Guide12 Hours Wānaka
A place where every house in town seems to have a million-dollar view, you'll find endless activities to fill 12 hours in Wānaka.
The neatest things to see, eat, and do.
When the locals aren’t out and about in the forests, hills, or lake, you’ll find them in town eating, drinking, and wearing some of the best in the business, and you should join them.
Unsurprisingly, this is a town of early-risers, and how can you blame them when you’re waking up to a view as magnificent as Lake Wānaka? Join the locals and head out into town bright and early to see what’s going on.
71 Ardmore Street, Wanaka
Start your Wānaka visit the way the locals do, with coffee and breakfast from Scandi-inspired, Scroggin. The coffee is supplied by Flight, and includes filter and cold brew options alongside delicious espresso. The all-day menu has you covered with a mix of fresh, savoury breakfast options, like the Green Breaky Bowl or Shakshuka (poached eggs served atop curry tomato & capsicum sauce, butter beans and pesto, topped with Raglan coconut yoghurt or housemate labneh), to tried-and-true classics like a Reuben or grilled cheese.
Lakeside Walk to Waterfall Creek
With what's planned for the rest of the day, it's probably a good time to get some exercise and take a lakeside stroll from the township to waterfall Creek which will take around 1.5 hours to return. Another box ticked as you'll pass ‘The Wanaka Tree’ and Edgewater.
Photo credit: Ethan Dow
Visit The Precinct
28 Helwick Street, Wanaka
Now it's time to head to The Precinct; a stylish, shared complex, with a range of alluring retail and hospitality stores. We recommend going straight to Wee Tart for a caffeine fix and get your bearings. Once you've lingered long enough, go check out Revology Concept Store & Tea House, an achingly cool store with beautifully made lifetime objects alongside vintage goods brought over from France. Before you leave be sure to check out the mountain views from the expansive rooftop terrace.
47 Helwick Street, Wanaka
The beauty about Wānaka is you won’t have to walk far to find yourself in 47 Frocks. This is a beautifully curated boutique where the latest threads and accessories from New Zealand designers are centre stage. The fun, smiley, and attentive staff ensure customers have an enjoyable time choosing some of the luxe items, so you can walk lakeside dressed to impress for the rest of your Wānaka visit.
33 Helwick Street, Wanaka
If you prefer hanging beautiful things on the wall rather than wearing them, then Gallery 33 best be your next port of call. Playful pieces and art that packs a punch keep things from being too serious here. If you find something you’d like to take home but have travelled some way to be in Wānaka, never fear, the team are well accustomed to sending pieces all around the globe.
As the morning rush passes don’t be fooled into thinking there’s a lull of action in town. If numbers have decreased since the AM, it’s probably because everyone is out hiking, biking, kayaking, or swimming. Feel free to do the same, but just know there’s plenty more to see in town, too.
Cardrona Valley Road, Cardrona
You’ll be feeling peckish by now and we sure don’t blame you. Hold your horses just a moment more and make your way to Cardrona Hotel - a much-loved favourite for visitors and it’s rumoured to be the most photographed building in the country. Here you’ll find a rustic place rich in history, and once you’ve explored the grounds and finished your selfies, tuck into the hearty menu items that are artful variations on old pub classics.
An afternoon in Cardrona Valley is something traveller dreams are made of, hence why you’ll see so many beaming people out this way. If you don’t check yourself you’ll end up just like them.
2125 Cardrona Valley Road, Wanaka
What better way to finish a midday meal than with some variation of a digestif, and one made in the very valley you’re currently in? Slide on over to Cardrona Distillery and try some of the Single Malt Vodka, award-winning Rosehip Gin, and deliciously powerful New Zealand Orange Liqueur made on-site. While you’re at it, take a look around the place on a guided tour and learn from those in the know about what makes an artisan spirit taste so much better than its counterparts.
60 Anderson Road, Wanaka
Perhaps beer is more your thing than spirits. If you were thinking that means you’d have to settle for less, you can think again. B.social is proof that even smaller towns can punch well above their weight when it comes to craft beer, and with an easy-going vibe, you’re going to find this place very hard to leave. While you’re here, taste their range of b.effect brews and hear about the magic that goes into making some of the finest beer in town.
Evening time may be cooler on the thermometer but you still need to be able to handle the heat of a fun night out in town.
2 Dunmore Street, Wanaka
All that sipping of fine wines sure can get the appetite up, so when you’re ready for dinner, make your way to the wonderful Kika. Managing that fine line of being deservedly proud of its food without being pretentious, this restaurant’s charm is in its fantastic menu. You can trust the rave reviews of the locals to know that this is where to come for one of the best dining experiences in town.
14 Helwick Street, Wanaka
Back on the main street is a great place to finally wind down (or heat up!) your night. That’s always more fun with other people, so join the casual crowd at Cork, an intimate bar with plenty of specialized cocktails. Let the fun bartenders mix you up something new (if you thought you’d tried every gin & tonic combination under the sun you best think again), and cosy into the dimly-lit booths at Wānaka’s favourite new drink spot.