You’re in New Zealand and you’re feeling a wee bit antsy pants to experience something new. You venture to Queenstown (because everyone says to) and ready to embark to the land beyond. Welcome to Lake Wanaka, a ridiculously picturesque beach town that is more than a scenic stopover. It’s an hour and fifteen minute drive from the adrenaline, thrill-seeking backpacker land of Queenstown and oh so worth it.
Let your day begin!
8:30am (no earlier please, you’re on vacation)
Just on the outskirts of town, visit Florence’s Foodstore & Café for your café fix and some “local happy eggs and farm raised bacon”. You can purchase your picnic goodies here, as well.
Water time! Stroll into the Information Center located along the water to rent your kayak (double or single) for $15 an hour, per person. If you prefer to stand up paddle, you can rent these across the street at Racer’s Edge.
*If you’re up for an adventure (see Sweaty NZ Challenge #2), kayak 2.4k to Ruby Island for a picnic. Be sure to give yourself about 3 hours roundtrip.
Of course there’s time for more coffee and a pastry, you’ve been an active kid! Relishes Cafe has a lakeside view with scrumptious muffins and toasty roasty coffee to sip on as you stroll down the main street and window shop.
What? You’ve still got some pep in your step? In that case, take a tramp along the water’s edge towards Waterfall Creek and Glendhu Bay.
*The entire trek to Glendu Bay is about 3-4 hours roundtrip, but taking in even half the walk is entirely worth it (if you do the full trek here, you’ll have to miss out on the Rippon Winery stop. It’s a bit of a give and take, right?).
On the way back from this walk, you happen to stroll by the Rippon Winery Cellar Door. Providing perhaps one of the most scenic views you’ll see at a winery, tastings are free (woohoo!), though donations are accepted to support the preservation of the grounds.
Do yourself a favor and buy a bottle here and enjoy it out on the Rippon patio overlooking Lake Wanaka.
*Be sure to check seasonal hours.
Hate to be the one to break it to you, but alcohol in New Zealand is not cheap. So here’s your chance to enjoy some gorgeous lake-front scenery, mingle with locals and visitors alike, and take advantage of a 50% off Happy Hour at Water Bar.
Take advantage of the sun setting around 9pm during the summer months and lay a blanket on the beach for an evening picnic. For a light meal, stop by the supermarket for meats, cheeses, and bread. Don’t forget to grab your favorite beer or wine (You can drink in public, a bizarre notion for us Americans).
If you want some seriously tasty grub that’s also affordable, Bombay Palace is spot on. Is it slightly random that we went to an Indian Restaurant in New Zealand? Maybe, but the curry was delicious, the garlic naan fresh and hot, and the service was quick. So why not!