A trip to New Zealand, particularly around Queenstown, is always a dream. For many, it’s always highly recommended to include it as a part of their travel bucket list, at least once in their lifetime. In Queenstown, almost everything is picture-perfect. It’ll always feel as if you’re straight out of a postcard. 

Of the many places that you can visit in New Zealand, Lake Wanaka should be one of them since it’s truly unique and unforgettable. As an outdoor enthusiast who seeks spectacular natural settings, I would definitely recommend you to visit Lake Wanaka! It’s a quite nice town with an international flare located on New Zealand’s south island, about an hour north of Queenstown. Nonetheless, Lake Wanaka is New Zealand’s fourth-largest lake estimated to be more than 300 meters (980 feet) deep. It’s like the mecca of every adventure, nature, and outdoor fanatic.

Let’s say Lake Wanaka is the dark horse of New Zealand’s best natural attractions as it is not often mentioned in media, but I assure you that it’s not something to miss out on. It’s one of those places that an average tourist will never think of visiting. But, now that you’re reading this, you’re far from being just an average visitor.

To get things rolling, here are five reasons why you should visit Lake Wanaka:

It’s beyond gorgeous!

Before I get too detailed here, I want to mention that Lake Wanaka is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park, which is one of national parks in Te Wähipounamu, UNESCO World Heritage Area in Southwestern New Zealand. It’s filled with an alpine paradise of towering peaks, spectacular glaciers, rivers, and valleys. To put it frankly, it’s simply an extremely gorgeous location.

Not only that, but you’ll also find New Zealand’s most Instagrammed photograph of the iconic Lone Tree of Lake Wanaka. It’s a willow tree in the lake. Be sure to stop by the lake at sunset, so you wouldn’t be able to believe the amazing colors that you will witness in the sky. If you’re here during the wintertime, you may have a good chance of seeing the Southern Lights, also known as Aurora Australis.

5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Lake Wanaka

Apart from those, here are other beautiful spots for you to visit in Wanaka:

  • Rippon Vineyard
  • Gladstone Track
  • Cardrona Bike Park

They got epic hiking trails!

If you love a good hike, then this place is also definitely for you. Here, you can enjoy a morning or afternoon hike set against an amazingly beautiful background. Lake Wanaka has many trails on surrounding mountains that you can hike to find stunning view of the lake. Be sure to head for Roy’s Peak as they’re also one of most photographed natural attraction.

I’d suggest you to take the Rocky Mountain Track as it’s only 20 minutes away from the town. It’s a 7-kilometer track that would take you to the Rocky Mountain Summit and back. The track is maintained by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, and they estimate that the whole hike should take about three hours.  Ironic that it’s listed as an easy hike, but it’s filled with climbing up a waterfall and leaping over a river full of sharks. I think it should be an intermediate hike. Nonetheless, it’s still an epic hike to do.

5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Lake Wanaka

They have many extreme outdoor sports!

With so many ways to discover the beauty of Lake Wanaka, they offer a huge range of outdoor adventure activities. Their landscape was naturally designed to challenge. Hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, skydiving, paragliding, kite surfing, boating, kayaking, – anything that requires an adrenaline kick. Not to mention, the famous Puzzling World!

I was lucky to get to enjoy unrivaled and uninterrupted views of Lake Wanaka’s world-renowned lakes and mountains, view up to six lakes and Mount Cook through my skydive experience!

Skydive Wanaka

5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Lake Wanaka

They have countless cafes for you to enjoy your coffee!

You can finish this small town by foot. The town is packed with bars and cafes where you can purchase a drink to enjoy alongside the view of the gorgeous lake. They also have a brewery that is often packed with young travelers during happy hours, usually at sunset. You should go!

5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Lake Wanaka

It’s a great destination for budget travelers

I can promise you that you won’t break your bank if you took a drive from Queenstown. The majority of adventure sports in Lake Wanaka that I mentioned are way cheaper than Queenstown because Queenstown is the adventure capital of the world meaning it’s a popular attraction with a high demand of tourists. Thus, their prices are much higher. Hence the reason why I said it’s a dark horse natural attraction.

In Wanaka, you can expect everything to at least be more affordable. Even when you’re a budget traveler, you’re set to enjoy every bit that this quaint little place has to offer. Their accommodations are pretty cheap and I was lucky to get a complimentary night stay at Base Backpacker hostel. If you wish to stay a little bit longer, there are many farm jobs temporarily available for tourists to do, often in exchange for accommodation in the warm. And no, you don’t get into trouble with the authorities because you aren’t paid money. You’re paid in the form of housing – hospitality from the local Kiwis that you stay with.

Thus, when you come along this area, you’ll realize that you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy amazing views in paradise. These are some of those things that money can’t buy.

Overall, Lake Wanaka is a real paradise, is less hectic than Queenstown with some wonderful restaurants and other cool attractions. Lastly, Lake  Wanaka is loved by many locals due to the atmosphere. Enough said.

Conclusion

Wanaka, in itself, is magical. No trip to New Zealand would ever be complete without visiting this area, even when many other tourists don’t think of even setting foot. 

Snow-capped mountains, turquoise lakes, and incredible scenery. There’s no other way to describe how magical and beautiful Lake Wanaka is. For these reasons, and so many more, Wanaka is always worth visiting, even for a few nights or so. 

Get planning now, and see for yourself!

Base Backpackers Wanaka

5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Lake Wanaka

Transportation

Ezi Car Rental

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