Lake Wanaka, the jewel in the Southern Lakes crown and the untouched, natural land that’s home to many an adventure. Summer is finally rolling around here in the southern hemisphere. The days are getting longer, the air is warm, and I’m about to introduce you to five solid reasons why Lake Wanaka should be on your New Zealand itinerary this year.
Paddle into the sunset
Did you know Lake Wanaka is New Zealand’s fourth-largest lake and damn is she beautiful? Most visitors stroll along the lakefront, taking in the sights and sounds from the shore, or maybe they are up high scaling one of the local hiking trails where you will be rewarded with a bird’s eye view of this epic mass of water and the mountain surrounds.
Have you thought about taking time out of your busy summer schedule to stop and take on an adventure with a new perspective? Grab a paddle, jump in your double kayak and head out on the lake with Paddle Wanaka. Self-guide or guided options are available for truly relaxing and peaceful adventures. Paddle out to see the famous Wanaka tree and continue to Ruby Island where you can hop out and take a short walk. Paddle close to the shore and enjoy the serenity as the sun sets over the mountain tops providing you the most perfect summery alpenglow.
Explore the hills
Wanaka is famed for its epic hiking tracks and being the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park surely has its perks. Strapping on your hiking boots and heading for the hills is the ultimate way to re-connect with Papatūānuku – Mother Earth. We have heard about Mt Iron, Roy’s Peak, and Isthmus Peak and now it’s time to explore somewhere new.
Rocky Mountain Diamond Lake is a circuit track with varying times and distances to suit all ages and abilities. We highly recommend taking the Rocky Mountain Summit Track totaling 3 hr return, and a distance of 7 km. You will be rewarded with a beautiful view down into Lake Wanaka township and Glendhu Bay. On a clear day, you can see the road winding through into Mount Aspiring National Park and an epic view of the Treble Cone ski area. The area’s landscape has been carved by Ice Age glaciers, and the hills are now covered with native forest and shrubland nestling into bluff systems. Don’t forget your camera for this one!
Spike your adrenaline in the mountains
Embark on New Zealand’s highest and best alpine guided quad biking tour. Jump on your very own Yamaha 350cc for a wild ride through the Cardrona Valley. Your expert guide will lead you and the group over a network of epic trails winding to the top of the mountain giving you incredible views into the valley below. Get your speed on as you join the Snow Farm Road and safely buzz right back down to the base. Enjoy river crossings, the beautiful scenery, and commentary from your knowledgeable guide. There is no finer feeling than having the wind flow through your hair surrounded by the most magical alpine environment, we promise you that.
Camp in picturesque locations
You will have to see it with your own eyes but let me tell you something, Lake Wanaka takes the cake when it comes to lake-side campgrounds. Glendhu Bay campground is the sweetest spot in the region. With pitches directly backing onto the water for maximum views this safe and secure campground is perfect for vans, motorhomes, caravans, and tents.
Waking up each morning to the sound of the birds and with the rising sun is upon life’s simplest pleasures. Relax into a weekend (or longer) of exactly that at one of the most picturesque campgrounds on the South Island. Perfectly located and accessible for all, Glendhu Bay should be on every road tripper’s itinerary this summer.
Hang off the side of a cliff
Literally. We mean it. Harness up and hang off the side of a cliff. Who knew that clip climbing up the side of a cliff, under a waterfall with Lake Wanaka below could be terrifying and therapeutic all at once? The team at Wild Wire will expertly guide you through the three sections on their purpose-built Via Ferrata network. You will follow a well-marked and planned route clipping yourself onto the cables provided and using the metal rungs, pegs, and ladders to ascend the face to the very top. I highly recommend heading into level 3, it’s wild and worth it. Top tip… don’t look down.
Ready to add Lake Wanaka to your road trip itinerary this summer? For more information about Lake Wanaka follow the link here.