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 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, fishingskiing, 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.

Four Seasons of Lake Wanaka

As with any continental climate (which Wanaka has the good fortune to have) there are four distinct seasons.

  • Spring falls between September and December and has the most changeable and wettest months with temperatures between 10-19deg C or 50-60.2 deg F.
  • A hot dry summer is from January to March with a range of 16-30deg C or 60.8 – 86 deg F. (and little humidity).
  • Autumn is spectacular (the first two weeks of April are unmissable for the changing colours of the leaves) and falls between April and June with warm temperate days and cool nights 10-23deg C or 50 – 73.4 deg F.
  • Followed by winter from July until September with a variation of 0 – 14deg C or 32 – 57.2 deg F (though it can fall tsub-zeroro at night).

For more information about Wanaka weather, please visit

What to pack when visiting Wanaka

With some of the best outdoor recreational activities to be found in the Southern Hemisphere, if not the world, it goes without saying that relaxed is the way of life. And the clothes that match this philosophy are what you need to pack in the suitcase. Take comfortable casual clothes-  evenings all year round can be cool- layers work best. Remember your walking shoes and jacket.  Summer says sunscreen and a sunhat to protect from the brilliant rays.  And don’t forget the swimsuit – for the lake and/or the hot tub.

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