Wanaka, New Zealand
The small town of Wanaka, New Zealand is surrounded by the Southern Alps, and nestled on the shores of Lake Wanaka, New Zealand's fourth largest lake, in one of the most picturesque locations imaginable. Wanaka's main attractions centre on Lake Wanaka, Mount Aspiring National Park and Wanaka airport.
Wanaka has something for everyone, whatever the weather, with a huge range of indoor and outdoor activities and adventures. There are also plenty of excellent small cafes and restaurants, where you can relax and taste some of the local wine. Nearby there are a number of award-wining wineries, with tours available to see them.
Extremely popular with hikers there are a large number of day walks and overnight hikes in the region. Some of the best known shorter walks are Siberia Valley, the Rob Roy Glacier, and Mount Roy Summit. The Lake Wanaka, as well as the rivers, streams and lakes of Mount Aspiring National Park also provides an ideal place for keen anglers looking to try their hand at fly fishing for Rainbow Trout or Brown Trout. There are excellent fly fishing guides available in Wanaka, who will take you out and show you where and how to fish, whether you are an expert, or complete novice angler.
You would not think an airport could be of much interest; however Wanaka airport is very different. Wanaka airport has something for everyone. Amongst the many things of interest here is the New Zealand Fighter Pilots museum, which includes an amazing collection of World War II aircraft. There are also scenic flights to as far as Milford Sound, you could step back in time on a vintage aircraft flight, have the greatest birds-eye view of Wanaka by skydiving from 15,000 ft, take a helicopter ride, or even try your skill behind the controls of a helicopter or a plane. Located in the airport is also the Wanaka Transport and Toy Museum with an incredible collection of cars, motor bikes, toys and Barbie dolls! After all that, you could sit back and quench your thirst at the old Wanaka Beerworks.
Every two years at Easter, held over three days, Wanaka holds "Warbirds over Wanaka", which is now the largest International airshow in the Southern Hemisphere.
Other highlights in Wanaka include Stuart Landsborough's Puzzling World. This is an amazing place, where everything needs to be seen to be believed. "Puzzling World" has something for everyone from adults to children. See the incredible illusion room, and puzzle centre. Photograph the crazy buildings and toilets!
During winter, Wanaka is a major ski resort with the twin ski areas of Cardrona and Treble Cone; as well as the cross country ski fields at the Snow Farm; and the freestyle terrain park at the Snow Park. There is something for all skiers and snowboarders from novice to advanced. Cardrona Ski Area also has some of the best children's facilities available in New Zealand.
Wanaka weather brings distinct seasons from the beautiful blossoms of spring, to hot sunny days in summer, brilliant red and gold colours of autumn, and crisp winter days with snow on the mountains. Rainfall in Wanaka of 682 mm is about half the national average, with most rainfall occurring in Spring (September to October); whilst there about 2000 hours of sunshine per year. Average summer temperatures are 24C, with 10C in winter.