The small town of Wanaka is situated on the edge of Lake Wanaka. It's quieter and much more easy-going than Queenstown, but just as magnificently set, and so is considered by many to be the perfect place to spend a few days.
As its booming real estate market shows, it is also a popular place for New Zealanders looking to relocate.
Wanaka sits on the edge of Mount Aspiring National Park and is therefore considered to be the gateway to this great park; New Zealand's third largest, it covers an area of 3,500 square kilometres. The park has more than 100 glaciers and is home to native wildlife such as the kea (a native parrot), the New Zealand falcon and the giant weta, the world's largest insect.
The quaint little settlement of Arrowtown owes its existence to the gold that's mixed in with the silt of the Arrow River and to one William Fox, a prospector who is believed to have been the first person to strike gold in the valley, in 1862.
The subsequent gold rush bought upwards of 7,000 people to the area and visitors can still try their hand at gold panning in the river.
Some of the old buildings remain, but the real money-spinner these days is tourism, supported by people from Queenstown seeking a quiet weekend break and increasingly by overseas holidaymakers too.
There is a range of great hotels and B&Bs in the area, scenic golf courses, bike trails and interesting museums documenting the town's illustrious past.
Top itineraries in Wanaka
From the subtropical beaches of the Bay of Islands, the geothermal pools of Rotorua and wine lands of Hawke's Bay to the majestic glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef and the towering peaks of the Southern Alps, New Zealand is home to some of the world's most spectacular driving routes.
This combination of scenic road trips and day hikes takes visitors deep into New Zealand’s glorious landscapes. From Abel Tasman to Te Urewera National Park, you'll hike and drive New Zealand's outstanding highlights
Free car hire
A self-drive tour through the stunning attractions of the South Island, with pre-booked stays in boutique hotels and exciting excursions including whale watching at Kaikoura, a TranzAlpine train journey through the Southern Alps, and a thrilling helicopter ride over Fox and Franz Josef glaciers.
Alternatively, call one of our experts on 020 7590 0614. We are open today until 6:30 pm.
Top places to stay in Wanaka
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