June 13th, 2024

Exploring Wanaka: A serene paradise in New Zealand

Wanaka is a haven for those seeking the tranquillity of a lakeside town combined with the thrill of outdoor adventures.

The Wanaka tree
The Wanaka tree

Nestled in the heart of the South Island, approximately 424 kilometres southwest of Christchurch, Wanaka offers a captivating mix of serene beauty and adventure. This picturesque town, located on the southern shores of Lake Wanaka, is surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Southern Alps, presenting a tranquil alternative to the bustling Queenstown.

The big picture: Wanaka is a haven for those seeking the tranquillity of a lakeside town combined with the thrill of outdoor adventures. It's a destination that promises visitors a blend of relaxation and excitement amidst stunning landscapes.

Wanaka Lavender Farm
Wanaka Lavender Farm

Why it matters: Its location makes Wanaka a perfect base for exploring the Otago region's natural wonders. The town is a gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park, a World Heritage Site, offering endless opportunities for hiking, skiing, and climbing.

Six must-visit places in Wanaka:

  1. Lake Wanaka: The heart and soul of the town, Lake Wanaka is the fourth-largest lake in New Zealand. Its crystal-clear waters are perfect for kayaking, swimming, and fishing. The lake's shores offer numerous spots for picnics and leisurely walks, with breathtaking views of the Southern Alps.

  2. Roys Peak: For those who relish a good hike, the trail to Roys Peak is unbeatable. This challenging trek rewards hikers with panoramic views of Lake Wanaka, Mount Aspiring, and the surrounding peaks. The viewpoint is a popular spot for capturing stunning sunrise and sunset photos.

  3. Wanaka Tree: A solitary willow, standing in the shallow waters of Lake Wanaka, has become one of the most photographed natural landmarks in New Zealand. Known as "That Wanaka Tree," this serene spot encapsulates the peaceful beauty of the region.

  4. Puzzling World: A unique attraction that offers a break from outdoor activities, Puzzling World is a wonderland of optical illusions and a giant maze. It's a fun visit for families or anyone intrigued by puzzles and mind-bending experiences.

Puzzling World
Puzzling World

  1. Skydive Wanaka: For adrenaline seekers, skydiving over Wanaka provides an unforgettable experience. Jumping from a plane, you're treated to aerial views of the Southern Alps, Lake Wanaka, and the Clutha River, with a thrilling freefall followed by a serene parachute descent.

  2. Wanaka Lavender Farm: Just a short drive from the town center, this farm offers a tranquil experience among thousands of lavender plants. The farm also houses friendly farm animals, a tea room serving lavender-flavored treats, and a shop with lavender products, perfect for a relaxing afternoon.

Lake Wanaka
Lake Wanaka

The bottom line: Wanaka is more than just a stopover; it's a destination that captivates with its natural beauty, offering activities for every type of traveller. Whether you're seeking adventure or a peaceful retreat, Wanaka's charm is sure to leave a lasting impression.