Wānaka Holiday Shopping Guide

Wānaka is so much more than a tree in a lake, and whether you’re a local or stopping by on your roadie this summer you’ll be spoiled by the options for activities and gift giving this holiday season.

Man looking at shirts at 47 Frocks.

Words by: Zack Holmes

Wānaka is home to myriad local boutiques, chocolatiers, artists and of course the famous Puzzling World, the choices are seemingly limitless when it comes to buying something special for that special someone. Whether it’s the contemporary art at Gallery 33 that catches your eye, super sustainable fashion outlets, or a trip to the cinema in all of its retro-inspired glory, family and friends will have no trouble singling you out as the best gifter of the clan with this local guide. And while you’re at it, might as well stop for a drink at one of the country’s best bespoke distilleries, right here in the heart of Otago.

 

A woman making a purchase at the counter.

Wonder Room

80 Ardmore Street, Wanaka

Everywhere you look in Wonder Room there’s something to ogle at. Beautiful gifts, crafts and artwork stack every inch of space, making it a hard place to walk out of empty-handed. And there’s really no need to either, as the carefully curated spot aims to please all sorts of gift buyers. Local artists are held in high regard here with prints, paintings and little sculptures taking up much of the back room, while those keen on a dose of Kiwiana will find plenty to satisfy their tastes.

The Green Room

21B Gordon Road, Wanaka

Say it with flowers—or plants or pots or other leafy green goodness. If you thought you’d seen all there is to see when it comes to florists then a visit to The Green Room will quickly change your mind. A smart, fresh and colourful botanical store, the team here offer custom made bouquets, potted plants, flower advice and even twice monthly floral arranging workshops. If you’re out of town you can even buy a floral box online and have it delivered to your loved one’s door.

Couch and homewares.

The Workroom

75 Brownston Street, Wanaka

Aesthetic is what The Workroom does best, so it’s not surprising just entering is a pleasure in itself. The tiled floors, soft neutral colours, throws and bright bursts of expertly arranged flowers mean it’s easy to trust these professionals when it comes to spicing up your home interiors. This former laundromat has long farewelled its days of washing clothes, and is now home to some of the most beautiful homewares, linen, prints and flowers in town.

Woman sat in a wooly sheepskin beanbag at Wilson & Dorset, Wānaka.

Wilson & Dorset

53 Helwick Street, Wanaka

A local institution, this interior design brand has been supplying local and worldwide customers with luxurious, made-to-last pieces for the past ten years. Everything coming out of the woolwork is high quality (and Woolmark Certified), and walking into the Wilson & Dorset shop is quite literally like walking into a cuddle. If you want to make a real impression, the natural colour palette across the whole range promises to look beautiful in any home, is made to handle the rough and tumble of everyday life and is guaranteed to elicit a strong “WOW” from the recipient as the wrapping is removed.

Hollywood movie stars on a wall.

Rubys Cinema and Bar

50 Cardrona Valley Road, Wanaka

Not everyone wants ‘stuff’, and for those who would rather spend time with those they love, Rubys has just the thing. Appreciative of the time when going to the pictures was a real experience, Rubys is a beautiful time warp where heavy curtains, plush velvet seating and dim lighting pay homage to the days of early movie stars like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. Showing films that will appeal to a wide audience from arthouse to blockbuster, take your fam to the pictures and enjoy a comfortable, cosy evening away from the bustle of post-Christmas mayhem.

Exterior of the Untouched World, Wanaka.

Untouched World

35 Helwick Street, Wanaka

In true Untouched World style, the Wanaka branch of the fashion brand with a non-negotiable stance on sustainability and ethics is nothing short of spectacular. The first and only fashion company in the world to be recognised by the United Nations for sustainability, Untouched World gets things right from the get-go. From sustainably grown fibres to GOTS certified organic dyes and water based prints, each and every bit of clothing here is designed to have as little impact on the planet’s resources as possible.

Entrance to the gallery.

Gallery 33

33 Helwick Street, Wanaka

Contemporary artwork may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if the budget allows then a one off piece of art might be just the thing for you this summer. Saturated with natural light from the large windows looking out to the main street, Gallery 33 has the ideal setup to show off the many talented New Zealand (plus a couple of Australian) artists that are lucky enough to be on show. Whether it be paintings, sculpture, glass, ceramics or jewellery, the gallery isn’t fussy when it comes to medium and the team are well accustomed to sending pieces around the world.

Bottles of Source Gin.

Cardrona Distillery

2125 Cardrona Valley Road, Wanaka

While it may be a small batch operation, it’s one that runs like clockwork thanks to the efforts of its clever and enthusiastic team who mill, mash, ferment and distil the artisan spirits, and who are then jointly responsible for labelling bottles, running tours and tending the beautiful grounds. This is the place to come and treat the craft spirit aficionado in your life, whether it be for a tour and tasting or take home bottle of their award-winning Rosehip Gin.

Close up of glassware on a table.

Wastebusters

Ballantyne Road, Wanaka

When you’re feeling mindful of consumption or on a reuse, recycle and reduce mission, Wastebusters’ huge warehouse on Ballantyne Road has a bargain for you. You can find everything imaginable in this funky, retro haven filled with clothing, books, furniture, mountain equipment plus so much more, and when paired with amazing service from a passionate team, you’ll never want to step foot in a Briscoes store again.

Yu Mei bag with rack of clothes beneath.

47 Frocks

47 Helwick Street, Wanaka

Wānaka is no sleepy town when it comes to being on trend with the latest fashion. Thanks to the sharp looking folks at 47 Frocks, you can wander the lakeside dressed to impress with the latest threads and accessories from NZ designers. Split into two equally cool areas, the focus is on ensuring visitors have a fun time choosing some of the luxe items to take home. Inclusions of beauty products, lingerie and swimwear mean the store really does have something for every fashion lover.