Top 5 Things To Do In Wanaka New Zealand
Back in December of 2017, we had the chance to see the beautiful country of New Zealand. On our short tour of the country, we made a stop at the little town of Wanaka on the south island on our way to Mount Cook Village from Queenstown. We are glad that we made the stop because this town is a gem! Wanaka isn’t a very big town so a day trip should suffice, especially if you’re staying in Queenstown. If you’re heading north from Queenstown, Wanaka is a can’t miss. Here are our Top 5 Things To Do In Wanaka New Zealand.
1. Lake Wanaka
Lake Wanaka is the main attraction of the town. This picturesque lake surrounded by mountains is clean and even features a beach area. We don’t recommend swimming in it though as the water is very cold, even in summer. Most of the main shops and restaurants of the town can be found near the lake front. Buy some of the local beer, find a spot by the lake, and just take in the beauty of Wanaka.
2. Wanaka Tree
The Wanaka tree is probably the most famous thing about Wanaka. You’ve probably seen a picture of it without even realizing where it was. This tree, believed to be a fence post 80 years ago, now sits in the water of Lake Wanaka. When the water level is low, you can even walk right out and touch the tree. Why see it? Well aside from watching everyone take selfies with the tree, the tree is a really pretty sight with the backdrop of the lake and mountains. If you walk along the beach, you’ll probably see the tree anyway. Hang around for sunset and you can get an Instagram-able photo!
3. Mount Iron Track
Like most of New Zealand, there are some pretty good hikes from Wanaka. If you’re doing a day trip, we highly recommend the Mount Iron Track. The Mount Iron hike will take you up a giant hill which gives you a great 360 degree view of Wanaka and the surrounding area. The hike will take you from an hour to 1.5 hours depending on your speed. This probably one of the quicker and easier hikes to get great views of the area. The hike does have a steady incline but the path is solid. If you’re up for more of a challenge with a better view, try the Roys Peak Track.
4. Wanaka Lavendar Farm
Just down the road from the Mount Iron Track is the Wakanda Lavender Farm. This little lavender farm is gorgeous! Wander the lavender fields and smell the fresh lavender. Stop by and say hi to sheep, chickens, highland cows, pigs, and alpacas. This farm is local run and has some great lavender products like lotions and soaps. The entry fee costs $5 NZD but the gift shop is free to enter. Try some of the lavender ice cream while you’re there!
5. Rippon Vineyard
After a long day hiking and roaming the town, why not grab a glass of wine and enjoy spectacular views! The Rippon Vineyard is a perfect stop for both. The views are to die for and is well worth the visit even if you’re not a big wine drinker. The tasting is based on donations and there isn’t any food for purchase, so just make sure to pack some snacks to soak up all that wine!
Wanaka is a great place to stop if you are looking for a great day trip in the south island of New Zealand. From Queenstown, it is only an hours drive away. While Wanaka is relatively small, there are some great things to see and do so don’t overlook this cool little place!