Lake Wanaka

Enjoy gorgeous hiking trails and deserted beaches at this pristine lake with the magnificent backdrop of the Southern Alps.

Stroll past cascading waterfalls and view towering glaciers at Lake Wanaka. Cruise across the tranquil, dark water and unwind in the sun on empty lakeside beaches.

Lake Wanaka spans an area of 74 square miles (192 square kilometers) nestled at the foot of the Southern Alps. Although the nearby alpine resorts of Cardrona and Treble Cone are known for their winter sports, Lake Wanaka remains a hive of activity throughout the year.

Set off along miles of walking paths that weave through dense forestland on the edge of Lake Wanaka. You can also rent bikes from Wanaka town. A ride around the whole lake takes around 3 hours and you will find several other connecting trails in the area.

Climb to the top of the Mount Iron Track for superb panoramic views or follow the Rob Roy Glacier Path, where you can marvel at glaciers and waterfalls that cascade down sheer cliff faces.

Sandy beaches line much of Lake Wanaka and fishing is a popular activity from the shore. Catch salmon and trout and barbecue the fish at the facilities dotted along the shoreline. Take a dip in the cool water before your dinner of fresh fish.

If you are keen to get out on the lake, you can rent kayaks and canoes in town. A more luxurious option is to spend a few hours exploring the lake by speedboat. Stop at the small tree-covered islands to spot rare indigenous birds and discover your very own secluded beach.

There is a range of accommodation options available in the town of Wanaka. There are also plenty of shops and some excellent restaurants in town.

Lake Wanaka is an hour’s drive north of Queenstown along scenic mountain roads. Be aware that the roads around Lake Wanaka are icy during the winter and snow chains are essential if you are driving.