Things to do in Wanaka, New Zealand
Smaller than Queenstown, larger than most other towns on the South Island, Wanaka is one of the local Kiwi’s favourite holiday destinations (and growing very rapidly). You might think that the only thing Wanaka has to offer is the Wanaka tree (photo taking spot), but there is definitely more the town has to offer.
Go on a Killer Hike – Roy’s Peak
Grab your hiking shoes, your backpack and many water bottles (and energy bars): You are about to go on a hike of a lifetime! Although I would consider myself fit, the Roy’s Peak track was certainly a challenge. The track is a 16km return track, which doesn’t sound so bad at first. But taking into consideration that you will hike 8km to the 1578m peak is brutal for many hikers (Constant elevation!!). Nonetheless, the hike was all worth it because you are rewarded with the most breath-taking views over Wanaka’s lake, its islands, bays, and the mighty snow-capped mountains of the Southern Alps.
Save Water, Drink Wine
Wanaka has some pretty decent wineries, which will reward you not only with a great selection of wines but also with beautiful views over Lake Wanaka (you won’t find that in Christchurch’s or Queenstown’s wine regions). What is particularly nice is that the wineries in Wanaka are less touristy (the locals recommended us those wine gems).
Drive to Rippon winery, a long-running family-owned lakeside vineyard, located on top of a hill. Pair your wine tasting with dinner or enjoy a glass of wine with views over the vineyard, lake and mountains.
If you want a cozier setting, head to Maude Wines, which is a family-owned winery, on the search for the holy grail of winemaking and Pinot Noir perfection. The winery offers Central Otago Pinot Noirs, Chardonnay and Riesling. Also good for dinner or a great cheese platter!
Clay Bird Shooting
Try some clay bird shooting at Crossfire in Wanaka. You don’t need to worry, it’s not dangerous. You will shoot from one purpose build booth, clay birds are released by a foot pedal. It’s really fun!
For lunch, I can recommend the restaurant Federal Diner. It is a place where the locals go to hide from the tourists. The coffee is terrific, the scones famous, and breakfast is served all day – what do you want more? 🙂
For dinner head to KIKA, a stylish tapas restaurant in the heart of Wanaka. This is most likely the best fine dining choice in Wanaka. KIKA is owned and operated by award-winning chef James Stapley and offers a menu of local produce which changes with the seasons (good wine menu too). The atmosphere is modern and relaxed, perfect to end the day.