Ultimate Travel Guide to Wanaka

Our Ultimate Wanaka Travel Guide

Wanaka is a gem waiting to be discovered in the stunning Otago region of New Zealand’s South Island. With its genuine alpine charm and welcoming community, this isn’t just a town but a gateway to stunning outdoor adventures and serene beauty.

There’s much to do here and to ensure you don’t miss out on a single thing, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite places to eat, shop and more in this Wanaka travel guide.

Time Zone

New Zealand Standard Time (GMT +12) 

Best Time to Go to Wanaka

The best time to visit Wanaka, New Zealand, truly depends on what you want to do. If you love water activities and hiking, the summer months from December to February are perfect.

However, if you’re a fan of winter sports like skiing or snowboarding, you’ll want to visit during the winter months of June to August.

Things to Know about Wanaka

Currency:  NZD (Check the current exchange rate)

Language: New Zealand English 

Calling Code: +64

How to Get Around Wanaka 

Shuttle: Several shuttle companies like Wanaka Transfers and Ritchies Transport offer transfers between Wanaka, Queenstown, and other surrounding towns and villages. This is a good option if you’re travelling with a group or want to avoid the hassle of public transportation. 

Buses: Intercity has buses that stop in Wanaka, and the local Yello bus, which are great options if you’re on a budget or don’t want to drive.

Taxis: Taxi services like Wana Taxi are available in Wanaka but can be expensive. Still, it’s a good option if you need a ride to or from the airport or are in a hurry.

Car service: Driving a car is the most convenient way to get around Wanaka, as you can explore the town at your own pace. We recommend using Wanaka Rentacar and Adventure Car Rentals Wanaka.

Where to Stay in Wanaka


Address: 54 Sargood Drive, Wānaka 9192, New Zealand

Phone: +64800108311

Pricing: $$

Top Reviews NZ-01

Edgewater is right on the edge of the beautiful Lake Wānaka, which means breathtaking views right from your room. They offer studios, suites, and apartments—great for couples and families.

The resort also has spas, a relaxing sauna, and even a beach accessible from the hotel, so you’re never too far from a refreshing dip in the water.  

For your mornings, if you’re a coffee lover like us, their cafe serves delicious coffee. Plus, it’s convenient to get into town, with the town centre being only 1.2-mile miles away, or check out the famous Wānaka tree—just a 5-minute walk!

Wanaka Homestead

Address: Corner of Mount Aspiring Road and Homestead Close, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +6434435022

Pricing: $$$

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Staying at the Wanaka Homestead feels like a home away from home.

The rooms are super comfy and clean, with everything you need for a good night’s sleep. The hosts are friendly and helpful, always ready to advise on the best places to visit in town. 

Stay in one of their lodges and wake up every morning to the most beautiful views of the mountains. Don’t forget to take a walk through their surreal gardens.

Whare Kea Lodge

Address: 494 Wanaka Mount Aspiring Road, Wānaka 9343, New Zealand

Phone: +6434431400

Pricing: $$$

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Whether you’re a kid or an adult, Whare Kea Lodge offers an unforgettable stay amidst New Zealand’s stunning blue lakes and majestic mountains. 

Each room has big windows to create the ambience of always being connected to nature. The staff here are also super friendly, and if you’re a foodie, you’ll appreciate the delicious meals at their lodge restaurant.

Oakridge Resort

Address: 20 Studholme Road, Wānaka 9382, New Zealand

Phone: +6434437707

Pricing: $$$

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Nature lovers among us head to Oakridge Resort when in the area. Besides the fantastic mountain views, Oakridge Resort has hotel rooms and fully equipped apartments catering to all types of travellers. 

Their heated swimming pool and the delicious food at their on-site restaurant are an added plus. 

Tin Tub Luxury Lodge

Address: 41 Peak View Ridge, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +6434431662

Pricing: $$$

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Tin Tub Luxury Lodge is a great spot for families and travellers seeking a peaceful retreat in Wanaka. 

Tin Tub Luxury Lodge has cozy vibes, spacious, comfortable rooms, and everything you need for a relaxing stay—including an outdoor bathtub for unwinding! If that’s not your thing, they have heated pools and hot tubs, which are also perfect places to unwind after a day of adventure.

