not book a few charters and head out on an evening cruise around the coastline and beyond?

2. Tour the Local Wineries

Coming in the summer? It's the perfect time to take a tour of the local wineries - and sample the product too!

3. Skydive over Wanaka

If you've always secretly wanted to try it but have never quite worked up the nerve, there may be no better (or less obstructed) corner of the world to do it in than Wanaka. Skydives are tandem so you're always strapped to a professional.

4. Hit the Slopes!

Most everyone who comes in the winter is here for the freshly powdered runs! Don't miss making your mark at Treble Cone and Cardrona, which is the highest ski field in New Zealand.

5. Check out Cinema Paradiso

Hit Cinema Paradiso and relax in comfy sofas, tuck into great finger food, and enjoy an old-time movie.

What to do in Wanaka

1. A Hidden Gem

You can't go to Wanaka without seeing the one thing that gives it its name and puts this small city on the map. Located at the base of several mountains, Lake Wanaka has clear blue water and will absolutely take your breath away. The city itself is located just next to it, so you don't need to go far to experience this breathtaking world wonder. It's also the fourth largest lake in the world.

2. Solitary Has Never Looked So Good

Whether you're a budding photographer or simply someone who can enjoy a good view, That Wanaka Tree is a unique site. Sure, you can visit the Great Wall of China or Ankgor Wat, but although it's more understated, this is just as famous a site and stunning in its simplicity. This lone, stark tree in the middle of Laka Wanaka is surrounded by jutting mountains and is truly a photographer's dream.

3. Toys For Kids And Toys For Adults

There aren't many places you can go as a family where the kids have the toys they're interested in and so do the adults. The National Transport and Toy Museum in Wanaka is a transport lover's dream with trains, cars, trucks, aircraft, motorbikes and even more. The toys depict the most coveted items over the decades and some will take you back to your childhood. Remember those action figures you used to collect 30 years ago? They're probably featured in this museum. Currently, there are over 30,000 toys on display and more than 600 cars so you'll certainly not be bored.

4. You'Ll Be Rippon Me Out Of Here

There's nothing more relaxing than wine tasting in quiet vineyards and getting to learn more about the process of making wine itself. But what makes wine tasting even better is incredible scenery. Rippon Vineyard is a family-owned lakeside vineyard where you'll get the opportunity to taste some of the most unique and distinct wine flavors from New Zealand. As New Zealand is so famous for its wine, the opportunity to taste and learn about it is incredibly special and you must not miss the chance.

5. A Purple Haven

Located just a few short minutes from the city center, this purple lover's dream is unlike anything else and is an enjoyable day out. As the delightful scent of lavender wafts through the air, you can explore the 10 acres of lavender fields and gardens - perfect for adults and kids alike. Once you've had your fill of wandering and taking photos of the pretty, rolling, brightly colored hills you can take a coffee or tea break and even try the lavender ice cream. You'll also be able to buy locally made lavender products like soaps and hand creams and thereby support the local economy.

1. A Hidden Gem

You can't go to Wanaka without seeing the one thing that gives it its name and puts this small city on the map. Located at the base of several mountains, Lake Wanaka has clear blue water and will absolutely take your breath away. The city itself is located just next to it, so you don't need to go far to experience this breathtaking world wonder. It's also the fourth largest lake in the world.

2. Solitary Has Never Looked So Good

Whether you're a budding photographer or simply someone who can enjoy a good view, That Wanaka Tree is a unique site. Sure, you can visit the Great Wall of China or Ankgor Wat, but although it's more understated, this is just as famous a site and stunning in its simplicity. This lone, stark tree in the middle of Laka Wanaka is surrounded by jutting mountains and is truly a photographer's dream.

3. Toys For Kids And Toys For Adults

There aren't many places you can go as a family where the kids have the toys they're interested in and so do the adults. The National Transport and Toy Museum in Wanaka is a transport lover's dream with trains, cars, trucks, aircraft, motorbikes and even more. The toys depict the most coveted items over the decades and some will take you back to your childhood. Remember those action figures you used to collect 30 years ago? They're probably featured in this museum. Currently, there are over 30,000 toys on display and more than 600 cars so you'll certainly not be bored.

4. You'Ll Be Rippon Me Out Of Here

There's nothing more relaxing than wine tasting in quiet vineyards and getting to learn more about the process of making wine itself. But what makes wine tasting even better is incredible scenery. Rippon Vineyard is a family-owned lakeside vineyard where you'll get the opportunity to taste some of the most unique and distinct wine flavors from New Zealand. As New Zealand is so famous for its wine, the opportunity to taste and learn about it is incredibly special and you must not miss the chance.

