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Wanaka Itinerary : Perfect 2 Days In Wanaka

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Planning a dreamy trip to Wanaka? This Wanaka itinerary sums up all the best things to do in this wonderful laketown in 2 days.

A gorgeous lakefront town surrounded by snow capped mountains and nature reserves, that’s what Wanaka exactly is. It seems to be a town straight out of a fairy-tale. Those fresh blue waters, clear skies and breath taking mountain views are enough to keep visitors mesmerized. There are a lot of things to do in Wanaka, be it adventure sports, vineyard tours, mountain biking, go on a cruise or just sitting back and soaking yourself up in the gorgeous landscapes of the town.

If you’re visiting Wanaka and wondering what you should be doing there, we’ve got you covered through our perfect 2 days Wanaka itinerary. So let’s get started.

Wanaka Itinerary : Top Things To Do In 2 Days

Day 1 : Go for a hike on Mount Aspiring National Park, Cruise along Lake Wanaka

Morning – Afternoon : Mount Aspiring National Park and take a helicopter ride to one of its glaciers

Wanaka Itinerary - Hike towards Mount Aspiring National Park
Hike towards Mount Aspiring National Park

Wanaka is completely surrounded by stunning mountains. Taking a hike to one of them would probably be the first thing you may want to do. There are many hikes in Wanaka where you could catch the views of this gorgeous lake town. Mount Aspiring National Park hike through Rob Roy Glacier Track is the most popular one. Take a hike on the lower tracks and proceed to go on a helicopter ride to one of the glaciers. It is one of the most worthy experiences in Wanaka.

The helicopter ride would unfold a dramatic alpine landscape that includes snowfields, peaks, sheer rock cliffs, and waterfalls. The hike starts at the Raspberry Creek car park area which is located at about 54 kilometers west of Wanaka.

Click here to check out an essential tour which is inclusive of a short hike, boat ride on the lake, helicopter ride to one of the glaciers of Mount Aspiring National Park, refreshments, lunch and hotel transfers.

Evening : Cruise along the Lake Wanaka

Wanaka Itinerary - Lake Wanaka
Wanaka Itinerary – Lake Wanaka

After a wonderful day, hop on a relaxing cruise sailing on Lake Wanaka. You would be soaking in the beauty of the tranquil lake and the gorgeous surrounding landscapes. The Lake Wanaka is quite huge having three islands. See the famous Wanaka tree that stands on the lake and make sure to capture wonderful memories while cruising.

Click here to check out a perfect cruise trip along the Lake Wanaka.

Day 2 : Explore Mou Waho Island, Go Kayaking on Lake Wanaka / Go for skiing at Treble Cone

Morning : Mou Waho Island

Mou Waho
Wanaka Itinerary – Mou Waho Island

Get ready to be amazed by the panoramic beauty of lakes and islands from Mou Waho island. This little island is one of the most scenic islands located on Lake Wanaka. You would also get a chance to see the diverse bird life which includes the little Weka, an extinct bird that disappeared from the mainland of New Zealand. Take a nature walk on the island and you would be mesmerized by the peacefulness and freshness of the surroundings.

Click here to book a Mou Waho island tour in Wanaka.

Afternoon : Go Kayaking on Lake Wanaka / Go for skiing at Treble Cone

If you are ready to get on the water, go for kayaking on the Lake Wanaka. It is the best way to explore the lake’s stunning coastline. There are many rental kayaks available on the shore. If you are looking for a guided kayaking tour, check out this one which is inclusive of kayaking equipments, complimentary refreshments and hotel transfers.

View from Treble Cone Snowfield
View from Treble Cone Snowfield

Skiing or snowboarding at the treble cone would also be a fun activity to do during winters in Wanaka. There are many awesome ski resorts and terrains that are just a 20 or 30 minutes drive from the town center. The best ski options in Wanaka are Treble Cone and Cardrona that make up South Island’s largest ski area.

Add more activities to your itinerary

If you are planning to stay longer in Wanaka you can add in some more interesting and adventurous activities to your itinerary.

  • Visit the Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World – a maze of illusions, problem solving puzzles and games. It’s a must visit, if you are traveling with kids. Click here to prebook your tickets.
  • Take a leap with Wanaka Skydive. Wanaka is home to one of the highest skydives in New Zealand which scores upto 15000 feet. You would get to see up to six lakes, the rugged Southern Alps, and River Clutha, South Island’s longest river. That would be a treat!
  • If skydiving is not your thing, you can choose paragliding too.
  • Take an experience of piloting a plane. That would certainly be an experience of a lifetime. You would be accompanied by well experienced pilots who would guide and ensure a smooth flight experience for you as a pilot. Click here to check out this wonderful opportunity.

