This unpack-once getaway offers just the right mix of adventure, exploration and relaxation

Take the time to slow down, explore, and get to know the Otago region with this three-day Intrepid Retreat: Urban List Editor’s Pick experience in Wanaka. With the insider knowledge of a local host at your fingertips, walk the heritage-filled streets of gold rush Arrowtown, understand why the region is the adventure capital of the world, and taste local flavours at a distillery and winery. Take in the spectacular cinematic backdrop with walks up Mt Iron, a visit to a secluded Lake Wanaka island, and ride a short section of the Otago Rail Trail.


Start
Queenstown, New Zealand
Finish
Wanaka, New Zealand
Destination
New Zealand
Style
Comfort
Theme
Intrepid Retreats
Code
PHLW
Physical rating
Ages
Min 18
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Urban List editors say: "This dreamy corner of New Zealand’s South Island has to be seen to be believed – it’s straight up stunning with unrivalled natural beauty. You’ll lose track of time in Arrowtown, a village that looks like it’s been ripped from an old Western film set. It’s magic."

  • Take the chance to jump at the original home of the bungy, Kawarau Bridge, or simply make the most of the beautiful surrounds.

  • Sample the flavours of Otago with tastings at a local distillery and a winery where you will meet the wine maker and learn the local craft .

  • Enjoy the special experience of visiting a lake within an island in a lake on an island, dipping into the clear waters and soaking in the scenery and the silence.

  • Cycle a section of the spectacular Central Otago Rail Trail, the oldest rail trail in the country, and return to historical Clyde on a trail next to the Clutha River.

  • Stay in a welcoming, character-filled, family-run lodge. Stylish yet comfortable Alpine-style rooms and personal service make this a memorable stay.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip is new to our range this year. And while we have thoroughly researched every detail of the logistics, new destinations can sometimes throw us some unexpected surprises. More often than not, it’ll be a great surprise. But every now and again there might be a hiccup. We like to think that’s what puts the ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure travel’.

  • To fully appreciate the beautiful surrounds of the region there are included walks and cycling on this itinerary. While not too strenuous, a suitable level of fitness is required.

  • Please ensure you consult your local government’s advice regarding domestic travel prior to booking this trip.

