Planning a holiday to Wanaka? You’re on the right track. It's one of the most stunning areas in the world, bursting with adventure year round. Wanaka has postcard perfect views at every turn, but getting a couple of tips from locals will really let you experience the best Wanaka has to offer.

These are a selection of my families favourite walks in the Wanaka area and beyond. Each of them will give you an incredible taste of the Otago landscape.

 

1.  Roys Peak – 6 Hours Return Hike

Make the ascent up Roys peak for unbeatable views of Lake Wanaka. The mountain has become Instagram famous, with photographers flocking from around the world to capture the incredible landscape.

The track itself is 16kms return and takes around 5-6 hours to complete. It’s a steep incline, so this is not a hike for the faint of heart. Also note that the track is closed from the 1st of October until the 10th of November for lambing

Check out the Department of Conservation's website for more info on this track.


To get there: Drive towards Treble Cone along Wanaka-Mount Aspiring Road, the carpark is a 10 minute drive out of Wanaka township on the left hand side. Check out the map at the bottom of this post if you need to get your bearings.

Difficulty Level: Intense

 

RoysPeak

Roys Peak - Johan Lolos

 2.  Blue Pools – 1 Hour Drive & 30mins Return Walk

The stunning Blue Pools bring icy water down from the mountains above. They contain some of the clearest water you’ll ever see, and if you’re game, some of the coldest water you’ll ever swim in. There’s a flat 15 minute walk through a native forest (also incredibly beautiful) and across a couple of swing bridges to get to the pools.

Check out DOCs website for more info on this track.

To get there: Out of Wanaka follow State highway 6 towards Lake Hawea. Follow the road to Makarora, and the carpark is 5 minutes after the Makarora township.

Difficulty: Easy

 

Blue_Pools

Blue Pools - Devesh Sahai

3.  Diamond Lake – 30 Minute Drive & 40 Minute Return Walk

This hidden gem is beautiful year round, but the freeze over during winter makes for absolutely stunning photos. If you’re looking for a longer adventure there’s also the options of the Diamond Lake and Lake Wanaka lookouts (1 hour and 2 hours return, respectively). Otherwise if these aren’t enough, the Rocky Mountain summit has spectacular views of Lake Wanaka (3 hours return).

Check out DOCs website for more information on this track.

To get there: 30 Minutes drive out of Wanaka on the Wanaka-Mount Aspiring road out to Treble Cone. The car park is on the right hand side just after the long straight stretch of road. From there, walk the gravel track up to the lake. Follow the signs to reach the lookouts.

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

 

Dimond Lake

Dimond Lake - Photography Tours

4.  Lake Alta - 1.5 Hour Drive & 1.5 Hour Return Walk

During summer, drive over the Crown Range and up to the Remarkables ski field to see the stunning Lake Alta. If it’s a hot day you can also take a dip in the pristine waters. You won’t be staying in for long though, it’s pretty flipping cold! The track to Lake Alta is 40 minutes each way.

Check out DOCs website for more information on this track.

To get there: Drive towards Queenstown from Wanaka. Take a left at the roundabout by the petrol station and Burger King, heading towards the Remarkables Ski Field. Go over the one lane bridge and take a left when you get to the Remarkables Ski Field road.

Difficulty: Moderate

 

Lake_Alta

 

5.  Rob Roy Glacier - 1 Hour Drive & 4 Hours Return Hike

Take a drive past Treble Cone up the Matukituki valley for the spectacular hike up to the Rob Roy Glacier. Even if you don’t feel like doing the hike, the drive up the Matukituki valley is beautiful and well worth a visit. The track to the lookout is 10km return (3-4 hours).

Check out DOCs website for more info on this track.

To get there: Take the road towards Treble Cone, once you pass the turnoff to the Ski-field the road will turn to gravel. Follow this road for another 30 minutes until you reach the Raspberry Creek carpark. All up it’s around an hours drive from Wanaka township. Be aware though, you will have to drive over a couple of fords.

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 3.21.44 pm.png

Rob Roy Glacier - Archangem

6.  Millennium Track - 8 Hours Return Hike

The millennium track follows the edge of Lake Wanaka from the Wanaka township all the way to Glendhu bay. It’s 15.5km (~4 hours) to get to Glendhu bay, which may be a little much for some, but doing any section of the track will prove for a lovely day out. The track is also open to bikes, which is another great way to explore Wanaka. Also, don't miss That Wanaka Tree which gets a fair amount of photography attention (rightly so too).

While there's not a DOC webpage for this trail, you can follow this map.

To get there: From Wanaka township simply head left (as you’re looking at the lake) along the lakeside trail.
 

Difficulty: Easy

 

That_Wanaka_Tree

That Wanaka Tree - Darren J Bennett


7. Isthmus Peak -  30min Drive & 6 HOUR RETURN HIKE


For stunning views of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea take the Isthmus peak track up to its summit. The track is 16km return, which should take around 5-6 hours. For an excellent write up of someones experience of the track, check out Stoaked For Saturday.

Check out DOCs website for more information.

To get there: Drive past Lake Hawea on State Highway 6. The carpark is around 30mins out of Wanaka just before Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea converge.

Difficulty: Moderate

Isthmus Peak


Isthmus Peak - Stoaked For Saturday


8. Sawyer burn Track - 40 minute Drive & 5 hour return hike

 

With incredible views of Lake Hawea the Sawyer Burn track veers off the Kidds Bush nature walk and climbs up through the forrest to the bushline. The 2.5 hour hike end ends at the Sawyer Burn Hutt, which is a rather rustic affair but there are options to go further from there.

Check out DOCs website for more information. 

To get there: Drive past Lake Hawea on State Highway 6. Where Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea converge take a right along Meads Road. The carpark is 6km down Meads road which is 40mins out of Wanaka.


Difficulty: Easy - Moderate

 

Sawyer Burn Track

Sawyer Burn Track - Danilo Hegg

 

If you know the area, it'd be great to hear about what your favourite day trips from Wanaka are. Feel free to comment or add your favourite day trips to the map below. I'm really keen to put together a useful resource for the more outdoorsy visitors.

 

 

If you or someone you know is searching for a place to stay for a Wanaka holiday, feel free to check out our holiday home. It's an incredible place to stay and is perfectly positioned to make the most of the Wanaka views.