When location says it all
Wanaka’s location is a natural hub to explore Otago. Savour views of glorious mountain ranges and the semi-arid desert plateaus of Central Otago with its gold mining heritage. Join the dots on a road trip around the lower South Island. Nearby is Cromwell, Alexandra and Clyde creating opportunities for day trips or an overnight stay.
CAN YOU VISIT CROMWELL IN A DAY FROM WANAKA, OTAGO?
You can easily visit historic Cromwell in a day from Wanaka. One way the trip is less than an hour. Key highlights:
- Bannockburn Sluicings (historic gold mining site)
- Heritage Cromwell with its original schist buildings and Victorian streetscape
- Lake Dunstan for an al fresco meal
CAN YOU VISIT ALEXANDRA IN A DAY FROM WANAKA?
You can visit Alexandra in a day from Wanaka. Wanaka to Alexandra is approximately 1 hour, one way. Today Alexandra is the hub for orchards and vineyards. Walk, cycle or stroll gold miners trails in the hills above Alexandra. Sample and sip in Pinot Noir vineyard cellars and discover gold mining stories in the local museum. ALEXANDRA is known as a town of four seasons, four trails, stay and explore.
WHERE ARE THE NEAREST WINERY TRAILS TO WANAKA?
Wanaka is home to wineries within walking distance of the town centre as well as close by is the Gibbston wine trail and the well regarded Cromwell’s wine trail, 11 popular wineries to visit – Best Bits.
CAN YOU VISIT ARROWTOWN IN A DAY FROM WANAKA?
Yes, you can easily visit Arrowtown in a day from Wanaka, it is less than an hour’s drive over the picturesque Crown Range Highway.
KEY HIGHLIGHTS IN ARROWTOWN
- Pretty Victorian streetscape with its bustling shops and cafes
- Arrowtown River and try your luck at gold panning
- Arrowtown Museum
CAN YOU VISIT THE HAAST PASS, THE BLUE POOLS IN A DAY FROM WANAKA?
Yes, you can visit the Blue Pools, Haast Pass in a day. Consider Wilkin Jet Boat half day tour of the Siberian Valley walk, jet boat and explore Mt Aspiring National Park’s quieter corners.
Carry insect repellant, water supplies and sun screen as well as clothing layers for changeable weather conditions.
ART & CULTURE TRAIL – CENTRAL OTAGO
Explore Central Otago art trails. It is a journey of discovering talent and creativity while savouring the landscape that nurtures imagination. The semi-arid landscape is burnt yellow with tussock and folded weathered hills offering a smorgasbord of sensations for the creative soul. Seasonal changes, soft lighting rising over the hills and space to call your own is the siren call of central Otago artists.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT CENTRAL OTAGO ART TRAILS?
Year round with summer produce a sweet fruity roadside stall treat or winter snow creating a visual chocolate box feast.
Central Otago top visitor experiences:
- Scenery ranging from semi-arid Central Otago to the towering peaks of the Southern Alps & Aoraki Mt Cook
- Deep blue crystal clear lakes dotted with poplars, lupins and very few people
- Fascinating story of 19th century gold rush era
- A landscape designed for adventures from jet boating, skydiving, rock climbing
Winter and back country roads could be closed due to weather.
JOURNEY THROUGH YOUR FAVOURITE LANDSCAPE PAINTING
For the art and culture buffs Otago is the place to go. Otago continues to attract individuals willing to challenge the limits to attain their personal best. Resilient souls trudged through the harsh terrain in search of gold. Their legacy is found in buildings now occupied by creative people who are inspired by stories of hardship and determination.
Landscape painting, fine art printmakers in mediums from oils, watercolours, photography and multimedia materials. Pottery to glass objects and pieces are part of creative Otago. Jewellery sits alongside sculpture and quirky interpretations of place and time are all vying for attention from visitors interested in art and culture… read more Otago art and culture trail – Best Bits.
JOIN THE DOTS FOR A ROAD TRIP AROUND THE LOWER & CENTRAL SOUTH ISLAND, NZ?
- Explore Aoraki Mt Cook, Lake Tekapo and be awe struck by the majesty of the Southern Alps. Discover MacKenzie Country, Alpine South Island.
- Soak in hot pools near Lake Tekapo while gazing at a star filled night sky
- Walk to glaciers, explore the lakes and make time to walk
- Marvel at the lush rainforest and waterfalls of Milford Sound
SCENIC TRIP IDEAS OF THE LOWER AND CENTRAL SOUTH ISLAND WITH WANAKA AS ONE OF YOUR MAJOR HUBS
10 day road trip lower and central South Island.
Oamaru, Lake Tekapo, Twizel, Lindis Pass, WANAKA, Arrowtown, Queenstown, Dunedin, Oamaru (Christchurch).
- Art galleries, heritage sites (19th century gold mining trails), museums and studios
- Scenery galore with the Southern Alps as lode star
- Adventures to eat your heart out and get the adrenaline pumping
- Eat and drink in family owned boutique wineries, cafes where farm to plate is a philosophy
- Spend time enjoying the urban buzz of Christchurch
- Discover the charms of Oamaru and its intact Victorian regal Oamaru stone buildings
- Be entranced by the geological forms of Charleston, Paparoa National Park, Punakaiki Pancake Rocks – Best Bits
- Slip into the West Coast and find a town where driftwood has became an art form, Hokitika things to do, attractions, places to go
- Loop the trip from Christchurch to Christchurch
Distances from Wanaka
|Wanaka||Queenstown resort town||Via Crown Range Rd 1 hour or 69 km|
|Wanaka||Queenstown resort town||Cromwell 113 km 1 ½ hours, (SH 6)|
|Wanaka||Milford Sound (Fiords) scenery||343 km, 4 ½ hours (via SH 6, 4)|
|Wanaka||Cromwell (Bannockburn Sluicings, Gold Mining Centre)||56 km, 45 minutes|
|Wanaka||Alexandra (curling, ice skating)||89 km, 1 hour|
|Wanaka||Clyde (river cruises, jet boating)||91 km, 1 hour|
|Wanaka||Karawau Gorge (bungy) adventure||89.5 km, 1 ¼ hours (via SH6)|
|Wanaka||Haast Pass, Blue Pools||72 km, 1 hour (via SH 6)|
|Wanaka||Lake Tekapo scenery||99 km, 2 ½ hours (via SH 8)|
|Wanaka||Aoraki, Mt Cook scenery||208 km, 2 ¾ hours (via SH 8, 80)|
|Wanaka||Christchurch premier South Island town, travel hub||543 km, over 5 hours (via SH1, 8)|
|Wanaka||Dunedin historic town with wildlife on Banks Peninsula||275 km, 3 ½ hours (via SH8)|
|Wanaka||Waitaki Valley wineries, extraordinary geological landscapes||165 km, 2 hours (via SH8 & Lindis Pass)|
SH = state highway. As always check road conditions with NZTA, New Zealand Transport Agency before departing.
Wanaka is now firmly on your bucket list. And the best bit is that the scenery is free.
BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE
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