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Day trips

Wanaka free things to do and see

  • 3 minutes

Wanaka @Joris Visser

Walks, water activities, playgrounds and scenic spots there are numerous places to see that are free

Your holiday should not be about stressing about the cost of entertainment especially when families are involved. Let’s get you out and about without breaking the bank.

Wanaka @samscrim
Wanaka @samscrim


Wanaka and Lake Hawea tourist core is the scenery. It’s free to walk outside and savour the striking contrast between alpine New Zealand and the bustle of urban life. Check out walks in Lake Hawea for inspiration with family and friends.


While visiting the farm animals have a charge the cafe and gift shop are nestled among rows of lavender making it a scented delight if shopping for gifts. The lavender ice cream is a firm favourite with visitors. Herbal teas are a specialist with the cafe opening 7 days a week it’s a good place for a quick easy lunch.

Wanaka Lavender Farm Morris Road, New Zealand @michael
Wanaka Lavender Farm Morris Road @michael
Blue Pools Track, Mount Aspiring National Park, New Zealand @DOC
Blue Pools Track, Mount Aspiring National Park @DOC


Mt Aspiring National Park has the number one best short walk. Pools of shimmering blue water offer a peaceful counterpoint to the busy visitor experience of Wanaka. The Makarora River easy bush track is framed by mature beech and podocarp forest. Your walk emcompasses swing bridges, rainbow trout in crystal clear water and is suitable for all age groups and fitness levels. The walk can be extended to the Blue Young Link Track to the mouth of the Makarora River. The walk is well signposted.

  • Length: 3km (return)


Eely Point and Lismore Park (18 baskets) have disc golf.

Lismore Park has the bonus of  amazing views of Roys Peak, Mt Aspiring and Lake Wanaka. Visitors have the option of buy, hire or borrow a disc and enjoy the challenge of playing in a gorgeous location.

Best Views in Disc Golf. Lismore Park, New Zealand @crocoperson
Best Views in Disc Golf. Lismore Park @crocoperson


Take a drive to the West Coast and Jackson Bay to check out the quiet places on the West Coast. For perhaps go window shopping in Arrowtown or Queenstown. How about exploring Central Otago Cardrona to Arrowtown to Cromwell  loop. You will encounter heritage settlements, relics of the nineteenth century gold mining era and pass tempting pinot noir vineyards. Nearby is Lake Hawea check out Lake Hawea nine glorious reasons to visit for more inspiration on what to do and best things to see.

Soldiers Hill walk, Arrowtown @Our travel mix
Arrowtown Buckingham Street, New Zealand Arrowtown Buckingham Street


Nothing like a new playground to test out the equipment and the Wanaka region will not disappoint with The Dinosaur Park at the lakefront, Hawea Park, Luggate Park and Domini Park. For more tips about playgrounds just ask your accommodation provider for the latest info.

Wanaka Dinosaur Park @Wanaka Tourism
Domini Park @Wanaka Baby
Wanaka Artisan Market, New Zealand @Pembroke Patisserie
Wanaka Artisan Market @Pembroke Patisserie


Wanaka Artisan Market is every Thursday with pop up stalls and runs until early evening. The usual collection of one of a kind crafty goods, delicious economica food, hot drinks and tour operators offering next day deals. Definitely worth checking out. Remember the food stalls are popular and by mid afternoon could be sold out.


Find your inner creative side and watch the sunset or sunrise for early birds. The colours of the sun against the lake waters mirroring the Southern Alps is an instagram favourite for good reason. The Wanaka tree, even though it’s lost a few branches, continues to fascinate visitors.

TIP: Extra memory card and battery

Lone Tree of Lake Wanaka, Wanaka, New Zealand @kunosch
Lone Tree of Lake Wanaka @kunosch


Notoriously cheeky parrots who are great beggars for food scraps (do not feed the birds) and have been known to rip rubber from tyres and destroy windscreen wipers. Keas are social so if you spot one bird look closely for the Kea gang in the vicinity. Up in the mountains look for tahr, chamois, wild deer, rabbits, red stags, geckos and skinks including the endangered Grand Skink. Birdlife flourishes too, with kahu (Australasian harrier), tauhou (silvereye) and piwakawaka (fantail).

Kea @Eco Wanaka Adventures
Glen Dene Station, Wanaka @Lake Hawea Holiday Park & Campground


Unique journeys, personal adventures.

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