Wanaka is a quaint town just a shorty jaunt from Queenstown. Its small town charm is what gives it such a draw. The beautiful lake right beside the downtown restaurants and bars make eating and drinking that much more enjoyable. We even cooked dinner in our van down by the lake. From the Happy Hour specials, the food trucks, and the amazing outdoor adventures Wanaka is a New Zeland destination not to miss. Here are the things we think you shouldn’t miss while visiting.
Diamond Lake/ Rocky Mountain Hike
This hike was my birthday hike and it did not disappoint. We saw 1 other person at the peak. The Rocky Mountain summit gives you a 360 view of Lake Wanaka , Rob Roy Peak and numerous other islands, mountains, and lakes. The hike was an adventure. The steepness took us by surprise but in all was worth the effort. At the summit stop and take pictures. This is a great place to have a picnic lunch. The views are spectacular and without the crowds they are even more amazing. A hike worth doing for views of Wanaka.
Rob Roy Glacier Hike
The best day hike hands down. The adventure is getting to the car park. Driving down an unsealed road for 30+Km (18.5 miles) as you go through river fords is quite an adventure. Once you arrive this 10 KM (6.2 miles) round trip hike is spectacular. The scenery is absolutely magnificent. You must go to the top viewing area as it was just jaw dropingly gorgeous. The numerous waterfalls falling form the glacier as the sun shined was just magical. It is the perfect spot for lunch. This day hike is the biggest bang for your effort. You will not be disappointed. Make sure you go on a clear day and go early to have the most sense of peacefulness.
If you love adventure, hiking, helicopters, and jet boats this is your place. We loved this area so much we have done it twice and recruited friends from USA to join us. You get a 20 minute helicopter ride over glaciers, valleys, mountain tops, and lakes before you land in the Siberia valley. Then after you set up camp you embark on an epic hike to Crucible Lake. This was a hike like any other but the reward was breathtaking. After a good nights rest you hike to the jet boat for another edge of your seat exciting adventure with views that capture your content gaze.
Wanaka has a great variety of mountain bike trails. If you like gap jumps, obstacles, and fast downhill Sticky Forest is your gold mine. You go flying down the mountain to ride straight back up. Our favorite trail was Dean Bank Track. It was the perfect cross country ride. It had 11 KM of huge swooping berms, easy grade uphill and downhill, gorgeous scenery, and enough technical features to keep you excited. We loved it so much we did it 3 times and brought our friends once. It is the trail to do in Wanaka to get amazing views and a great ride.
The Town of Wanaka
Looking for a cheap activity with great views? Then go rent a disc for $5 and play disc golf. It is a simple and relaxing game with Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains as your backdrop. The course is quite fun and has some quirky holes to keep you intrigued.
Talk about Happy Hours/Taco Truck
If you want to get the most out of your money search for Happy Hour deals. We found most of them along lake road restaurants. We tried 3 happy hours. The best food we hand in Wanaka was a food truck called Burrito Craft. They offer burritos and tacos. The fish tacos will knock your socks off.
Good Beer Store next to New World called Pembroke Wines and Spirits
If you are like us and love beer this is the store to stop and grab a pint or bomber. They have beer on tap and by the bottle. It is by no ways cheap but great beer is worth the money.
Shower at Recreation Center
If you need a shower and your accommodation does not offer shower then go to the new recreation center and for $5 NZD get an unlimited hot shower.
Camp at Albert Town Campground
Best Camping in the area for the money. For $10 a person you get a site, flush toilets, water, and trash, This is also the carpark for Deans Back Track. This campground was clean and peaceful. Make sure you have cash.