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Lake Wanaka | The best things to see and do 👀 👍

Lake Wanaka is awe-inspiring, with Mount Aspiring National Park and the Southern Alps on its doorstep. You'll find the area a little more relaxed than Queenstown with the same underlying adventurous vibe. To give you a taste of what to expect from your visit to Lake Wanaka, here's an overview of great itinerary ideas I've collated for you.


This region is about so much more than discovering a natural wonderland of mountains, lakes, glaciers and rivers – it's about warm welcomes from passionate people who love to share their paradise. Travel to this part of New Zealand's South Island and see for yourself. Highlights can include:

  • strap yourself to a beautiful stranger and Skydive high above spectacular scenery

  • experience a piece of aviation history with a vintage scenic flight in an old tigermoth

  • enjoy the rustic charm of the Cardrona Hotel, one of New Zealand's oldest and most iconic hotels

  • Mount Aspiring National Park is a walker's paradise with a wonderful mixture of remote wilderness, high mountains and beautiful river valleys 🏞️

  • bring history, heritage, nature and wine together aboard a 4WD Nature Safari

  • take in a birds eye view aboard an impressive scenic helicopter flight 🚁

  • social media sensation #thatWanakaTree is the most photographed tree in New Zealand 🤳

  • great unique wine tour, colourful characters and spectacular scenery in a Funny French Car 🍷

  • the very popular Mount Iron Track loop walk offers excellent 360-degree views suitable for all ages and abilities 👟

  • the Illusion Rooms, Puzzle Centre and Maze will leave the family completely baffled at Puzzling World 👪

  • Warbirds & Wheels showcases a world-class collection of class cars along with warbird aircraft 🛩️

  • challenge yourself on a Canyoning adventure - jump, climb, swim and float through an amazing world of water

  • line up on the target and shoot for fun at Crossfire 🏹

  • tap into the inner child and get nostalgic at the National Transport & Toy Museum 👪

  • boat cruise to remote and magical Mou Waho Island nature reserve, and discover Arethusa Pool also known as the lake on an island, on a lake, on an island, one a lake, on the island, in the sea 🚤

  • see the latest blockbuster film in a classic movie theatre Cinema Paradiso, serving homemade ice cream and world-famous hot cookies fresh every intermission🍿🍪

  • hiking enthusiasts will want to take in breathtaking views on Roys Peak Track after a steep climb through alpine meadows and tussock grasslands to the summit ⛰️

  • get your camera's ready again after a short walk, you'll cross a swing bridge and then follow the boardwalk to crystal clear The Blue Pools of Haast Pass 🏞️

  • from late June to September you can enjoy snow sports at Cardrona Alpine Resort and Treble Cone Ski Area ❄️⛷️🏂

  • Kayak in pristine lakes, glacier-fed rivers and soak in awe-inspiring scenery 🛶

  • chase wild New Zealand trout on a guided fly fishing trip 🎣

  • jet boat the Matukituki River and Mount Aspiring National Park, with a guided walk to see towering mountains and waterfalls 🏞️

  • head to the Cardrona Valley for some family friendly guided horse trekking and quad biking tours 🐴

  • climb alongside Twin Falls, one of Wanaka’s most iconic waterfalls on a via ferrata tour with Wildwire 🧗

  • quench your thirst for fun on a Mountain Carting adventure, aboard a gravity-fuelled 3-wheeled, alpine specialized mountain cart designed for performance, comfort & safety

LAKE WANAKA AT A GLANCE 🛏️ minimum 2 night stay recommended 📅 visit any time of year

📍 6½ out of 10 visitors include Lake Wanaka in their New Zealand itinerary

🌦️there is a chance of rain 2½ days each week on average each year

👨‍👩‍👦‍👦Family fun scores well here with plenty to keep children entertained 🍽️Food + Wine experiences in this region were almost always mentioned as a highlight 🏳️‍🌈 LGBTQI+ friendly 👍

This part of New Zealand is home to:

Largest town:  Wanaka

Popular places:  Cardrona, Albert Town, Makarora, Mount Aspiring National Park, Treble Cone, Glendhu Bay, Lake Hawea, Luggage, Mount Iron, the Crown Range Road and more...

Accessible by:

🚗 self-drive on a road trip

✈️ board a plane to land at nearby Queenstown's Airport (ZQN) which is about 1 hour drive away

🚌 take a bus from Glacier Country, Central Otago or Queenstown

Be adventurous. Be spontaneous. Embrace the unknown.

Let us plan your getaway. The catch?

Your destination is a surprise.

Book A Surprise Kiwi Adventure today and you might just end up in Lake Wanaka - it's Time 2 Go!


Explore Aotearoa New Zealand

Great Kiwi Trips provide the best of each region in bite-sized travel packages

Combine several trips together to create the ultimate experience!

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