• a view of a body of water with a mountain in the background

Wanaka Holidays

Wanaka holidays transport you to a laid-back town on the shores of the pristine and tranquil Lake Wanaka, surrounded by the snow-capped beauty of the Southern Alps. Brimming with outdoor adventures and quirky activities, taking a trip here is like stepping straight into a postcard.

Before you head out into the wilderness, take some time to explore the town itself. Wanaka offers a wealth of fun and unique activities for all the family to enjoy. Find out more about Wanaka’s aviation history at the Warbirds and Wheels Museum, which houses a collection of classic cars and military aircraft. Or for something completely different, check out the surreal world of mazes and illusions at Stuart Landsborough’s Puzzling World. Finally, round off your day with a movie at Cinema Paradiso, complete with sofas, beer and freshly-baked cookies.

Wanaka holidays will ignite your sense of adventure

Thanks to the town’s ideal location between the mountains and the lake, the opportunities for outdoor exploration and adventurous activities on Wanaka holidays are endless. Hit the slopes of the world-renowned ski resorts during the winter, or in summer venture into the mountains and forests on hiking or mountain biking trips. Channel the town’s airplane-focused nature and take to the skies for aerial views of some of the region’s most spectacular landscapes, such as the Milford Sound fiord and Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand.

To really get your adrenaline pumping, a Wanaka holiday must is a thrilling skydive over the alpine scenery.

Back on solid ground, head to the vast expanse of Lake Wanaka. At 120 square miles, it’s the fourth largest lake in New Zealand. Walk or bike along its scenic shores, glide across its mirrored surface on a kayak, or plunge into its silent depths for a swim when the weather’s warm.

Wanaka’s location in the southwest of New Zealand means it can easily be combined with other South Island destinations like Queenstown and Dunedin for a multi-centre holiday.

  • Charlie, Destination Manager


    Destination Manager

    “A holiday in Wanaka is a haven for mountain bikers, with hundreds of miles of tracks to explore. If you’re really keen, try and coincide your Wanaka holiday with one of the many exhilarating mountain biking events held in the area, such as the Lake Hawea Epic, Motatapu or The Big Easy.”


  • Lucy, Destination Specialist


    Destination Specialist

    “Make the most of Wanaka’s passion for aviation with the many flight-based activities on offer. The aerial views of places like Milford Sound, Mount Cook and Mount Aspiring are phenomenal – and if you’re feeling adventurous, land in one of Wanaka’s remote areas to enjoy unbelievable hiking and climbing.”

Events & Festivals

Festivals and events are wonderful to include during your Wanaka holiday, offering a glimpse into the country’s authentic culture and traditions.

  • Warbirds over Wanaka

    Warbirds over Wanaka is a four day spectacle billed as one of the best and air shows in the world - it certainly is unique. Held every other year, Warbirds over Wanaka celebrates Wanaka’s history of aviation. Prepare to be mesmerised by aerial displays featuring both modern and historic fighter jets, RNZAF planes and helicopters, in addition to a variety of sports aircraft. There are also a number of market stalls selling gifts and souvenirs, plus plenty of local food and drink stands to keep you as well-fuelled as the planes you’re watching. 


  • Lake Hawea Epic

    Lake Hawea Epic is an annual mountain bike race and is the ultimate test of endurance and determination. Taking place every year on the tranquil shores of Lake Hawea, it’s the longest such event in New Zealand – and quite possibly the most scenic. Riders compete over courses of 95kms (59 miles), 125kms (77 miles), and 160kms (99 miles), which are packed with narrow, rocky inclines, river crossings, long descents and breath-taking views.


  • Macpac Motatapu

    Said to be New Zealand’s most iconic off-road sporting event, Macpac Motatapu is a multi-day, multi-sport extravaganza. Held every April, it takes place in the stunning high-country terrain between Wanaka and Queenstown – an area only open to the public once a year, for this event. Featuring mountain biking, an exciting triathlon, as well as trail runs of various distances, Mapac Motatapu is a fantastic opportunity to discover the stunning forests, peaks and valleys of the South Island on your Wanaka holidays.


  • The Big Easy

    With events for both mountain bikers and trail runners, The Big Easy takes participants high up into the mountains south of Wanaka. The races take place at Snow Farm Lodge, which is known for its cross-country skiing during the winter, surrounding participants with fresh air and panoramic views.