We have scoured the stunning mountain and lakeside town of Wānaka to discover the best in eating, drinking, shopping, and more. Explore our favourite places in our guide.

Formerly known as Pembroke, this lakeside town was originally formed during the Gold Rush of the 19th century. Fast forward 100 plus years and although locals may no longer be digging for gold, they’ve certainly found it in the lifestyle that is living in Wānaka.

History has it that Māori came here to hunt and fish during their stop-offs on the way to the West Coast to find pounamu, and current dwellers will tell you that the love of the great outdoors hasn’t diminished since.

The mountains surrounding Wānaka are world-renowned spots for climbing, biking, and skiing, so it’s no wonder Wānaka is home to many super sportspeople.

When the locals aren’t out and about in the forests, hills, or lakes, you’ll find them in town at one of the many fantastic eateries or bars, thanks to a steadily increasing number of entrepreneurs who are providing food and wine done with class.

 

12 Hours Wānaka

People sitting outside Kai Whakapai.

The neatest things to see, eat, and do.

The Insiders' Weekend Guide to Lake Hāwea

A view from above The Camp at Lake Hāwea in Wanaka.
Wānaka

No longer Wānaka's lesser-known neighbour, Lake Haweā is an outdoor lovers' paradise that's evolved into a well-rounded holiday destination, thanks to its hospitality offerings and activities to match its intense beauty and monstrous mountain range. With a secret sauna, surrounding peaks, jaw-dropping walks and hikes, coffee caravans and outdoor bars, here's our guide to what the locals have kept under wraps for some time.

Your Guide to a Wellness Weekend in Wānaka

A healthy salad bowl and smoothie on a table outside at Dripping Bowl Wanaka.
Wānaka

Ah, Wānaka. Best known as a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, home to a multitude of tracks for feet shod in boots or pushing pedals, and a gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park. Set at the southern end of its namesake lake with famously panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, it’s a place where not only your eyes can feast but so too your mind, body and soul.

Wānaka Businesses Making Waves in a Sustainable Way

Two people in a hot tub at Cross Hill in Lake Hawea.
Wānaka

Wānaka is the home base for a bunch of game-changing businesses, with offerings as diverse as the terrain that surrounds them. Beneath the surface, however, there are commonalities that go beyond their root environment. They are committed to sustainability, prioritising the land, locals and longevity of the planet.

Pinnacle Pints in Wānaka: Where Craft Beer Meets Mountain Peaks

People dining inside Rhyme x Reason.
Wānaka

Wānaka craft beer, mountain scenery and outdoor activities meet to create a community of followers who thirst for adventure.

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The Camp

A small cabin nestled in bushes.
Place Wānaka
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Aotearoa, land of the great outdoors, is unsurprisingly a land of a long list of incredibly scenic sites to spend a night, too.

Alice Herald

Two hands holding a beautiful pink diamond ring.
Place Wānaka
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Couture is a word most often associated with high-end fashion, but down Wānaka’s sleek laneway, The Precinct, you will find a window displaying Alice Herald’s...

Kamino

The brick and glass exterior of Kamino cafe in Wanaka.
Place Wānaka
Cafes key icon.

If you don’t know where Kamino is in the Star Wars galaxy, never fear.

The Secret Sauna

A view of a little wooden sauna next to a lake on a sunny day.
Place Wānaka
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Picture this: an off-grid, wood-fired sauna sits peacefully on the shore of a glacial lake, smoke softly puffing out of the chimney while through the generous window, a...

Get your Pocket Guide for Wānaka

A photo of the latest Neat Places Wanaka pocket guide sitting on a white table next to juice and pastries.

We have scoured the stunning mountain and lakeside town of Wānaka to discover the best in eating, drinking, shopping, and more. Explore our favourite places in our guide.

Hāwea Hotel

Inside the restaurant where people are dining and looking out the windows over the lake.
Place Wānaka
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How do you like the idea of enjoying your morning coffee from a private balcony, with uninterrupted views of mountains encircling one of the country’s largest lakes?

Paloma

Four plates of Mexican food from Paloma Wanaka on a wooden table.
Place Wānaka
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Creators of authentic Mexican fare, Paloma has a simple (but by no means easy) mission: to make the best possible tacos in Wānaka using New Zealand ingredients.

hello RANGER

A plate of lamb koftas, flatbreads and tzatziki on a table at hello RANGER with a pint of beer and other plates in the background.
Place Wānaka
Restaurants key icon.

Just like any good park ranger, hello RANGER is the heart of its community, there to take care of adventurous people before and after their journeys.

General Service

A group of three people sitting around a table working.
Place Wānaka
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Tucked down an alleyway in the heart of Wānaka is a place where the inhabitants look forward to coming to work each day.

Wānaka Lavender Farm

A purple tractor parked in between rows of purple lavender at Wānaka Lavender Farm.
Place Wānaka
Cafes key icon.

This is not your typical working farm.

DEVàl Boutique

Woman placing garment back on the rack at DEVàl Boutique, Wānaka.
Place Wānaka
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DEVàL’s story is one of family, tragedy and triumph.

Muttonbird

Enclosed balcony dining area at Muttonbird, Wānaka.
Place Wānaka
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It’s a seabird you can eat that smells like fish and tastes like mutton.

Pembroke Wines & Spirits

Life is too short to drink bad wine sign at Pembroke Wines & Spirits, Wānaka.
Place Wānaka
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Pembroke Wines & Spirits is a boutique bottle shop that delivers more than you thought you ever needed.

Freshlink Grocer

The interior of Freshlink Grocer where there is a costumer walking around shopping.
Place Wānaka
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This whole-food store and knowledge hub has a genuinely wholesome focus on slow food, championing minimal to zero processing and local growers and producers.

arc

High angle view of a person cutting into a fish and citrus dish, wine and other dishes on the table at arc, Wānaka.
Place Wānaka
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Owners of Wānaka restaurant arc, James Stapley and Sam Cooper know a thing or two about what makes a good eatery.

Fearless

Sports bottles and other accessories on display at Fearless, Wānaka.
Place Wānaka
Fashion key icon.

Fearless is a store with a purpose.

The Next Chapter

The outside of The Next Chapter, Wānaka on a sunny day.
Place Wānaka

Located out front of Paradiso Cinema, in a purpose-built, architecturally designed, scaled-up kiosk, The Next Chapter provides readers with an intimate escape from the...