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Things to do in
Wanaka

Our most recommended things to do in Wanaka

Wanaka: Tandem Skydive Experience 9,000, 12,000 or 15,000-ft

1. Wanaka: Tandem Skydive Experience 9,000, 12,000 or 15,000-ft

Skydiving is a must-do and Wanaka is the most stunning place to tick it off your bucket list. Admire some of New Zealand’s most beautiful scenery and picturesque landscapes as you freefall from above at 200kph. Your experience starts when you walk in the door and meet the awesome frontline crew. Receive a full briefing and gear up. Before you know it, you’ll be meeting your tandem instructor and climbing into the plane for the incredible scenic flight to altitude. During your 20-minute flight over the Southern Alps, your instructor will point out Mt. Cook, Mt. Aspiring, the Southern Alps, a number of lakes and the Clutha River. Once you’ve reached your chosen altitude, it’s time to leap. Experience the pure adrenaline rush of freefalling at 200kph above the stunning Central Otago landscape. After 25 to 60-seconds of freefall, catch your breath and enjoy the smooth flight under canopy safely back down to the drop zone. Back on the ground, tears of joy, smiles, hugs and fist pumps are all the norm. Make your way back to the hanger to be de-geared then await your edited video and photos. Once your video is done plug it into the computer, gather around your friends and family and relive the moments all over again.

Lake Wanaka Happy Hour Cruise

2. Lake Wanaka Happy Hour Cruise

Set off from the Wanaka lake front to cruise on Lake Wanaka on our luxury 17m catamaran Dual Image. This could be the perfect end to a great day or the perfect beginning to a great night. Marvel at the scenic beauty and take pictures to remember this relaxing experience. As you cruise along, enjoy a local wine, beer, or soft drink with some cheese & crackers - all included in the ticket! Your cruise will take you out on to Lake Wanaka and into some outstanding mountain scenery. Chat to the skipper, crew or fellow travelers to learn more about this remarkable part of New Zealand. While you cruise you can enjoy extra drinks for just $6 (NZ). We have a range of beers, excellent NZ wines, ready to drink spirit mixes and non alcoholic drinks on board. Family friendly atmosphere guaranteed and kids are welcome.

Wanaka: Combo Entry to Puzzling World

3. Wanaka: Combo Entry to Puzzling World

Welcome to Wanaka's wonderful world of weirdness with an admission ticket to Puzzling World. Upon arrival, be met with the famous Tumbling Towers and The Leaning Tower of Wanaka, which offers great photo opportunities as friends or family appear to hold, push, or rip out the tower, foundations and all. Then, head into the Puzzle Centre, where dozens of puzzles await the curious and a massive kaleidoscope ceiling looks on from above, is a visual treat in itself. Encouraging problem solving, exercise and fun, the modern maze format with over-bridges and underpasses has created the world’s first truly 3-D Great Maze. The Illusion Rooms are sure to challenge reality as 5 unique rooms, along with ever-changing “walls of wonder”, exhibitions and the latest displays will leave you thinking “what the..?!” Outside, The Great Maze encourages problem-solving, exercise, and fun. Puzzling World invented this format, designed to suit all ages with over-bridges and underpasses to create the world’s first 3-dimensional maze. Don’t worry, emergency exits for those with limited time, patience, or energy are also built into the maze. With so many incredible things to see and do here, make sure to allow plenty of time for your unforgettable visit to Puzzling World.

Wanaka: Water Taxi & Mou Waho Island Tour

4. Wanaka: Water Taxi & Mou Waho Island Tour

Hop aboard a comfortable water taxi and make your way to Mou Waho Island. Along the way, your tour guide will explain the island's unique geology and history. Of the Lake Wanaka’s 5 islands, Mou Waho is the most remote and the most beautiful. Once there, you will have 1.5 hours to yourself to enjoy this special place. Hike 20 minutes to the island’s hidden lake. Created by glacial action thousands of years ago, this secluded lake contains an island itself. This island is known as the “island on a lake, on an island on a lake on an island in the sea.” (Close your eyes and visualize that for a moment). Walk 5 minutes from the hidden lake to reach Tyrwhitt Peak, the highest point on the island. From the top of the peak take in the luscious panorama of lakes and jagged peaks. Witness the diverse bird life of this predator-free nature reserve. See the elegant kereru (wood Pidgeon), the adorable korimako (bellbird), the delightful Tomtit, and the Weka. Wekas are charismatic birds that disappeared from the mainland of New Zealand but were introduced to these islands as a part of a breeding program in 2002. When you spot one, stop and say hello. These birds are particularly charismatic and cheeky characters and are often attracted to human interaction. Relax on the island’s small sheltered beach. Cool off with a swim in the waters of Lake Wanaka before taking the water taxi back to Wanaka.

Stevensons Island 2-Hour Cruise and Nature Walk

5. Stevensons Island 2-Hour Cruise and Nature Walk

Embark on a leisurely 40-minute cruise among spectacular mountain scenery to Stevensons Peninsula and then into Stevensons Arm, home to the Mount Burke high country sheep station. Rolling green pastures precede Mount Gold and Mount Burke which rise majestically into the Eastern skyline. Relax in comfort as you cruise to Stevensons Island for a beach landing. Your guide will take you ashore via the front loading ramp for a short hike to the summit of the Island. Stevensons Island is an inspiration for photographers. On return, complete your experience with afternoon tea and another 40-minute scenic cruise back to the Wanaka waterfront.

