Wanaka: The resort town of New Zealand
Join us as we visit Wanaka - a popular ski and summer resort town in New Zealand.
We visited in the month of May and since the days are cooler and shorter then, it was already dark outside when we checked into our home exchange. Arriving at a spacious and comfortable getaway, we turned up the heaters and settled in for the night. When the dawn arrived the next day, we were up and out to explore this beautiful lakefront town!
Sitting on the southern end of its namesake lake, Wanaka is the gateway to the Southern Alps' Mount Aspiring National Park, a wilderness of glaciers, beech forests, and alpine lakes. It is located in the Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand and is popular for the views of the magnificent lake and giant snow-capped mountains.
While the town is very small, it is not short on beauty. Strolling through the streets, we saw lots of cafes, boutiques, and shops, and the beautiful sunshiny weather just made everything better!
Situated on the crystal-clear waters of New Zealand's fourth-largest lake, Wanaka is an ideal spot to go kayaking, and we didn’t want to miss that chance. We enjoyed a perfect afternoon and sunset paddling on the water, enjoying the divine views. We also visited the famous Wanaka tree right in the middle of the lake!
While staying at Wanaka, we had the opportunity to interview both the Mayor of Queenstown and legendary photographer Trey Ratcliff. We took the Crown Range road to Queenstown to meet them and had an amazing drive there and back at sunset over the scenic and winding route. Reaching an altitude of 1131 meters, it is the highest main road in New Zealand! It also leads to the Cardrona Alpine Resort and Snow Farm, the only cross country skiing area in the country.
The next day, we hiked up to the top of Mt Iron for an unforgettable view of the town and the surrounding lakes. We were really hungry after the hike and returned home to a delicious and fulfilling meal prepared by Chef Chloe and Pâtissière Angelique. It's one of the best things we love about staying at a home exchange
On our last day in Wanaka we drove along Lake Hawea towards Makarora for some more epic views of the area. This is the same route that leads to Haast and glaciers of the West Coast region. Along the way we stopped at Good Joe Coffee for a flat white, a popular drink here in New Zealand.
Overall Wanaka is one of the best places to wind down and really enjoy yourself away from all the hustle and bustle of city life.
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