I'm heading to Wanaka in August and wondering what are some things to see and do (apart from skiing)? I'll have a car to get about so any recommendations would be appreciated!
Mostly its about the scenery in the Wanaka region - make sure you visit Lake Hawea ... and the Maze/Puzzle World. Depending on time of year, you might also want to visit Alexandra and/or Cromwell for the wonderful stone fruit, or the blossoms in Alex in the spring. Of course, you are within a pretty easy drive of Queenstown, so you might want to visit, and check out the many wineries in the region - Chard Farm, Mt Edward and plenty of others to explore. As you drive towards Queenstown from Wanaka, you can also see the remains of the original gold mine workings across the other side of the river. Plenty of interesting history in the region. about 6 years ago
How long have you got!?
August is a fantastic time of the season for skiing in Wanaka. I agree with Karen on the Puzzle world and the short drives and vineyards. The Paradiso Movie theatre is also fantastic - couches and arm chairs - fresh homemade cookies and icecream at half time. Be sure to book as it fills up quick!
Short walks - there are lake front tracks in both directions from the township - and you can hire a bike easily to cover more distance. Mt Iron (approx 1 hr 20ish) is also a local and visitor favourite offering great views over the township and up the lake. On you way to Treblecone Skifield you will pass the Diamond Lake Walking track. You can drive right up the Mt Aspiring Valley and walk to either the Mt Aspiring hut or Rob Roy Glacier - you would need to allow a day for this. The local DOC office has more info on these.
The scenic flights to Milford sound are incredible - You can just fly over, or fly and cruise on the sound. Skydive Lake Wanaka is an award winning drop zone - friendly and professional - you can jump from 15,000ft and see right out to Mt Cook and up to 6 lakes. The winter views are gorgeous with the snowy contrast on crisp clear days.
There are also some fantastic jet boat trips - up the Matukituki River or Wilkin River, And if you want to combine it all the Siberia experience (Plane, bush walk, jet boat) from Makarora, is an awesome day out.
If you'd like to try some of the locally brewed beer - brewski - on tap at Kai Whakapai - a cafe on the corner of the main street. And Finchys restaurant (central town) offer good value $10 lunches every day. On the way home from Qtn or Cardrona ski field - call into the Historic Cardrona hotel.
Oakridge hotpools are always a welcomed on a day off from skiing. As are the big open fires at Woodies and Barluga bars in Post office lane.
The Lake Wanaka Tourism Website has heaps of awesome pics of the area, so you'll find all this info and more on here www.lakewanaka.co.nz
Hope this helps - all the best with your planning, and don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.
Kirsten about 6 years ago
Thanks for the replies Karen and Kirstin! I'm going for 5 days, so hopefully can squeeze in a few days of skiing plus a day or two of sight-seeing and adventuring!
Is there anything off the beaten path that isn't well known or in the guide books that I should see? about 6 years ago
It's Cymen here from www.rankers.co.nz.
The advice above looks really good. In reference to your off the beaten path question. See this link for the top voted, non commercial things to do in Wanaka.
The top ones are mapped.
Cymen about 6 years ago
If you're off to Wanaka and you want to chill out one evening, go to Cinema Paradiso - its a tiny cinema, you can get a meal there too (and eat it in the screening room with a beer). They have a half time interval where they sell freshly baked cookies straight from the oven too. And the seats are a bunch of sofa's so its nice and comfy too! Definitely a good way to spend an evening! about 6 years agoAnswered by Louise via Travellr.com