Wanaka: Jet Boat Ride on Clutha River

6. Wanaka: Jet Boat Ride on Clutha River

Experience the water like never have before on a jet boat adventure in Wanaka. Skim across shallow water, over sand bars, through rapids, and around rocks at speeds in excess of 80 kilometers per hour. Departing from Wanaka’s waterfront, enjoy a short jaunt across the lake taking in stunning snow-capped mountain views, and prepare to enter one of the world’s swiftest-flowing rivers, the Clutha River.  Of course, a jet boat ride wouldn’t be complete without the iconic Hamilton Spin, a high-speed maneuver causing the boat to spin rapidly on the spot. Your expert driver will raise your adrenalin, demonstrating the maneuverability of the jet boat and pushing it to its absolute limits, safely and skillfully navigating you on an unforgettable adventure.

Wanaka: 2-Hour Beginner Waterfall Cable Climb

7. Wanaka: 2-Hour Beginner Waterfall Cable Climb

Enjoy a thrilling 1.5-hour introduction to ‘via ferrata’ or ‘iron road’ climbing. This unique experience uses cable, iron rungs, pegs, bridges, and ladders, allowing you to climb routes that may not have been accessible otherwise.  Your adventure begins at Twin Falls Waterfall, located 20 minutes from Wanaka town. You will meet your guides, grab your helmets and harness and head over to our practive climb for your safety breifing. Once you have mastered the practice route, join an intimate group of no more than 4 people per guide - ensuring your safety throughout the experience. After a short walk up to the cliffs, the real fun begins. On this beginner route, spend approximately 1 hour scaling vertical and horizontal rock climbs, crossing suspension bridges over pools and discovering hidden waterfalls. At the end of this trail, take the opportunity to stop for a small snack and drink, admiring the stunning panoramic views over farmland, mountains, and Lake Wanaka. If you feel like you're climbing journey is over, begin a 15-minute descent back down the mountain to the base of the waterfall.

Wanaka: 4-Hour Intermediate Waterfall Cable Climb

8. Wanaka: 4-Hour Intermediate Waterfall Cable Climb

Enjoy a thrilling 4-hour guided experience at the highest waterfall climb in the world. This unique activity uses cable, iron rungs, pegs, bridges, and ladders, allowing you to climb routes that may not have been accessible otherwise. Meet your guide at Twin Falls Waterfall, after a safety briefing, grab your helmets and harness and prepare for a practice climb over a small rock at the base of the waterfall. Once you have mastered the practice route, join an intimate group of no more than 4 people per guide - ensuring your safety throughout the experience This intermediate route will have you climbing up 350m of vertical cliffs, crossing over blue pools, and braving suspension bridges. Take the opportunity to stop on a bridge next to a huge cascading waterfall for an unforgettable photo. When you reach the summit of the climb, relax at the base of the 60m waterfall for lunch. Enjoy a quick swim or sit back and take in the stunning views over the mountains and farmland surrounding Wanaka. When you’re ready, begin the 45-minute descent down to the starting point.

New Zealand: eSIM High-Speed Mobile Data Plan

9. New Zealand: eSIM High-Speed Mobile Data Plan

Connect to the internet on your smartphone without a new SIM card or contract. Choose between a range of plans, with different data limits and validity periods. Use the high-speed data network in New Zealand and connect to the Vodafone network, with activation via a simple QR code. Check that your phone is eSIM compatible, select the data plan that you want, and buy the product. Get a QR code, and add eSIM as an option in the settings on your device. Scan the QR code and turn on data roaming. Then, connect to the internet and start using the data straight away.

Bike Or E-Bike The Wānaka And Hāwea Trails

10. Bike Or E-Bike The Wānaka And Hāwea Trails

Our most popular ride. Spend 3-4 hours riding the Hāwea and Wānaka Trails and enjoy some of the most stunning scenery in the area. Surrounded by Mountains on all sides you will cross plateaus that meander along the side of the rivers. Follow the Hāwea river down to Albert Town and enjoy a stop at the Pembroke Patisserie (closes at 2pm) for coffee and cakes or even lunch. Returning to the bridge you then pick-up the path alongside the Clutha River and follow the trail all the way to Wānaka, through the Outlet and into the town where the bikes will be picked up from you when you have finished your days riding. This ride is a 30km family friendly relatively easy Grade 1-2 ride. On average there is 2-2.5 hours of actual riding with lots of time remaining to enjoy the views, the experience and the local area. Choosing an e-bike will ensure that your group stays together and fully enjoys the experience - nzbiketrails e-bikes can be ridden in 'Off' or 'Eco' for those riders that may not want too much assistance. nzbiketrails recommends e-bikes on this trail for all age groups. All of our bikes are designed and set-up for the trails including a 'day pack' on the rear racks. nzbiketrails uses well maintained Sinch e-bikes (an NZ brand designed for NZ trails) and Specialized Rockhopper Elite Regular bikes. Your nzbiketrails luxury transport and host will shuttle you from Wānaka to Hāwea after pick up, provide you some local history, recommendations and a detailed overview of your recommended route. Once you are riding you can ride at your own pace, enjoying many stops along to way, until you meet nzbiketrails back in Wānaka at the end of the ride. nzbiketrails is ran by passionate trail cyclists and make sure that you are set-up correctly on your bike and confident with your gears and assistance levels before you start the ride.

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What people are saying about Wanaka

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 224 reviews

Our guide was excellent giving us terrific information on the ride to the island. The hiking trail was well marked. It was a reasonable climb but could be done in under 40 minutes. The lookout gave great views and the lake was picturesque. Our guide returned on time and continued her friendly service.

I absolutely highly recommend this activity, Sarah was an awesome guide and looked after us, very knowledgeable and professional, We're an older couple and hard no issue climbing, great day with some great memories and pictures

Highly recommend if you want to get out on the water for gorgeous views. Crew was awesome! Good value as well!

it was very fun and beautiful WE have a very great Time thanks vance and Rory for this jump😉🤘🤘🤘🤘

Great crack, just made it after the drive down from Fox Glacier, a must do in Wanaka