Whether it’s summer or winter, Wanaka has plenty to keep travelers with a range of interests happy. With three days, you can divide your time among chilling out in town with a glass of pinot noir, checking some adventure activities off your bucket list, and venturing out into Central Otago or Fiordland. Here are some ideas.
Day 1: Take It Easy in Wanaka
Set on the southern edge of a lake, Wanaka is a pretty place, and you don’t have to do much to enjoy being there. Take a cruise or water taxi to one of the nearby islands, where you can hike, admire the views, or play on the beaches and in the water. (Take care, as the water can be very deep.)
Later, check out the kid-friendly Puzzling World. With optical illusions, a challenging maze, and bizarre buildings, you have to see it to believe it. Take some funny photos, and have a good laugh.
Day 2: Try a New Sport
With beautiful mountains, lakes, and rivers, the area around Wanaka is a perfect place to try some adventure activities. Travelers who love the outdoors but don’t want to get their heart rates up too high can kayak on Lake Wanaka, go horseback riding, or take a guided day hike in the hills. For something more adrenaline-inducing, try skydiving, paragliding, jet boating, canyoneering, or mountain biking. Some activities require a bit of travel, but the scenery along the way is worth it.
Day 3: Take a Day Trip Farther Afield
Worth visiting for its views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountains, Wanaka’s more famous neighbor, Queenstown, is just an hour away by car. Lovers of good food and drink can hop on a wine tour of some of Central Otago’s premier wineries, known for their pinot noir. Alternatively, consider taking a scenic helicopter flight to Milford Sound. Mitre Peak is one of New Zealand’s most iconic sights, and seeing the Fiordland area from the seat of a helicopter is an unforgettable experience. Some tours even land on a glacier.