Itinerary

Welcome to your Wanaka getaway. This retreat begins with a centrally located pickup in Queenstown at 10 am, see the joining point instructions in this Essential Trip Information for more details. Take the short drive to historic Arrowtown, put on the map by the gold-rush of the mid-19th century. Stop at a local cafe for a Welcome Meeting where your local host will give an overview of the upcoming itinerary. Grab a coffee and walk down the tree-lined streets made up of heritage buildings, old cottages and relics of the town’s mineral boom history, with your local host offering insights into the surrounding area and its past. Bungy jumping was made world-famous by a Kiwi, AJ Hackett, so for the thrill-seekers among the group there’s the chance to stop at its original home, Kawarau Bridge. This afternoon you’ll make your way across the Crown Range, to the Cardrona Valley, home to the Cardrona Distillery which, nestled between two mountain ranges, would not look out of place in the Scottish Highlands. Enjoy a tour of the distillery, learning about the process from malting to fermenting and bottling, before sitting down for a tasting. From here make tracks for Wanaka, where there’s free time to check into your accommodation and relax. Before dinner this evening your local host will take you on a short hike up Mt Iron to see the colours of Wanaka at sunset. The view is a truly unforgettable 360-degree view of the Pisa range, Upper Clutha Basin, Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps/Ka Tiritiri o te Moana. Walk back down to Wanaka at dusk for a local restaurant dinner with your group and host.
Included Activities
  • Wanaka - 3-course locally-sourced dinner
  • Cardrona - Cardrona Distillery tour & tasting
  • Wanaka - Mt Iron hike
  • Otago Region - Kawarau Bridge
  • Arrowtown - Leader-led orientation walk
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Start the day with a leisurely breakfast before heading down to the waterfront to take a water taxi across Lake Wanaka to Mou Waho island. Here you’ll discover an island in a lake in an island in a lake in an island (yes you read that right) and take a short hike to a viewpoint. The island has been used for sheep farming and boat building in the past, and its predator-free lands have recently been used in the conservation of the inquisitive buff weka. Look out for the flightless bird and weta, the giant crickets, and maybe take a swim in the lake’s sparkling waters, which soak up the sun’s rays on top and offer a cooling dip underneath. Take the time to relax and breathe it all in, the surroundings, the scenery, the silence, admiring the views while you enjoy lunch on the island. If you can tear yourself away from Mou Waho, you will take the water taxi across the lake back to Wanaka. This afternoon you can stretch your legs and discover #thatwanakatree and take the quintessential picture of you in Wanaka. You can continue your stroll along the Millennium Trail to Waterfall Creek or up to Rippon Winery. Tonight your host will recommend a restaurant for you all to gather. Join in or venture out on your own.
Included Activities
  • Wanaka - Milennium Track walk
  • Wanaka - Mou Waho Island walk
  • Wanaka - Water taxi to Mou Waho Island
Optional Activities
  • Wanaka - Kayak hire - NZD20
  • Wanaka - Stand up paddle board hire - NZD20
  • Wanaka - Rippon Winery visit - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
For those keen to enjoy the water a little longer, or if the weather just calls for it, ask your local host about organising a stand-up paddleboard or kayak along the shores of the lake, then meet up with those who have chosen to stay on dry land for a lake side walk.
Your last day with your local host and group will see you travel to historic Clyde. From there you will ride a short section of the famous Otago Rail Trail to Alexandra. The full trail runs for 152 kilometres in total and was originally used to transport supplies to and from the Gold Fields, then later to transport goods and livestock. It fell into disrepair but was refurbished into a rail trail at the start of the new millennium and is now arguably the best way to explore the area and contribute to the local economy. Hop on a bike for a ride along the trail through Alexandra, leaving the town via the historic bridge and on to Clyde. Cycle through history and stop to see the remnants of Gold-rush times and the landscape created by the sluicing technique for extracting gold. Follow the Clutha for 13 kilometres, across an old wooden trestle bridge and back to Clyde, where you can relax and refuel. Say cheers to your Wanaka retreat with a wine tasting overlooking the Clutha River. Make sure you try the Pinot Noir (that Central Otago Reds is famous for) at this vineyard as it is not to be missed. Say farewell to your local host and group departing in Wanaka or back to Queenstown.
Included Activities
  • Wanaka - Winery tour & tasting
  • Otago Rail Trail - Alexandra to Clyde
Optional Activities
  • Otago Rail Trail - Upgrade to e-bike - NZD70
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
This trip will finish in Wanaka at 4 pm or Queenstown at 5:30 pm

Meals

2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle, Water taxi

Accommodation

Lodge (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Wanaka - 3-course locally-sourced dinner
  • Cardrona - Cardrona Distillery tour & tasting
  • Wanaka - Mt Iron hike
  • Otago Region - Kawarau Bridge
  • Arrowtown - Leader-led orientation walk
  • Wanaka - Milennium Track walk
  • Wanaka - Mou Waho Island walk
  • Wanaka - Water taxi to Mou Waho Island
  • Wanaka - Winery tour & tasting
  • Otago Rail Trail - Alexandra to Clyde

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our New Zealand Retreat: Wanaka trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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Important notes

1. This trip starts at 10am in Queenstown on day 1.
2. This trip finishes with a drop off at 5:30pm in Wanaka, or 7pm in Queenstown on day 3. Please do not book any flights until after 10pm this evening.
3. Bicycle hire is included on day 3 so we require all passengers height at the time of booking.
4. Bike helmets are supplied also but you may wish to bring your own.
5. We recommend you wear closed-toe shoes and suitable clothing for the walks and cycling.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View Essential Trip Information

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