Wanaka is like a lower octane version of Queenstown. The views, of a vast, tranquil lake and high peaks, are similar, and offer similar opportunities to skiers, boaters and hikers. But this is a much smaller centre, more a town than a city, and there’s a lot less buzz, though there are some lovely restaurants and bars opening up. Many of the best places to stay in Wanaka are small lodges, or B&Bs with only one or two rooms, but there are also larger properties if that’s what you prefer.
Wanaka has only recently started to become a popular destination, but this hamlet has always been close to the Mount Aspiring National Park, and on the stunning shores of Lake Wanaka, so it’s always had a lot of scenic appeal.
It has slso always had plenty of appeal for lovers of the great outdoors. There’s great fly fishing on the lakes and rivers surrounding the town and there are plenty of cycling routes, both mountain biking and road cycling. And of course you’re within striking distance of the snow fields of Treble Cone, Cardrona, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables.
There are also many more outdoor pursuits available, such as canoeing, jet-boating, rafting, climbing and horse riding. And while Wanaka might not offer quite the same level of adrenalin fuelled delights as Queenstown, it’s still possible to sky dive or bungy jump here. You can also swim, sail or windsurf on the lake.
As far as highlights, there are some excellent day walks in this area, as well as some longer, multi-day hikes. And Wanaka also has a winery and a brewery. And an impressive military aircraft museum.
our pick of the best places to stay in Wanaka are ideally situated to make the most of this great town, whether you're here for the outdoor sports or simply to soak up the views.
Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Wanaka for you?
Friendly boutique B&B on Lake Wanaka. One suite separate from main house, with dining room, living area and outdoor deck. Delicious breakfasts, comfy beds. Bicycles and fishing rods available for use, as well as parking space for a boat. Stunning mountain views, you won't want to leave.
Luxury accommodation on Lake Wanaka. Ensuite rooms with under-floor heating, walk-in double-headed showers and contemporary local art on walls. With a hot tub, day spa and ski storage. Yoga and cooking classes available. Ideal for an active holiday or country escape.