Lake Wanaka is a place to take a deep breath and relax. Protected from the outside world by the grandeur of the mountains, you’re enclosed in a hidden paradise.
The lake is the picture and the mountains are the frame
Crystal clear lake waters lap the shores of Wanaka town and the feet of the Southern Alps, which are home to winter ski fields and the dramatically alpine Mount Aspiring National Park.
Lake Wanaka is New Zealand's fourth largest; its clean, blue waters are an inland sea for sailors and jetboaters to explore. Walking tracks and bridle trails wander the flats and foothills. In all seasons, outdoor adventures beckon.
The region’s fortunes have changed over the years. The discovery of gold in the 1870s inspired a rush of interest in the area. As the gold faded away, high country farming became the main source of employment. Today, tourism is the new gold - an endeavour that requires the environment to stay picture perfect.
Lakes wherever you look
Centuries of glacial action crafted Lakes Wanaka and Hawea. Discover their scenic perfection by mountain biking the high trails, paragliding over the hills, sightseeing by air or walking the myriad of tracks.
Get high on Mount Aspiring
The jewel of the region is its highest point, Mount Aspiring (3,027 metres), which nestles comfortably in one of the country’s largest national parks. Delve inside the park's boundaries and discover a rare world.
Winter sports wonderland
The Lake Wanaka region is a complete winter sports destination. Cardrona and Treble Cone are classic downhill ski fields, heli skiing happens high in the Harris Mountains and there’s Nordic skiing at the Snow Farm.
Wanaka has a domestic airport with daily flights from Christchurch and link flights from neighbouring Queenstown airport.
Several touring routes pass through Lake Wanaka, including State Highway 6 which runs down the West Coast and through to Queenstown and Fiordland.
Lake Wanaka is a great base for South Island explorations. Drive to Christchurch via Mt Cook or down to Dunedin and Southland.
From Lake Wanaka you can follow the Southern Scenic Route, around the Catlins Coast, to either Invercargill or Te Anau.