Lovely Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka, in New Zealand’s Southern Lakes Region, is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park and Te Wahipounamu world heritage area. This region of soaring mountains and deep alpine lakes is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular landscapes, and a popular year-round holiday destination.

During the long, hot summers, the braided rivers and lakes are alive with people enjoying water-based leisure sports including boating and fishing. The mountains offer extensive hiking tracks, mountaineering and rock climbing for outdoor enthusiasts.

In winter, the mountains surrounding the lake provide top ski and heli-ski facilities, attracting snow lovers from around the world.

Wanaka’s natural environment is a haven for rare native birds and plant life, including endangered buff weka on Mou Waho island – a nature reserve in the middle of Lake Wanaka. The top point of Mou Waho has 360 degree views of Lake Wanaka, the mountains and river valleys, and Arethusa pool – a little crystal clear lake just below the island’s summit.

Wanaka has some of New Zealand’s best canyoning opportunities. Guided tours in Matukituki valley take visitors into deep canyons to explore clear pools and native forest, to plunge down polished water chutes and abseil waterfalls. New Zealand’s rock climbing capital, Wanaka has hundreds of rock routes – ranging from grade nine to 30 – on the edge of Mt Aspiring national park.

Lake Wanaka region also offers impressive fishing opportunities for salmon, brown and rainbow trout in the clear waters of three major lakes, streams and rivers, including the Clutha which is New Zealand’s largest river.

Winter is a busy season as large numbers of skiers and snowboarders descend on Wanaka’s snow-covered mountains. Four alpine resorts are easily accessed from town.  Cardrona Alpine Resort is a relaxed ski and snowboard resort between Wanaka and Queenstown. Cardrona has specialist slopes for beginners and intermediate slopes, advanced chutes and an extensive freestyler park.  Snow Park NZ, New Zealand’s largest terrain park, caters for beginners through to advanced freestylers. With its perfectly designed and maintained features, the park is a freestyle mecca for snowboarders and skiers.

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