New Zealand’s scenery is amongst the best in the world and because of its beautiful lake, Wanaka is often quoted as being one of the country’s highlights. Aside from that, why should you make wild Wanaka part of your New Zealand itinerary? Here are four reasons why Wanaka’s special.
Wanaka’s signature image oozes serenity and calm but scratch beneath the surface and Wanaka’s wild. For an adventure incorporating nature’s beauty as well as an adrenaline rush, try canyoning in Mt Aspiring National Park. Climb alongside Twin Falls, the highest waterfall reached by via ferrata in the world. Try Wild Wire’s Lord of the Rungs ascent. The intrepid need to conquer seven bridges, 2500 rungs, over 3200 feet of cable and a Tyrolean traverse to reach dizzying heights. The views are spectacular and the bragging rights for completing such a vertiginous circuit are unparalleled in the area. It’s so high, you’ll need to return by helicopter.
If your idea of being naughty involves a slab of decadent, rich chocolate, then you’ve come to the right place. With artisan chocolate makers and chocolate workshops on offer, Wanaka is a compulsory stop for fans of this sweet treat. Black Peak Gelato will sort you out a delicious chocolate ice cream right on the lakeshore, but if you prefer your chocolate hot at this time of year, try try the Wanaka branch of Queenstown favourite Patagonia Chocolates a few doors down.
Wanaka winter wonderland
Wanaka’s a stunner in summer but it really comes into its own when the nights draw in and the temperatures plummet. It has some of New Zealand’s finest pistes on its doorstep, drawing skiers and snowboarders from all over. Treble Cone, Cardrona, Snow Farm & Soho Basin are all located less than an hour from the centre of town. The winter dark skies improve your chances of seeing the Southern Lights. Even from town, the aurora can be spotted if conditions are right, but it’s great for stargazing too. Try Eely Point on the lakeshore for an uninterrupted view, or head out of town to avoid the worst of the light pollution.
That tree is perhaps wild Wanaka’s most famous image. A lone specimen found to the south of Lake Wanaka, it’s best photographed when the light is soft, early in the morning or right before dusk, but you won’t be alone – they claim it’s New Zealand’s most photographed tree. The “willow with wet feet”, as it’s also known, started life as a fence post but grew and grew. If you do make the pilgrimage with other shutterbug tourists, remember one thing: that tree’s not for climbing.