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How to Spend 2 Days in Wanaka

How to Spend 2 Days in Wanaka

Set on a mountain-ringed lake, Wanaka is an attractive destination in its own right, and a good base for exploring the Central Otago region. Whether you’re into adrenaline-inducing adventures or prefer a slower pace, you’ll find plenty of fresh mountain air and lots of activities to keep you entertained. Here are a few suggestions.

Day 1: Get Active

**Morning:**Take a cruise or water taxi to one of the four islands in Lake Wanaka. There, go on a short hike, play on the stony beaches, or just admire the views of the lake and surrounding mountains. 

**Afternoon:**Dial things up a notch, and fulfill any long-held adventure-activity dreams you might have. Take a scenic helicopter ride, kayak on the lake, go for a jet boat ride, jump out of a plane on a tandem skydive—there are many options in and around Wanaka.

**Night:**The fresh air of the day might have left you tired, so enjoy a relaxed dinner and drinks at a lakeside restaurant. Don’t forget to sample some Central Otago wines, considered some of the best in New Zealand.

Day 2: Tour the Countryside

**Morning and afternoon:**Wanaka is well-located for venturing farther afield in Central Otago. Food and wine lovers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to tour some local vineyards. Famous for its pinot noirs, Otago is one of the southernmost wine growing regions in the world. Wine tours usually include lunch at a top-notch winery restaurant. If wine isn’t really your thing, go on a daylong horseback riding or cycling tour instead. 

**Night:**On your last night in Wanaka, seek out a bar with live music. Especially in the summer, some bars in town host DJs and bands, and even themed nights. Wanaka is small, so the nightlife isn’t extensive—but there are more than enough places to dance the night away, if you wish.

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9 Tours and Activities | All Wanaka Tours

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Wanaka Water Taxi Mou Waho Island Tour

Wanaka Water Taxi Mou Waho Island Tour

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A lot of the South Island’s natural hideaways are tough to get to, and that’s definitely the case with Mou Waho Island. This half-day cruise makes it easy; sail from Wanaka Marina to this isolated island in the middle of Lake Wanaka. Walk to the island’s very own lake, the Arethusa Pool, and take panoramic photos of the lake and the nearby Southern Alps, or take a dip at the beach near the island’s only jetty.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$91.43
From
$91.43
Taking safety measures

Small-Group Gold Discovery Horse Riding in Cardrona Valley

Small-Group Gold Discovery Horse Riding in Cardrona Valley

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100
Saddle up for a horseback ride through the wild landscapes of the Cardrona Valley. Trace the path of the 19th-century gold rush, climb the mountains for a thrilling view over Wanaka Lake, and trot or gallop through the valley plains. Rides can be tailored for all levels, from complete beginners to experienced riders.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$163.31
From
$163.31

Cardrona High Country Pub Trail Horse Riding Trek

Cardrona High Country Pub Trail Horse Riding Trek

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184
Saddle up and explore New Zealand’s rugged wilderness on this 3.5-hour Cardrona High Country pub trail horse-riding trek. Head on horseback into the New Zealand countryside with your guide. Discover points of historical interest along the winding mountain trails, and gain insight into the 19th-century gold rush that brought wealth to the area. Pass through a working cattle farm, traverse choppy rivers and enjoy panoramic views over the rugged scenery. Stop at the historic Cardrona Hotel for a complimentary drink, then return to base along the mighty Cardrona River.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$191.84
From
$191.84

Jet Boat and Wilderness Walk Tour from Wanaka

Jet Boat and Wilderness Walk Tour from Wanaka

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141
Discover the idyllic landscapes of the Mount Aspiring National Park, where filming for the Lord of the Rings took place, on this action-packed half-day tour from Wanaka. Zip along the Matukituki River on a jet boat, admire spectacular views of Lake Wanaka and Mount Aspiring, then hike past forests and waterfalls to see the Avalanche Glacier.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$177.58
From
$177.58
Taking safety measures

Half-Day Kayak Tour on Lake Wanaka

Half-Day Kayak Tour on Lake Wanaka

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42
Kayaking on serene Lake Wanaka, with its clear waters and beautiful coastline, is a great introduction to kayaking. Beginners and those with more experience will enjoy a calm half-day tour approximately 5.5 miles (9 kms) around the lake. Take in the views while experiencing the unspoiled nature that New Zealand is famous more, but without breaking too much of a sweat.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$130.93
From
$130.93
Taking safety measures

Classic Wanaka Wine Tour

Classic Wanaka Wine Tour

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27
Central Otago is the world’s southernmost wine-making region, known for its pinot noirs and stunning high-altitude wineries. On this day long tour around this distinctive wine region, taste a wide range of wines – including pinot noirs and chardonnays – at up to six of the region’s boutique vineyards.
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  • 6 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$189.45
From
$189.45
Taking safety measures

1-Hour Ruby Island Cruise and Walk from Wanaka

1-Hour Ruby Island Cruise and Walk from Wanaka

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For travelers short on time in Wanaka, this one-hour cruise and walk to Ruby Island is an ideal way to experience the lake and mountains. Glide across Lake Wanaka to Ruby Island in comfort on a luxury catamaran. There, enjoy an easy walk to lookout points that are great places to take pictures from. Families and senior travelers will enjoy this tour, as it’s suitable for all levels of mobility.
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  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$35.84
From
$35.84

Cardrona Valley Mountain Quad Experience from Wanaka

Cardrona Valley Mountain Quad Experience from Wanaka

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124
Enjoy high-octane thrills in the New Zealand wilderness on this 2-hour Cardrona Valley quad bike experience from Wanaka. Following a comprehensive safety briefing, pull on your helmet and hop onto your 350cc quad bike. Master the controls in safety, then spin off into the mountains of the mighty Cardrona Valley with your guide. Navigate winding dirt tracks through rolling alpine farmland where Merino sheep and cattle graze. Bounce and roll over the rugged terrain, and enjoy panoramic views over the wilds of New Zealand’s South Island.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$206.10
From
$206.10

Wanaka Highlights Safari

Wanaka Highlights Safari

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Experience the scenic highlights above and around Lake Wanaka during a 2.5-hour 4WD excursion. Choose your departure time from the Wanaka i-Site and journey through West Wanaka Station. Gain insight into Wanaka’s history and rich agricultural heritage with commentary from your guide. You’ll see it all, from alpine vistas to a working mountain farm.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$127.66
From
$127.66
Taking safety measures