5. A Purple Haven

Located just a few short minutes from the city center, this purple lover's dream is unlike anything else and is an enjoyable day out. As the delightful scent of lavender wafts through the air, you can explore the 10 acres of lavender fields and gardens - perfect for adults and kids alike. Once you've had your fill of wandering and taking photos of the pretty, rolling, brightly colored hills you can take a coffee or tea break and even try the lavender ice cream. You'll also be able to buy locally made lavender products like soaps and hand creams and thereby support the local economy.

Where to Eat in Wanaka

Check out the dishes at Francesca's Italian Kitchen, an authentic Italian trattoria. Here, you can feast on creative pizzas, comforting pastas, and homemade polenta chips for between NZ$20 - NZ$25.

When to visit Wanaka

Wanaka in July
Estimated hotel price
C$ 69
1 night at 3-star hotel
Wanaka in July
Estimated hotel price
C$ 69
1 night at 3-star hotel

Wanaka is different in each season so the best time to come really depends on what you plan to do. If winter slopes are what you're after, come anytime between May to October. Temperatures hover between 32 to 50.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Wanaka

Plane

The closest airport is Queenstown Airport (ZQN), which is a 60-minute drive from Wanaka. Once there, use a bus to get to Wanaka.

Train

Use the Dunedin Railways to get to Wanaka for a fare of NZ$50. Or, if you're coming in from Queenstown, use the InterCity service to get to Wanaka for NZ$26.

Car

Coming in from Queenstown to Wanaka, use Crown Range Road and Cardrona Valley Road. If you're driving from Dunedin to Wanaka, use State Highway 8.

Bus

Getting to Wanaka from Dunedin or Queenstown, you can use services like Alpine Connexions, Connectabus, and InterCity. Fares start at NZ$35.

Airports near Wanaka

Airlines serving Wanaka

United Airlines
Good (2,839 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,377 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,414 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,324 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (958 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,412 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (308 reviews)
Singapore Airlines
Excellent (320 reviews)
Finnair
Good (694 reviews)
LATAM Airlines
Good (777 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (2,613 reviews)
ANA
Excellent (139 reviews)
Qantas Airways
Good (177 reviews)
EVA Air
Excellent (145 reviews)
Virgin Atlantic
Good (338 reviews)
Hawaiian Airlines
Excellent (628 reviews)
Air New Zealand
Excellent (74 reviews)
Virgin Australia
Good (94 reviews)
Jetstar
Good (90 reviews)
China Eastern
Excellent (11 reviews)
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Where to stay in Wanaka

Cardrona Valley Road - this is where you can find the Basecamp Wanaka Climbing Centre.

Popular Neighborhoods in Wanaka

Ardmore Street - right at the edge of Roys Bay is Ardmore Street, where you can check out boat charters, bike rentals, and tours.

Spitfire Lane - way out, past the waters, is Spitfire Lane, where the Classic Flights company is located. Glide over the landscape in a vintage 1930s and 1940s plane.

Where to stay in popular areas of Wanaka

Most booked hotels in Wanaka

Edgewater
Excellent (8.6, Excellent reviews)
C$ 219+
Ramada Resort by Wyndham Wanaka
Excellent (8.6, Excellent reviews)
C$ 181+
Lake Wanaka Lodge
Excellent (8.1, Excellent reviews)
C$ 123+
Wanaka Hotel
Good (7.9, Good reviews)
C$ 132+
Oakridge Resort Lake Wanaka
Good (7.9, Good reviews)
C$ 155+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Wanaka

Public Transportation

Wanaka doesn't have a formal public transport system. You can get around on foot or bike, besides using the taxi service.

Taxi

Taxis in Wanaka are metered. Fares start at NZ$3 and it's NZ$1.73 for each mile thereafter.

Car

Hirequip, Rent A Car Wanaka, and Adventure Rental Cars Wanaka are some local companies servicing your Wanaka car rental needs. Book a standard 4-door, compact car for NZ$113.30 per day.

The Cost of Living in Wanaka

Shopping Streets

There are very few traditional shopping spots in Wanaka because it's a town mostly dedicated to outdoor and nature enthusiasts. There is, however, a New World supermarket for food supplies and plenty of outdoor clothing and gear shops.

Groceries and Other

A quart of milk costs NZ$1.90 and a dozen eggs costs approximately NZ$4.