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How to Spend 3 Days in Wanaka

How to Spend 3 Days in Wanaka

Whether it’s summer or winter, Wanaka has plenty to keep travelers with a range of interests happy. With three days, you can divide your time among chilling out in town with a glass of pinot noir, checking some adventure activities off your bucket list, and venturing out into Central Otago or Fiordland. Here are some ideas.

Day 1: Take It Easy in Wanaka

Set on the southern edge of a lake, Wanaka is a pretty place, and you don’t have to do much to enjoy being there. Take a cruise or water taxi to one of the nearby islands, where you can hike, admire the views, or play on the beaches and in the water. (Take care, as the water can be very deep.) 

Later, check out the kid-friendly Puzzling World. With optical illusions, a challenging maze, and bizarre buildings, you have to see it to believe it. Take some funny photos, and have a good laugh.

Day 2: Try a New Sport

With beautiful mountains, lakes, and rivers, the area around Wanaka is a perfect place to try some adventure activities. Travelers who love the outdoors but don’t want to get their heart rates up too high can kayak on Lake Wanaka, go horseback riding, or take a guided day hike in the hills. For something more adrenaline-inducing, try skydiving, paragliding, jet boating, canyoneering, or mountain biking. Some activities require a bit of travel, but the scenery along the way is worth it. 

Day 3: Take a Day Trip Farther Afield

Worth visiting for its views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountains, Wanaka’s more famous neighbor, Queenstown, is just an hour away by car. Lovers of good food and drink can hop on a wine tour of some of Central Otago’s premier wineries, known for their pinot noir. Alternatively, consider taking a scenic helicopter flight to Milford Sound. Mitre Peak is one of New Zealand’s most iconic sights, and seeing the Fiordland area from the seat of a helicopter is an unforgettable experience. Some tours even land on a glacier.

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5 Tours and Activities

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Cardrona High Country Pub Trail Horse Riding Trek

Cardrona High Country Pub Trail Horse Riding Trek

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188
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
$196.96
From
$196.96

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
From
$182.31
From
$182.31

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
From
$134.42
From
$134.42

Level 1 Waterfall Climb from Wanaka (3 hours return)

Level 1 Waterfall Climb from Wanaka (3 hours return)

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62
The Twin Falls are two winding waterfalls located in the picturesque Mt Aspiring National Park, a short drive from Wanaka. Most visitors just see them from the road, but you can get up close to them on this half-day climb that’s suitable for beginners and experts alike. See the National Park from a new perspective and take a dip in hidden pools you find during the climb.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$149.44
From
$149.44

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
From
$194.50
From
$194.50