With its relaxed atmosphere and amazing alpine scenery Wanaka is a popular tourist resort and also the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park.
Situated at the southern end of Lake Wanaka, the pretty township of Wanaka offers visitors a variety of arts, crafts, shops, eateries and a number of areas to relax.
Cinema Paradiso is a unique cinema and café, where they serve homemade cookies and ice cream at intermission and you can enjoy a movie while sitting on a comfy couch or cushion. The Puzzling World (2 kilometres from Wanaka Township) is a truly fascinating experience, challenge your patience in the Great Maze, visit the puzzling and illusion rooms or check out the most eccentric toilets in the world!
The Wanaka Airport is an adventure on its own. Step inside the New Zealand Fighter Pilots’ Museum, which houses the largest collection of fighter planes in the Southern Hemisphere. Try your hand at flying with the interactive flight simulators or take a real scenic flight over majestic Wanaka in a plane or helicopter. Make sure you visit Wanaka Beerworks before you leave the airport to sample the popular locally brewed beers.
Wanaka is a skier’s paradise with four top ski fields on its doorstep including Treble Cone, Cardrona, Waiorau Snow farm and the Harris Mountains. Explore nearby Lake Hawea or engage in a ‘Lord of the Rings Tour’, where you will visit many of the locations that the infamous trilogy was filmed. Sample the local award winning wines on a vineyard tour or visit nearby Cardrona Valley, which is home to the historic Cardrona Hotel (built in 1863).
For the experienced climbers there are a number of hiking tracks, glaciers and the magnificent Mount Aspiring (standing 3027 metres high) to ascend. For the more relaxed outdoor enthusiast enjoy one of the many gentle walks in the area or take a picnic lunch to picturesque Glendhu Bay.
As well as the breathtaking Southern Alps, dense rainforests and alpine meadows, Wanaka offers visitors a number of adventure activities including 4WD safaris, heli-biking, horse riding, jet boating, a shooting range and skydiving. Wanaka’s annual events include the Wearable Art Awards and the Wanaka Snow Festival held in August.