Lime Tree Lodge

Address: 672 Ballantyne Road, Wānaka 9382, New Zealand

Phone: +6434437305

Pricing: $$$

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Lime Tree Lodge is a real gem. Nestled amidst beautiful gardens, this boutique lodge offers clean and beautifully decorated rooms, ensuring a comfortable stay. The hosts are also friendly and go out of their way to ensure you have a great time. 

Take time each morning to enjoy their delicious breakfast, and stop by the pool and spa when you’re ready to relax. Of course, be sure to stop and take some selfies and videos of their cute llamas on-site.

Wanaka Haven

Address: 42 Halliday Road, Wānaka 9382, New Zealand

Phone: +642108947820

Pricing: $$$

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Trust us, a stay at Wanaka Haven is a treat. This luxurious lodge is perfect for large families or groups because of the vast space (think eight bedrooms and two kitchens). 

It isn’t challenging to unwind here with a game room with a pool table, foosball and darts. Or take a dip in the pool—perfect for relaxing after a day of exploring. 

Mahu Whenua Lodge 

Address: Motatapu Road, Wānaka 9382, New Zealand

Pricing: $$$

Top Reviews NZ-01

Mahu Whenua Lodge is more than just a place to sleep—you can have unforgettable experiences too during your stay here. 

The rooms offer a blend of comfort and natural beauty. A stay in one of their stylish cottages means automatic stunning views of Wanaka’s mountains from your window. 

Moreover, the staff are friendly and go out of their way to help you plan plenty of activities in town, like horse riding, hiking, and even gold panning! 

Where to Eat in Wanaka


Address: 2 Dunmore Street, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +6434436536

Pricing: $$

If you like a modern tapas-style restaurant, Kika is the place to be, as it’s all about sharing and enjoying quality, seasonal dishes together. The cuisine is a creative fusion of Kiwi ingredients with Italian accents, presented in innovative sharing plates. 

Their menu includes shareable dishes perfect for both families and groups of friends. A few classic dishes are their crispy Kika fried chicken, garlic buttery cloudy bay clams, and lumina lamb shoulder.


Address: 151 Ardmore Street, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +6434432040

Pricing: $$

Alchemy, a lively lakeside restaurant and bar, is a treat for all senses. The menu celebrates local flavours, focusing on healthy, locally sourced ingredients.

Foodies delight in their seasonally changing brunches and dinner—something new to try each time. 

The brunch here is a personal favourite among Kiwis, but Alchemy also has an impressive selection of local beers, wines, and cocktails to quench your thirst. But the view of the lake adds a special touch to the dining experience.

Francesca’s Italian Kitchen  

Address: 93 Ardmore Street, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +6434435599

Pricing: $$

Craving some authentic Italian cuisine? Well, Francesca’s Italian Kitchen is the place to go in Wanaka. 

This restaurant is well-known for its warm hospitality and rich, flavorful dishes. Their menu is a feast for the senses, offering everything from homemade pasta to traditional wood-fired pizzas. 

And let’s not forget about their vegan and vegetarian options, ensuring something for everyone.

Bistro Gentil  

Address: 76A Golf Course Road, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +6434432299

Pricing: $$$

Bistro Gentil is a charming restaurant—the perfect blend of modern and cozy. The intimate setting and views of the lake make it an ideal spot for a romantic dinner or a relaxed meal with family. 

The French-inspired menu, featuring fresh seasonal ingredients from the Central Otago region, is a delight for the taste buds. We suggest trying their seven-course degustation menu. Each dish is a masterpiece of flavour and presentation. 

By the way, don’t forget to try their wines from Maude Wines—they are simply excellent.    

Red Star Burger 

Address: 26 Ardmore Street, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +6434439322

Pricing: $$

For delicious burgers in Wanaka, look no further than Red Star Burger. Their gourmet homestyle burgers are out of this world! And hey, don’t forget to try their fries—they’re the perfect crispy sidekick to your burger!

What’s more, they have an impressive selection of local craft beers to wash down your meal. 