General Information

Where To Stay In Wanaka?

This gorgeous lake town Wanaka, has lots of picture perfect accommodation options that are located near the lake. Lakeside hotels are definitely the best ones to stay in Wanaka. Staying in Wanaka might get a bit pricey, so we have sorted out a great budget stay option for you as well. Here are our highly recommended accommodations that you could choose for your stay in Wanaka;

Budget (Below $75): YHA Wanaka is the most popular budget stay hostel in Wanaka. They provide a very relaxed, welcoming and cosy enviornment. It also has a spacious living/dining area where you could sit back, dine in or enjoy the stunning views of Wanaka. It’s a deal not to miss! Click here to book this hotel or to check its availability.

Mid Range Hotel ($75-$150): Ramada Resort By Wyndham is a very charming resort offering facilities like a heated pool, sauna, a private balcony or a courtyard in each suite or apartment, cafe, bar, a fitness centre and a BBQ area. Highly rated for cleanliness and spaciousness, Ramada Resort is an ideal place to stay in Wanaka. Click here to book this hotel or to check out its availability.

Luxury ($150+) : Edgewater is literally a perfect place to stay in Wanaka. If you’re planning on visiting the famous Wanaka Tree, which you must, then you cannot get a better spot than Edgewater. The top class amenities, closeness to all the major attractions, gorgeous ambiance, spacious rooms, picturesque lake views and spa facilities would make your stay all worth it. Click here to book this hotel or to check out its availability.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Wanaka?

Wanaka is an all year round destination. You can visit this paradise anytime of the year. Wanaka is a snowy wonderland from June till early October. Summertime is from December till March. The temperature goes upto 25 degrees max. It starts getting cooler from March and continues till May, serving Wanaka with Autumn season which is also really beautiful.

Wanaka is an ideal winter destination, so it’s busiest months are from June till September. These months attract visitors due to skiing, snowboarding and glacier landing activities. You can expect the accommodations and activities to be pricey during these months.

How To Get Around Wanaka?

Wanaka is a small lake town and is extremely walkable. You can explore almost all the attractions, cafes and restaurants by walking. You could also hire cabs which are easily available on the streets. Intercity buses also provide shuttle services to main ski areas, Queenstown, Lake Hawea and other nearby towns.

What Are The Essentials To Carry To Wanaka?

There are a few essential things you must not forget to carry with yourselves to Wanaka.

Hand Sanitizer : Safety first! To make sure you stay germs free, do carry a good hand sanitizer spray.

Portable Charger / Power Bank : You may be using your phone and ipads a lot while touring the city to get captures of all the scenic beauty of Wanaka. A good power bank always comes handy when these devices are running out of battery. We love the Anker Power Core portable charger as it comes with high speed charging capability which can charge your phones up to 5 times. It also comes with an 18 month warranty. Check it out here.

Universal Adaptor : The hotel you are staying at might not have power switches compatible to the electronic devices you are carrying. Get a Unidapt universal adaptor that is easy to carry. It can also charge up to 5 devices (smartphones, powerbanks, speakers, tablets and more) simultaneously. It comes with a 1 year money back warranty too! Find Unidatp universal adaptor here.

Osprey Farpoint Backpack : It’s durable, spacious and light weight! The shoulder straps are very well padded and the backpack feels light and easy to carry even if it’s fully filled up. Find Osprey Farpoint 40 Backpack here.

Comfortable Waterproof Hiking Shoes / Boots : You would need comfortable pairs of waterproof hiking shoes/boots in Wanaka. Whether you are out for skiing or going for a hike, make sure you have put on some comfortable shoes/boots to enjoy the activities to the fullest. We recommend checking out these waterproof hiking boots for men.

Wanaka is no less than a fairytale destination in New Zealand. We are sure you are going to make some most amazing memories for life during your visit. You may just want to keep visiting again to Wanaka for it’s beautiful vibes and relaxed environment. We are also sure that our 3 day Wanaka itinerary would help you to plan your ultimate trip.

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Anjali Wadhwa (cheerfultrails) is a travel consultant and enthusiast who has traveled to 15+ countries. She shares about her explorations through her writings. You will find detailed itineraries, best travel tips and well experienced recommendations for food, transportation and hotels on her blog.

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