Wanaka, in the Otago region on New Zealand’s South Island, is a year-round hub of outdoor activities and breathtaking natural beauty. The lake town is set beneath Mount Aspiring National Park, which is part of the majestic Southern Alps. Come to this picturesque part of the country to hike, ski, fish and skydive, among other activities. Visit one of the acclaimed wineries nearby for those days when you just want to relax in the glorious outdoors.

Choose from ski slopes for every level of skier at Wanaka. Ski season runs from June to October, when you can enjoy 50 kilometres (25 miles) of cross-country ski area in the Mount Pisa ranges. Wanaka is an easy half-hour drive from Treble Cone, where you can test your skills on a vertical rise with stunning views over the lake. Shuttle buses run to the popular Cardrona slopes a little farther away.

During the warmer months the inviting waters of Lake Wanaka are a perfect spot for wakeboarding, sailing, waterskiing and trout fishing. Take a sailboat to Mou Waho Island, where you’ll be approached by New Zealand’s friendliest bird, the flightless weka. Hire a kayak or sailing boat to help you find a secluded beach along the lake’s shore.

Adrenaline junkies can take a jet boat tour, or go canyoning through forested waterfalls. Skydive over the lake and snow-capped peaks or take a scenic helicopter ride. Look for familiar scenes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, as this area was used as a location during filming of the popular movie series.

Take a wine tour to taste the fare of several nearby vineyards. Enjoy incredible views as you sip your pinot noir. Sample some Lake Wanaka trout at the wide choice of restaurants or head to one of the bars for cocktails by the fire.

Great attractions for families include the Wanaka National Transport and Toy Museum and Stuart Landsborough's Puzzling World.

Wanaka is a 60-minute drive from Queenstown. Catch a shuttle bus or hire a car. Tour operators organise ski and adventure packages that make getting around easy.

Known for

Family-friendly, Skiing and Romantic

Top hotels in Wanaka

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Ramada Resort by Wyndham Wanaka
Ramada Resort by Wyndham Wanaka
4 out of 5
109 Mount Aspiring Road, Lake Wanaka, Wanaka
NZ$150
per night
21 Oct. - 22 Oct.

Conveniently near to skiing facilities, this Wanaka apartment building is located in the mountains, within 3 miles (5 km) of Rippon Vineyard and Lake Wanaka, ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (431 reviews)

"A great place to stay at Wanaka. Showers are a little narrow."…"

Reviewed on 29 Sep. 2019

Ramada Resort by Wyndham Wanaka
Oakridge Resort Lake Wanaka
Oakridge Resort Lake Wanaka
4 out of 5
20 Studholme Road, Corner of Cardona Valley Road, Wanaka
NZ$154
per night
20 Oct. - 21 Oct.

Situated in Wanaka, this spa hotel is 0.4 mi (0.7 km) from Basecamp Wanaka Climbing Centre and 2.2 mi (3.6 km) from Lake Wanaka. Wanaka Golf Club and Pembroke ...

4.2/5Very Good! (820 reviews)

"Loved having laundry facilities in our room, very nice and quiet. A little drive out of the main town centre (couple of minutes max), but fine if you have a car."…"

Reviewed on 12 Sep. 2019

Oakridge Resort Lake Wanaka
Edgewater
Edgewater
4.5 out of 5
54 Sargood Drive, Wanaka
NZ$182
per night
20 Oct. - 21 Oct.

Located in Wanaka, this beachfront hotel is in a shopping district, 1 mi (1.6 km) from Rippon Vineyard and 2.7 mi (4.3 km) from Lake Wanaka. Crown Range and ...

4.6/5Exceptional! (875 reviews)

"Nice location on the lake, nice friendly staff. Property is in need of sprucing up and a bit dated."…"

Reviewed on 8 Oct. 2019

Edgewater

Popular activities in Wanaka

Puzzling World
Image for Puzzling World

Puzzling World

4.5/5(72 reviews)

Baffling optical illusions, quirky displays and a twisting maze make this fun attraction near Wanaka an unforgettable experience for the whole family.

Coronet Peak Ski Area
Image for Coronet Peak Ski Area

Coronet Peak Ski Area

4.5/5(178 reviews)

A variety of slopes for all abilities and some excellent après-ski options are on offer at this ski field just minutes from central Queenstown.

Lake Wanaka
Image for Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka

4.5/5(319 reviews)

Enjoy gorgeous hiking trails and deserted beaches at this pristine lake with the magnificent backdrop of the Southern Alps.

Top activities in Wanaka

Jetboat & Wilderness Walk
Image for Jetboat & Wilderness Walk

Jetboat & Wilderness Walk

NZ$249

Come with us on the most exciting half day Jet Boating adventure in New Zealand beneath the spectacular scenery of Glaciers & Lord of the Rings film locations, into Mount Aspiring National Park, part of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage area.

Lake Wanaka Scenic Helicopter Flight
Image for Lake Wanaka Scenic Helicopter Flight

Lake Wanaka Scenic Helicopter Flight

NZ$225

Enjoy a bird's-eye view of expansive Lake Wanaka, its surrounding mountains, and glacial valleys aboard a scenic helicopter flight. Take in the beautiful scenery from the air and disembark in an alpine setting to experience the magical area up close.

Half Day Guided Kayak Tour on the Clutha River
Image for Half Day Guided Kayak Tour on the Clutha River

Half Day Guided Kayak Tour on the Clutha River

NZ$199

This is our half day river kayaking activity for those with an appetite for getting up close and personal with the famous Clutha River. The fun unfolds as the river twists and turns, through playful rapids of the Upper Clutha set amongst the stunning Wanaka scenery.

Cardrona Lift Pass
Image for Cardrona Lift Pass

Cardrona Lift Pass

NZ$120

We have a bunch of different day pass options at Cardrona – from single day ski passes to the Multi-Day Pass, we’ve got you covered! Explore some of New Zealand’s best skiing & snowboarding terrain.

Cardrona Gondola Sightseeing Pass
Image for Cardrona Gondola Sightseeing Pass

Cardrona Gondola Sightseeing Pass

NZ$35

Immerse yourself in our beautiful alpine environment with sightseeing and walking at Cardrona. At over 1800m above sea level, breathe the fresh alpine air and take in the stunning 360-degree views of the Southern Alps, Lake Wakatipu and Lake Hawea.

Half Day Guided Kayak Tour on Lake Wanaka
Image for Half Day Guided Kayak Tour on Lake Wanaka

Half Day Guided Kayak Tour on Lake Wanaka

NZ$179

Enjoy a beautiful half day fully guided kayaking adventure on Lake Wanaka. Relax as you paddle along in the crystal clear waters & take in the views of the stunning Southern Alps.

Reviews of Wanaka

4.6

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
163
5 - Excellent 67.63485477178423%
4 - Good
71
4 - Good 29.46058091286307%
3 - Okay
7
3 - Okay 2.904564315352697%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

13 Oct. 2019

Wanaka is a beautiful clean and friendly town.

4/5 - Good

Mary

9 Oct. 2019

I had only a night there but it was bustling with lots of tourists. It's definitely the next Queenstown where it's touristy price

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

8 Oct. 2019

Beautiful place, vibrant with many great cafes and restaurants

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

25 Sep. 2019

Wanaka is amazing

5/5 - Excellent

Kay

21 Sep. 2019

We when to see the show stars in your eyes it was excellent

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

20 Sep. 2019

Lovely area.