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How to Spend 1 Day in Wanaka

How to Spend 1 Day in Wanaka

Often compared to neighboring Queenstown, Wanaka is quieter, less developed, and said to be more “local.” But pretty Wanaka deserves attention in its own right. In a single day, you can chill out on a nearby island, go hiking in the mountains or kayaking on the lake, and sample the famous local wine. Here are some suggestions.

Morning: Walk or Hike

After breakfast and coffee overlooking Lake Wanaka, spend the morning stretching your legs in the fresh air. If you don’t want to go far, have mobility issues, or are traveling with kids, simply stroll along the lakefront. Alternatively, take a short cruise out to one of the islands in Lake Wanaka, such as Ruby Island or Mou Waho, where you can walk around and take in the views of the lake and mountains.  

Afternoon: Try an Adventure Sport

In Wanaka, as in much of New Zealand, options abound for outdoor enthusiasts and thrill seekers. Spend the afternoon trying something new, or indulging in your favorite adventure activity: kayaking on the lake, hiking up to a viewpoint, jet boating, paragliding, horseback riding, riding in a helicopter, skydiving, or skiing in winter. 

Night: Dine by the Lake

Although it’s a small town, Wanaka is home to plenty of restaurants and bars, many with lake and mountain views. The vibe is casual, but with some high-quality food on offer. Enjoy a glass or two of Central Otago wine over dinner. Don’t forget a jacket if you want to sit outside, as it can get cool when the sun goes down, even in summer.

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Did you know?You can reserve your spot today and pay when you're ready.
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Did you know?
You can reserve your spot today and pay when you're ready.Learn more

7 Tours and Activities | All Wanaka Tours

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Lake Wanaka 1-Hour Cruise Including Wine and Cheese Board

Lake Wanaka 1-Hour Cruise Including Wine and Cheese Board

star-4.5
Sail around the serene Lake Wanaka on this late-afternoon ‘happy hour’ cruise. With a complimentary beer or wine in hand, cruise around the southern end of Lake Wanaka, the majestic Southern Alps in the distance. Sail around Waterfall Creek, Ruby Island and Stevensons Peninsula, and even see the famous ‘Lone Tree’ – a famous willow growing out of the lake.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$44.57
From
US$44.57

Jet Boat and Wilderness Walk Tour from Wanaka

Jet Boat and Wilderness Walk Tour from Wanaka

star-5
Discover the idyllic landscapes of the Mount Aspiring National Park, where filming for the Lord of the Rings took place, on this action-packed half-day tour from Wanaka. Zip along the Matukituki River on a jet boat, admire spectacular views of Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring, then hike past forests and waterfalls to see the Avalanche Glacier.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$180.51
From
US$180.51
Taking safety measures

Mou Waho Island Cruise and Nature Walk from Wanaka

Mou Waho Island Cruise and Nature Walk from Wanaka

star-5
After a catamaran cruise across Lake Wanaka to Mou Waho Island—which sits in the middle of the lake—spot rare native birds that are extinct on mainland New Zealand. Thanks to successful conservation efforts, the island is a rare haven for birdlife. Enjoy a guided hike with an expert guide to a lake at the top of the island, an experience that’s rated one of the best must-do activities in Wanaka.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$180.51
Price varies by group size
From
US$180.51
Price varies by group size

1-Hour Ruby Island Cruise and Walk from Wanaka

1-Hour Ruby Island Cruise and Walk from Wanaka

star-5
For travelers short on time in Wanaka, this one-hour cruise and walk to Ruby Island is an ideal way to experience the lake and mountains. Glide across Lake Wanaka to Ruby Island in comfort on a luxury catamaran. There, enjoy an easy walk to lookout points that are great places to take pictures from. Families and senior travelers will enjoy this tour, as it’s suitable for all levels of mobility.
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  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$37.01
From
US$37.01

Best of Wanaka Photo Safari

Best of Wanaka Photo Safari

star-5
Surrounded by lakes, mountains, national parks and rolling highlands, the Wanaka landscape is stunning and extremely photogenic. On this half-day tour, get to locations that most visitors to the region can only dream of accessing – private beaches and summits with panoramic views of the area. With assistance from your guide, take unique snapshots of West Otago to show your friends back home.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$589.11
From
US$589.11

Wanaka Nature Encounter: Lake Cruise and 4WD Safari

Wanaka Nature Encounter: Lake Cruise and 4WD Safari

star-5
Experience the best of Wanaka’s beautiful nature in a single day trip via four-wheel drive, lake cruise, and island walk. Gain exclusive access to private roads on the 4WD safari, and spot rare bird life on Mou Wahou Island, in the middle of Lake Wanaka, with the help of your expert guide. This is two action-packed tours in one, for maximum fun.
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  • 8 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$378.51
From
US$378.51

Small Group Jet Boat Adventure on the Clutha River from Wanaka

Small Group Jet Boat Adventure on the Clutha River from Wanaka

star-5
Running from Lake Dunstan in North Otago through to the East Coast, the wide and blue Clutha River is flanked by glacial terraces and stunning New Zealand bush. Speed down the river on this half-day jetboat trip through Upper Clutha Valley, take photos of the towering Southern Alps and thrill at the river’s long winding stretches and switchback corners.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$104.99
From
US$104.99
Taking safety measures


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