Tititea Steak House 

Address: 123 Ardmore Street, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +64275368578

Pricing: $$$

If you want a hearty meal, make a beeline for Tititea Steak House. This gem in the heart of downtown serves up locally sourced, 100% 21-day aged grass-fed savannah ribeye steak cooked to perfection.

Besides their steaks, you can never go wrong with their cheeseboard or their creme brulee.

Federal Diner 

Address: 47 Helwick Street, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +6434435152

Pricing: $$

Federal Diner is a cozy cafe serving up delicious breakfasts all day long. They only use local, seasonal produce and free-range meats. 

Their organic eggs are fresh and cooked to perfection! But the real star of the show is their famous scones. They are absolutely scrumptious. 

Coffee lovers among us will be in heaven here—their coffee is the perfect pick-me-up for those groggy days.

Big Fig  

Address: 105 Ardmore Street, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +6434435023

Pricing: $$

If you want dinner with a view, head straight to Big Fig! This cozy café, right by the lakefront, holds the motto of ‘slow food served fast.’ (They live up to it.) 

Their dishes contain a Middle Eastern twist. Think fried pita dough, sweetened labneh and more. 

The coffee is also top-notch, and the in-house pastries are simply irresistible. We suggest trying their brekkie pots and gozleme.

What to Do in Wanaka

Go to the Wanaka Lavender Farm 

Address: 36 Morris Road, Wānaka 9382, New Zealand

Phone: +6434436359


The Wanaka Lavender Farm is a little slice of heaven right here on Earth. It’s no wonder why because the sight of blooming lavender, as far as the eye can see, is enchanting. 

The sweet fragrance in the air is calming, and as you walk through the lavender fields, if you listen hard enough, you’ll hear the soft buzz of bees. 

There is also a mini farm on-site with plenty of friendly animals that children and adults that are kids at heart will love to meet. 

Whatever you do, though, don’t miss the chance to taste fresh lavender ice cream.

Do the Rob Roy Glacier Track 

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just enjoy leisurely walks, the Rob Roy Glacier Track promises a day filled with awe-inspiring scenery and fresh mountain air. It’s a real treat for nature lovers. 

It starts with a scenic drive through the Matukituki Valley, filled with stunning vistas and grazing sheep. The track itself is a moderate 10km return hike, winding through lush forests and crossing swing bridges over sparkling rivers. 

The grand finale is the majestic view of the Rob Roy Glacier, with its cascading waterfalls and icy blue hues. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for the cheeky Kea birds along the way!

Go skydiving 

Address: Mustang Lane, Wānaka 9382, New Zealand

Phone: +6434437207


Skydiving gives you a whole new perspective of Wanaka—trust us, this is one adventure you’ll never forget! 

Soar like a bird high above the stunning landscapes of Wanaka Lake and mountains. Remember to keep your eyes open for the freefall. It’s an incredible sight you won’t want to miss. 

We suggest going with Skydive Wanaka. Their professional team eases nerves with their safety measures and clear instructions—making skydiving a thrilling experience for you. 

Sip on a pint at Rhyme X Reason Brewery 

Address: 17 Gordon Road, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +6432651101


Treat yourself to a pint at the incredible Rhyme X Reason Brewery. It’s a craft beer lover’s paradise, with an impressive selection of handcrafted beers, ranging from hoppy IPAs to smooth lagers. 

We suggest trying their tasting paddle, where you can taste four of their core beers. The staff guide you through their beer offerings, sharing stories about the brewing process and the local ingredients that make each brew unique. 

If you’re one to get hungry during a tasting tour, this place is BYOF. But they do have light snacks on hand.

Kayak through Wanaka Lake 

Kayaking through Lake Wanaka is an adventure you won’t forget. As you paddle across the crystal-clear waters, you’re surrounded by stunning mountain landscapes that take your breath away. 

The lake is calm and peaceful, making it perfect for beginners and children wanting to try their hand at kayaking.

Visit Puzzling World

Address: 188 Wanaka-Luggate Highway, Wānaka 9382, New Zealand

Phone: +6434437489


Puzzling World is a place where fun, learning, and a dash of mystery come together, making it a must-visit for both kids and adults. 

