Sunset  at Wanaka
Credit/Licence Flickr: Jo Munday

The relaxed holiday town of Wanaka is found on the southwest shore of the poplar-lined Lake Wanaka. Around 50kms northeast of Queenstown, this family friendly destination is becoming a popular alternative to the busier city. The area’s glacier-formed landscape is even more spectacular when viewed in the favoured Wanakan style, from a light aircraft.

Situated in the corner of a valley and beside the reflective waters of Lake Wanaka, you are surrounded by great views - even in the town centre. Many of the town’s great restaurants and cafes make the most of these views, complimenting the tasty local produce served in creative ways.

To the north of Wanaka is Mt Aspiring (3,032 metres) and Mt Aspiring National Park, one of New Zealand’s largest national parks. The park is a popular hiking destination; the snow-covered terrain offers a real challenge to the adventurous in winter, with access via mountain passes to neighbouring valleys in summer.

Winter is all about snow; Wanaka area has the largest ski-able terrain in Australasia catering to every activity and style of skiing. Of course, the views are pretty spectacular too. Spring the wildflowers spring forth en mass as newborn animals frolic. The rainbow and brown trout prepare themselves for fishing season and mountain bikes get a pre-season greasing. Summer temperatures average 23C, but will reach mid-30’s. The lake becomes the town epicentre, with watersports including water-skiing, sailing, fishing, windsurfing, swimming and kayaking. Hiking is still popular in summer.