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A weekend in Wanaka

A weekend in Wanaka

If you’re venturing south, don’t forget to pay Queenstown’s cool neighbour a visit. With picturesque pubs, dining delights and quaint boutiques, Wanaka is the perfect weekend escape.

A weekend in Wanaka

Less than an hour’s drive from Queenstown, you’ll find yourself in the picture-perfect town of Wanaka. Situated next to a serene lake, it boasts stunning mountain scenery and plenty to eat, see and do. Here are our top picks for a weekend well spent.


Snow a little lacking on the ski fields? Never fear, there’s no shortage of shops here. Bella of Wanaka is a go-to for New Zealand labels, with the long-established fashion store selling everything from Hailwood to Helen Cherry.

For timeless fashion staples, be sure to check out Sills + Co, or Perriam for luxury NZ-made merino knitwear. Escape Clothing lives up to its name with a selection of top labels from all over the world, while 47Frocks stocks a large number of need-to- know Kiwi designers. If you’re shopping for ski gear, be sure to ask for local brand Mons Royale, known for its breathable merino base layers with edgy designs. You’ll need a pair of sunglasses for that snow glare, so head to OCULA to be supplied with some designer frames. As for interiors, there are plenty of unique finds at Tussocks Homeware, and furniture retailer McKenzie & Willis also has a showroom in Wanaka.


You simply can’t travel to Wanaka without calling in to the iconic Cardrona Hotel on the Crown Range Road. While it’s a must-visit for après ski, it’s also worth staying for a tasty pub meal with a focus on fresh local cuisine. Treat yourself at some of the country’s top restaurants, such as Ode Conscious Dining or James Stapley’s Kika and Bistro Gentil. When those post-ski pizza cravings hit, Francesca’s Italian Kitchen has got you covered, and Wineglass Café at Edgewater resort hotel has a dedicated scone menu that you won’t want to miss out on.

Francesca’s Italian Kitchen.


There are plenty of places to enjoy a tipple in Wanaka. Drop into a vineyard such as Rippon or Maude to sample some of the best local wine, or warm your insides at the world’s southern-most whisky distillery, Cardrona Distillery. There’s a great craft-beer scene down south, so make your way around some of the local breweries such as Rhyme x Reason and Ground Up Brewing. Cork Bar has a bit of everything, including some tasty ‘corktails’.



For a high-country accommodation experience, look to Minaret Station Alpine Lodge, set in a remote glacial valley that is accessible only by helicopter. There’s also luxury lodge Mahu Whenua, situated among 55,000ha of spectacular scenery. Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet offers privacy as well as incredible vistas of Lake Wanaka, thanks to its position nestled above the water and secluded from view. Release Wanaka has the best luxury holiday rentals. Among its listings is the award-winning Te Kahu–Lakehouse, an architecturally appealing home, set amid 20ha of tussock and natural bush, which looks too perfect to be real.

Mahu Whenua.

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