It’s an absolute blast for curious minds because of its unique blend of fun and brain-teasing challenges. From the moment you enter, you’re transported into a world where nothing is as it seems. 

The illusion rooms filled with mind-bending optical illusions are a highlight—you’ll question your own eyes!  

Do archery at Crossfire Wanaka

Address: 9 Mount Barker Road, Wānaka 9382, New Zealand

Phone: +6434435995


Even if you’ve never held a bow and arrow before, we suggest giving archery at Crossfire Wanaka a try. 

The staff are friendly and show you the safe way to become a top archer. The targets vary in distance, making it fun for both beginners and experienced archers. 

Stop by the iconic Wanaka Tree

Stop by and say hello to the famous Wanaka Tree. This lone willow tree stands tall in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Wanaka and makes for some amazing nature photography. 

Take a 4WD tour 

Address: 103 Ardmore Street, Wānaka 9382, New Zealand

Phone: +64273902152


Hop into a 4WD vehicle and discover Wanaka’s hidden gems off the beaten path. The whole family can enjoy this exciting experience with Ridgeline Wanaka. 

From exploring remote valleys and crossing shallow rivers to discovering ancient Maori sites and spotting unique flora and fauna, every moment of their 4WD tour is filled with wonder and excitement. 

Enjoy wine tasting at Rippon Winery

Address: 246 Wanaka Mount Aspiring Road, Wānaka 9381, New Zealand

Phone: +6434438084


Rippon Winery, steeped in history and nestled amidst stunning natural beauty, offers a wine-tasting experience like no other.

Step through their cellar door and embark on a journey through their exceptional selection of wines. Each sip celebrates Wanaka’s rich winemaking heritage, from crisp whites to luscious reds. 

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply curious about the world of viticulture, the staff at Rippon Winery guide you through their offerings. 

Learn about the unique flavours, aromas, and techniques that make each wine distinct, all while soaking up breathtaking views of the vineyard and surrounding mountains

Go horseback riding 

Address: 455 West Wanaka Road, Cattle Flat, Wānaka 9382, New Zealand

Phone: +64276074530


Don’t miss the chance to embark on a thrilling horseback riding experience with Wanaka Horse Trekking. 

Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a first-time equestrian, you’ll be captivated by the beauty of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountain vistas as you ride. By the way, if you book your ride during lunchtime, a picnic lunch and snacks are provided!

Tackle rock climbing 

Address: Twin Falls Wanaka Mount Aspiring Road, Wānaka 9382, New Zealand

Phone: +64 274 301 332


Tackle rock climbing with Wildwire Wanaka. They offer a range of rock climbing adventures, including three levels of waterfall climbs. 

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, there’s an option for everyone to challenge themselves and have a blast. Plus, you can capture amazing photos to remember this epic experience

Don’t worry—they provide the necessary equipment and guidance to ensure your safety throughout the climb.

Where to Shop in Wanaka

DEVaL’s Boutique

Address: 28 Helwick Street, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +6434431752


Whether you’re looking for a stylish new wardrobe or just one special piece while in Wanaka, DEVaL’s Boutique is a must-visit—a fashionista’s dream come true. 

Here, you can find a wide array of international designer labels, each piece selected with an eye for style and quality. The store itself has a chic, welcoming atmosphere with friendly, personalized service from experienced stylists that help you put together the perfect outfit. 

They even offer at-home or hotel styling if you’re visiting Wanaka, which is incredibly convenient. 

Pembroke Wines & Spirits

Address: 24 Dungarvon Street, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +6434437818


If you’re looking for a special bottle or want to expand your palate, Pembroke Wines & Spirits is a must-visit. It’s a wonderland for the wine lovers among us. 

The moment you step inside, you’re greeted by shelves lined with bottles from around the world. They have a fantastic selection of wines, beers, and spirits, including local gems you won’t find anywhere else. 

Depending on what day you go, they have tasting events—a great way to try new flavours and learn more about different drinks. 

