Lake Wanaka Region
A wonderland that should be on every traveller’s bucket list
The rich canvas that is Wanaka has inspired poets, musicians, artists, film-makers, authors and adventurers for decades. Lake Wanaka is surrounded by grandeur – vast tussock-coated hills rising to majestic mountains covered in deep green lushness and cloaks of snow, with cascading waterfalls feeding the magnificent Matukituki, Clutha, Wilkin and Makarora rivers. And soaring above all, spectacular Mount Aspiring set in the wilderness of its national park, part of Te Wahipounamu – South-west New Zealand World Heritage Area.
Wanaka, spectacularly placed at the foot of the Southern Alps, has become a magnet for lovers of the open spaces. Flora and fauna flourish here. Podocarp and beeches cloak the higher hills. Bracken fern swarms over the lower slopes, with hebes and olearia daisies dotting the river flats. Tussock is scattered over plains and hills, while oaks, birches, poplars and weeping willows stand closer to the lake.
The region has a reputation for producing fine wines, despite early scepticism regarding the suitability of the climate. However, it is the outdoor adventures that have largely turned Wanaka into a global destination. Whatever the passion – boating, hiking, cycling, kayaking, fishing, skiing, to name but a few – here world-class guides and owner-operators share their knowledge and expertise, and, in so doing, offer experiences of a lifetime.
With its tourism strategy encompassing the principles of kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga (care for the environment and its people), New Zealand has been described as a lifestyle superpower. Wanaka – an unspoiled playground with crystal-clear lakes, magnificent mountains and pure air guaranteed to invigorate – is the perfect example.