A local’s guide to Wanaka: where to eat, drink and explore

By MiNDFOOD

The strenuous yet highly rewarding hike to Roy's Peak in Wanaka. The hike is difficult but the views are spectacular.
The strenuous yet highly rewarding hike to Roy's Peak in Wanaka. The hike is difficult but the views are spectacular.
The ultimate guide of where to eat, drink and shop in Wanaka.

Best brunch spot and what to order…

Lucy Conway is a lawyer-turned café owner, who opened Scroggin café in January 2021. “Wānaka had always been an appealing spot to me,” she says. “The vision behind Scroggin is to purchase as local as possible and create a wholefood menu. So we make pretty much everything in house and support as many local growers and purveyors as possible. It’s bringing food back to its roots and letting the food actually speak for itself.”

Our favourite brekkie at Scroggin? You can’t look past their bacon and egg roll, aptly named ‘The One Hander’. 

Florence’s Foodstore and Cafe (especially in the summer when you can sit out in the garden) and it always has to be the creamy mushrooms with a side of bacon – just delicious!

Where you go for creative inspiration…

A walk along the lakefront or a movie at Ruby’s Cinema

Edgewater drinks Wanaka

Favourite scenic spot without the tourist crowds…

Edgewater Resort’s Wineglass Café – It has one of the best views out over the lake and in summer you can sit in a beanbag under the trees on the lawn and enjoy the views and in winter you can be inside and enjoy the fire and the views.

It’s a favourite retreat for a break to get some fresh air, or be cosy with a cuppa by the fire.

Best place to buy a gift…

There are so many amazing shops to choose from in Wanaka. Gifted Design Store have a great range of products in store to choose from – including a local favourite, George & Edi.

Little-known events…

The annual NZ Mountain Film & Book Festival is another great event people may not know about. It runs for about two weeks in late June. You can choose from adventure film screenings, book events and talks from adventurers in different fields etc – it is always a great event.

Best cocktail in town…

The Spiced Quince Negroni at KIKA – a great little cocktail to enjoy before dinner

Restaurant with the most innovative menu and/or beautiful, creative plating…

Wanaka is soo spoilt with amazing restaurants and we love them all, but KIKA’s chef James always creates a gorgeous and interesting menu.

The one thing you always insist on visitors doing…

Two things: First, visit Pembroke Patisserie for a custard square (or any of their delicious treats).

Second, go to a movie in Cinema 2 at Ruby’s – there are only 12 reclining seats in there, so it’s just a bit special and feels like you are in a private screening. I

Instagram bait that isn’t #ThatWanakaTree…

The fabulous large sculpture ‘the hand that nurtures’, by NZ artist Llew Summers, it is located near the lakefront and is rather majestic.

READ MORE: 11 winery destinations that are perfect for a short-stay holiday.

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