Wanaka is another tourist town based in the Southern Lakes District That is very popular. It is smaller than Queenstown, The area is much flatter, and the mountains are further away, but it is still incredibly beautiful. I consider Wanaka to be a more peaceful environment, more relaxed, yet Wanaka has many of the same activities that Queenstown offers, and still has a few that Queenstown doesn’t to make your stay varied and enjoyable.
If you are a ski or snowboarding enthusiast then Wanaka has the best Ski fields(they are higher). Many of the overseas national teams come to Wanaka and use it as a base for their off season Northern Hemisphere training. There are several ski fields to choose from, including the Snow farm, Cardrona Ski field, and also Treble Cone Ski field.
Wanaka is also the gateway to the West Coast of the South Island, where you can view the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, The Pancake Rock formations, a wild Fur seal population and other interesting sightseeing trips.
Wanaka is worth the visit
Wanaka is a 45 minute drive from Queenstown, over the Crown Range. Wanaka can also be accessed by going through the Kawarau Gorge, and continuing past Cromwell township, through Luggate till you find Wanaka. This trip is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. The Crown Range route passes the Cardrona and Snow Park Ski fields, and in the Cardrona township you can have some fun on the Monstor trucks(specially built vehicles with huge tyres).
The other route past Cromwell township takes you past the many orchards, where you can purchase fresh fruit to eat on your journey, and also past the big war Museum. Opposite the Wanaka War Museum is Shooting world where you can experience shooting a .22 rifle, shoot clay targets with a shotgun, try your hand at using an archery set, or just hit golf balls on the driving range. I love this place as they give a good package deal for those wanting to try all the above activities.
Continue past them a few Kilometers, and you come to puzzling world. Wanaka’s puzzling world is world famous for good reason. There is something for everyone from a maze, to puzzles, they have nz’s answer to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and many other novel and intriguing things to try. This site is extremely popular and affordable, and if you think you have a sharp mind and like to be challenged then you will love the time you spend here.
Warbirds over Wanaka
Wanaka hosts the world famous event called Warbirds over Wanaka, every two years. Featuring many of the older warplanes, aerobatics displays and a great selection of the worlds most modern war planes, it is really worth the visit. They do simulated bombing attacks, dogfights and other realistic scenarios.
Many people fit their visits to NZ in for when The Warbirds over Wanaka show is held. They schedule their stopovers in the lower South Island to correspond with the show. There are literally thousands of Winnebago’s, and camper vans parked up over the road from the airport. These people have traveled from various parts of the world to see the show, and before and after the show they traverse the country to enjoy the beautiful scenery and enjoy their self made schedule.
Wanaka Business Center
Wanaka town center is small even by NZ standards, yet it has everything you need for your daily requirements. Wanaka has a New World Supermarket, a post office, clothing shops, cafes and bars overlooking the lake, restaurants, real estate agents, schools, churches,a garden center and most other essential services.
Do use their fuel stops if you are traveling, especially to the West Coast, as the next nearest fuel stop is over two hours drive, and if you miss it then another 4 hour drive may be ahead of you till you get to Fox Glacier.
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