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Wanderlist Discover: Wanaka, New Zealand

Wanderlist Discover: Wanaka, New Zealand

Comfortably tucked away in the foothills of an impressive alpine range, Wanaka is a perfect year-round travel destination in New Zealand. In the summers, the clear waters of Lake Wanaka - the group of tranquil lakes that give the region its name - attract a large number of sun-seekers including kayakers and sailors to enjoy the great waters. In winters, Wanaka is a preferred destination for skiiers and snowboarders alike. But Wanaka is much more than just a seasonal destination. Visitors can enjoy many more activities all year, including fishing, camping, hiking, canyoning, skydiving or just simply chilling in one of the several cafes and restaurants in this cheerful town. There’s even wine tasting opportunities in this charming little town, so what’s your excuse for not including Wanaka on your travel list?



  • Heli-ski : Want to be James Bond for just a little while, and jump off a helicopter with your skis on onto untouched powdery snow, and whizz down the snowy mountain peaks, pretending to chase bad guys? Wanaka is the perfect spot for it. Well, at least without the bad guys.
  • Reach for the skies  : To get a maximum thrill out of your holiday in Wanaka - or simply, to get the best aerial views of the town - you can do a tandem skydive with an expert, a nd jump out of a plane at over 15,000 feet. The view from the top, just before you jump are nothing short of stunning. If you are not excited by the thought of jumping out of a plane, just take a plane ride in a classic Tigermoth from the 1940s, with a local pilot, Peter Hendriks. Fly over the small town in the open top plane, and later enjoy a breakfast at a private airstrip. It may just be the best highlight of your holiday.
  • Eat Like The Locals : Kai Whakapai is something like a home away from home for most local residents, and the perfect hangout spot for tourists to pick up the local vibe and chill with a beer and a pizza. The amazing views of the Lake is just an added bonus.

Best Time To Go: Anytime

Wanaka is a year-round travel destination and almost anytime is a good time to visit the destination. For autumn colours, visit in April - May, and for a snowy mountain holiday, visit between June through October.

Where in the world:

Wanaka is located on the southern shores of Lake Wanaka, in the middle of Southern Lakes District, in New Zealand.

World Map - Wanaka New Zealand.jpg

Fun Fact: An iconic piece of New Zealand culture, That Wanaka Tree is a lonely willow tree that grows in one of the bays in the southern end of Lake Wanaka. Photographers began shooting this tree and sharing it among themselves as a joke, and over the years, it has become one of the most photographer trees on the planet. The location is a photographer’s delight, and every day there are a whole bunch of photographers standing with their tripods, waiting for the perfect light to fall on the tree to capture yet another iconic glimpse of the legendary Kiwi shrub.

Useful Information:

  • Language : English
  • Currency : New Zealand Dollar (NZD)
  • How to Get Around :  The town of Wanaka is a small town, but the region itself is quite vast, so if you are planning to do a bit of sightseeing, you can rent a car locally.  To get around the town, you can use bikes or just walk around to the shops or the restaurants. Some local companies also offer a shuttle service for sightseeing and can take you out to the mountains or the ski areas.

The Discover Series by Wanderlist

Discover less explored destinations & places that have never been on your travel radar with our Discover Series. Every week we will share a beautiful underrated city you should add to your travel bucket list.

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