Wanaka is an outdoor lover’s paradise with a magical landscape (or 12) everywhere you look. 

From sweeping views atop mountain peaks to the glassy waters of Lake Wanaka, this wonderous region deserves to be seen and admired. Embark on an exhilarating adventure on our Wanaka tours and holidays and get ready to wander your way through some of New Zealand’s best cinematic backdrops. Whether you fancy spending an afternoon sipping on some of the South Island’s top wine, hiking up Roys Peak for an epic view you’ll never forget, or settling down for a tasty meal at one of Wanaka’s best restaurants, this stunning region is guaranteed to be the highlight of a lifetime. Don’t believe us? Come take a look for yourself. 

Our Wanaka tours

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Tailor-Made trips

Take four or more on an exclusive trip and tailor your itinerary

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Things to do in Wanaka

Two kayakers making their way across Lake Wanaka in Wanaka, NZ

Kayak your way across Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka is New Zealand’s fourth-largest lake so it’s no wonder it’s the major focal point of this picturesque region. Not only can you admire this beautiful body of water from its rocky edges, but you can also participate in numerous water activities on it from sailing to jetboating. Our favourite, however, is kayaking. Greeted with stunning views from every angle, gently ease your way across Lake Wanaka’s waters, taking in the famous Wanaka Willow and surrounding mountain ranges. 

View from Roys Peak in Wanaka, NZ

Hike up Roys Peak for a spectacular view

If you want to experience the full extent of Wanaka’s beauty, then you need to make your way to the top of Roys Peak. While it does take roughly 5-6 hours (return trip) to hike the track, the spectacular views you’re met with once you’re at the top more than make up for the challenging 1300m climb. With panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges and glistening lakes, this adventurous activity is a must for all lovers of the great outdoors. 

The Wanaka Willow in the middle of Lake Wanaka in Wanaka, NZ

Admire the Wanaka Willow

Yes, we technically could’ve mentioned this stunning willow tree in the Lake Wanaka highlight you’ve just read but simply look at it for a second. We thought it deserved its own. And we’re not the only ones who think so. Photographed maybe a thousand times by travellers who want it to grace their photo albums and Instagram profiles, this breathtaking willow tree stands in the middle of Lake Wanaka, alone and undisturbed. Known as #thatwanakatree, its popularity has grown to become the most photographed tree in New Zealand. It’s not hard to see why. 

A selection of fresh local produce paired with a wine from a Wanaka winery

Have a drop at a Wanaka winery

Hawke’s Bay is not only known for its stunning and breathtaking landscapes but also for its many scenic wineries that serve up some of New Zealand’s best wines. After a day spent exploring there’s nothing better than sitting back and relaxing with a glass of Chardonnay at Rippon Vineyards, looking out over the picturesque Lake Wanaka. Or taste tasting the Pinot Noir and nibbling on a selection of fresh local produce at Maude Wines. Whether Sauvignon Blanc is your go-to or Shiraz is your drop of choice, the wineries in Wanaka are sure to satisfy your cravings.

Wanaka Lavender Farm in Wanaka, NZ

Wander through the beautiful Wanaka Lavender Farm

If you thought Wanaka couldn’t get any more breathtaking then think again. Nestled just a few minutes from the centre of Wanaka lies a 20-acre lavender field full of rows upon rows of beautiful, purple flowers simply waiting for you to wander through them. Let the delicate, sweet-smelling flowers delight your senses and say hello to the farm animals on-site before sitting down for a relaxing cup of herbal tea or a freshly made lavender ice cream at the farm’s café. 

Mt Aspiring National Park in Wanaka, NZ

Trek the peaks of Mount Aspiring National Park

Another day, another breathtaking mountainous landscape to explore in Wanaka. Guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience, lace up your hiking boots and make your way past tranquil river flats, sparkling glaciers, and gushing waterfalls to get to Mount Aspiring itself; a 3,000m natural spectacle. Brimming with beauty and exploding with epic views everywhere you look, it’s not hard to see why this national park was granted heritage-listed status in 1993. 

Wanaka tour reviews 

Wanaka FAQs

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises). 

However, we continue to strongly recommend  that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid's COVID-19 policy

There are several ways you can travel to Wanaka but when it comes to which option is the best, it largely depends on where in New Zealand you're coming from. If you're travelling from a destination on the North Island, it may be easier for you to fly. While Wanaka doesn't have an international airport, it does have a smaller commercial one, allowing you to get to Wanaka from various destinations with ease. You can also catch public transport to Wanaka with the InterCity bus service offering routes from major locations all over the South Island. 

There are a number of ways you can travel from Christchurch to Wanaka with catching public transportation, flying, and self-driving being the best options. Flying is by far the quickest option with direct flights from Christchurch to Wanaka taking only 45 minutes. Alternately, self-driving will take around 5 hours, and public transportation will take around 6 and a half hours with a layover during the journey. 

Learn more about how to get from Christchurch to Wanaka

Wanaka enjoys a fairly mild and temperate climate with temperatures slightly on the cooler side all year round. It never gets truly hot in Wanaka with the months of summer averaging temperatures around 15°C during the day. In winter, the temperatures never get down to freezing levels during the day but they do reach around -1°C at nighttime. Spring and summer see the rainiest days out of the year with each month averaging around 22 days per month.

Learn more about the weather in Wanaka

Wanaka is full of natural beauty and one of the best ways to ensure you're taking in as much of this stunning as you can is to walk your way through it. These are some of the best walking tracks in Wanaka: 

  • Mount Iron Track 
  • Glendhu Bay Track
  • Isthmus Peak Track 
  • Roys Peak Track 
  • Blue Pools Track 

What you should pack for your trip to Wanaka largely depends on what kind of holiday you want to have but because Wanaka is full of picturesque scenery, chances are you'll be doing some walking/hiking during your stay. This means you should pack a pair of socks and some comfortable and sturdy walking shoes. You should also make sure you have sunscreen (even in winter), a reusable drink bottle, a camera, and weather-appropriate clothes.

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

Learn more about Accessible Travel with Intrepid

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