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Image: Tourism New Zealand, Photo by Lake Wanaka Tourism

In summer, Wanaka is all about water sports, fishing and beaches. As the snow falls in winter, the town becomes a base for skiers and snowboarders. After dark,the bars and restaurants are the place to share the day’s stories.

An inspiring place for relaxation in the pretty lakeside town of Wanaka, this region also offers an amazing range of adventure activities from horse riding in rugged foothills to awe-inspiring scenic flights amongst the frosted white peaks of soaring mountains. West of Wanaka, Mount Aspiring National Park, the nation’s third largest national park, is renowned for the diversity of its landscapes, from rugged forests to alpine meadows.

Download the Wanaka section from New Zealand Trade Manual 2013

Wanaka (from New Zealand Trade Manual 2013) (1154)


Mount Aspiring (Tititea) Known as Tititea ‘The Glistening Mountain’ by Maori, Mount Aspiring is an impressive 3,033 metres tall. Mount Aspiring National Park Part of Te Wahipounamu – Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area, Mount Aspiring National Park is incredibly varied and large, and is home to many native plants and birds (including Kea, the world’s only alpine parrot). Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea The Wanaka region is home to two dramatically blue lakes popular for boating, fishing and swimming. Rob Roy Glacier Track One of New Zealand’s best half-day walks. Located 50 kilometres from Lake Wanaka in Mount Aspiring National Park, the track into the Rob Roy Valley offers access to a dramatic alpine landscape of rainforest, glaciers and waterfalls. Unique museums Warbirds and Wheels houses an amazing collection of WWII fighter aircraft and vintage cars, while the National Transport & Toy Museum has 50,000 toys! Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World is a strange place of three-dimensional mazes and mind-altering puzzles. Even the restrooms are worth a look! Mountain biking The Wanaka region boasts over 750 kilometres of MTB tracks and trails.


Wanaka Lakeside resort within easy reach of Mount Aspiring National Park. Hawea Smaller settlement set on the tranquil shores of Lake Hawea.

Getting There and Around

Air Wanaka Airport offers flight-seeing to Milford and Mount Cook. Queenstown Airport offers domestic flights and some trans-Tasman services. Road Wanaka is 6 hours, 5 minutes from Christchurch and 1 hour, 40 minutes from Queenstown. Travel to the West Coast via Haast Pass. The drive from Wanaka to Haast takes just over 2 hours. Coach services operate regularly between Wanaka and Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill. There is a local bus service between Wanaka and Queenstown. During winter, the roads may become difficult to navigate because of ice. Christchurch to Wanaka [424 km; 6 hr, 5 min] Queenstown to Wanaka [117 km; 1 hr, 40 min] Wanaka to Haast [145 km; 2 hr, 5 min] Wanaka to Dunedin [276 km; 3 hr, 55 min] Wanaka to Invercargill [285 km; 4 hr, 5 min]

Making the Sale

  • Wanaka has a pace of life that is generally considered to be a little more relaxed than neighbouring Queenstown.
  • The village offers an selection of excellent restaurants and bars – Wanaka belies its size after dark because the nightlife buzzes here!
  • Nearby Mount Aspiring National Park offers hiking, rock climbing and trout fishing in a stunning setting.
  • During winter, Wanaka is a popular ski resort – there are four world-class ski areas in the region, so visitors can ski a range of different fields in the course of their holiday.

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