Wanaka is a gorgeous little lakeside town surrounded by mountains with a chilled-out atmosphere and lots of outdoor activities -- making it a favorite among cyclists, skiers, hikers, and anyone who enjoys being among nature. You can spend a day tramping over Rob Roy glacier or spend an hour climbing a lookout hill for an excellent view of the town. There are many wineries to visit nearby, swimming in the summer, and skiing in the winter.
Although it's less than an hour away from the excitement and parties of Queenstown, those who come to Wanaka hostels enjoy that the stillness and serenity feels miles away and the fresh air and peacefulness comes as a welcome rejuvenation. There are a few nice cafes along the main road where you can enjoy a coffee or a glass of local Pinot Noir with a good book or sit in the sun outside Relishes cafe and brows a magazine with a cappuccino, the lake stretching out in front and mountains in the background. You could spend the day shopping for the latest ski gear in the multiple sports shops or you might find something cool to add to your wardrobe at the little vintage shops; Godswallop and Balderdash (in the arcade behind New World) is highly recommended.
Go skydiving over the picturesque landscape in the morning then spend a relaxing afternoon feeding the ducks by the lake as you breathe in the crisp mountain air. Depart from your Wanaka hostel to take a scenic drive through the Crown Ranges, between snow-capped mountains and through the tussock-strewn landscape dotted with tiny houses and green pastures, a gorgeous drive to Queenstown or the ski slopes that is well worth an afternoon and a few memorable photos.
The subdued nightlife here is that of a small ski village, and consists mainly of a few drinks by the fireplace or on the front porch with the sunsets to end the day with a few new friends. There are a several choices for hostels in Wanaka, mostly larger names. So just relax and enjoy this quaint and beautiful town, it's definitely a New Zealand favorite.
Hi, I'm Amanda Haehl,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Wanaka hostels. Welcome.