Address: 82 Anderson Road, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +6434435510


Freshlink Grocer is the town’s go-to spot for fresh, locally sourced produce. 

They have a wide variety of organic options that taste as good as they look. You’ll also find a selection of gourmet cheeses, artisan breads, and quality meats. 

By the way, their selection of local honeys and jams is a must-try!

The Next Chapter

Address: 72 Brownston Street, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +642109046330


Shopping at The Next Chapter is like embarking on countless new adventures, each book a doorway to a different universe! It’s a true haven for book lovers. 

The store boasts an extensive collection of books from various genres. So, there’s something for everyone. 

Their section dedicated to local authors allows one to dive into New Zealand’s rich literary culture. There’s also a cozy kids’ corner filled with colourful storybooks.

Revology Concept Store

Address: 28 Helwick Street, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +64275431470


Revology Concept Store is a haven for those who appreciate thoughtful design and mindful living. 

This shop surrounds its visitors with beautifully crafted items that celebrate circular design. This means everything here is made with the environment in mind. 

Here, you’ll find a range of unique products, from home decor to fashion accessories, all created with sustainable materials. And if you need a break from shopping, enjoy a quiet cup of tea in their lovely tea house.


Address: Ballantyne Road, Wānaka 9343, New Zealand

Phone: +6434438606


Wastebusters is a place where you can find hidden gems and give items a second chance at life. This store is like a vast treasure chest filled with everything from clothes and furniture to books and toys. 

The thrill of the hunt is part of the fun, but the staff are always ready to help you find what you need. 

Wonder Room

Address: 80 Ardmore Street, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +6434435071


Shopping at the Wonder Room is like going on a treasure hunt. You never know what amazing things you’ll find next!

The Wonder Room sweeps you into a world of unique and quirky treasures. From one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces to artistic home decor, every store item has its charm. 

Check out their collection of locally crafted pottery. Each piece is so beautifully unique! 

The Green Room 

Address: 2/99 Sir Tim Wallis Drive, Three Parks, Wānaka 9305, New Zealand

Phone: +6434432324


If you’re looking for a unique gift for someone or want to brighten your day, The Green Room is your one-stop shop for plants galore. They have a wide variety of fresh, seasonal flowers and plants, and they help you create the perfect arrangement too! 

Which Places to Visit near Wanaka

Cardrona Valley 

Cardrona Valley is home to Cardrona Alpine Resort, one of New Zealand’s most popular ski areas. There is something for everyone, from skiers and snowboarders to hikers and bikers. 

There is also a historic hotel, a distillery, and plenty of opportunities for exploring.

What to Expect from Wanaka Weather

Spring (September to November): Spring in Wanaka sees temperatures ranging from 5-16°C. Keep in mind that the weather can be a bit unpredictable, with occasional rain and snow on the mountains, so bring the appropriate clothing with you. 

Summer (December to February): Summers are warm and usually dry, with temperatures typically between 10-24°C. During this time of year, many spend time hiking, biking, and doing water activities on the lake.

Fall/Autumn (March to May): Autumn witnesses a gradual drop in temperature, averaging between 6-18°C. However, this season in Wanaka is known for its stunning fall colours, making it an excellent time for photography.

Winter (June to August): Winter in Wanaka is quite chilly, with averages between -2-8°C. But the season is prime for winter sports, with several ski fields nearby—like Cardrona.

Apps to Download for a Trip to Wanaka

Google Translate: word translation with offline capabilities
iOs | Android

Google Maps: navigation GPS app with offline capabilities
iOs | Android

The Wanaka App: An app with local news, sports, information, events, and more, for the Wanaka community 

iOs | Android

Wanaka Tracks App: An app that provides information on various tracks available for walking or cycling, helping you choose the best one. 

iOs | Android

MetService: An app that provides accurate and up-to-date weather forecasts

iOs | Android

Air New Zealand: If you’re flying into Wanaka, the Air New Zealand app allows you to manage your bookings, check in online, and receive real-time flight updates.

iOs | Android

Rankers Camping NZ: If you plan to camp during your visit, this app provides information on campsites, reviews, and facilities, helping you find the best camping spots in Wanaka.

iOs | Android