Load up Your Tote Bag at Wānaka's Best Independent Boutiques
Immerse yourself in Wānaka's creative shopping scene.
Words by: Sophie Morris
Photography by: Nancy Zhou
There’s something special about Wānaka. Famous for its lake, mountains and adventure activities, there is always something stunning to see and exciting to do. The resort town comes with a somewhat laissez-faire vibe where everyone is welcome as they are (whether you are strolling to streets in a designer get up, or having coffee in your activewear and jandals, you can be sure you’ll fit right in). The town is home to many creative brains and wonderful businesses curating and making beautiful things. So here’s our guide to the very best of Wanaka wares and wears, to help you find something to treasure.
28 Helwick Street, Wānaka
DEVàL was founded by Dunedin-born designer Debbie Lawson, the name being a combination of both hers and her mother Val’s. Launched in Christchurch in 2007, the boutique combines their in-house label with a carefully curated range of New Zealand and international designer items. A browse through the beautiful store in The Precinct will uncover timeless treasures by Camilla and Marc, Chloe, Anine Bing, Magali Pascal and much more. Run by Debbie and her team of clever stylists (assisted by Debbie’s pooch Cooper), DEVàL is your go to for personal service - with total attention to detail they will remember your style and let you know when something perfect for you arrives in store.
47 Helwick Street, Wānaka
Sparked by a desire to help every woman feel confident in activewear, Fearless combines style and practicality in sustainable fashion. The store is stocked with lovely garments (appropriate for everything from climbing a mountain or biking a Central Otago trail to wandering the streets of Wānaka), as well as earth-friendly accessories including long-life water bottles and natural beauty products. Owner Shelley gives personalised service and also dishes out great advice on activities to do in the area. With funky and feminine fitness gear, Fearless truly has something for everyone.
Ballantyne Road, Wanaka, Wānaka
When you want to find something kind on your wallet and kind on the planet, Wastebusters is the place to go. Opened in 2000, the recycling and reuse centre helps save pre-loved items from going to landfill, and find a new forever home. Take a stroll through their outdoor hub and peruse all sorts of steals including BBQs, bikes, sports gear and outdoor furniture. Inside, you will find an eclectic mix of clothing with pumping music and friendly staff to give you a helping hand. Wastebusters also encourages taking care of your belongings, with free repair café-style events where you can learn the skills to make sure your treasures last well into the future, as well as sustainable markets that celebrate the innovation that is abundant in Wānaka.
47 Helwick Street, Wanaka, Wānaka
47 Frocks is one of Wānaka’s most beloved boutiques. With customers in Wānaka and all over the country, their team lovingly curates the best in New Zealand fashion. Labels on offer include Twenty Seven Names, Juliette Hogan, Kowtow, NOM*d, Zambesi, Marle and Kate Sylvester, as well as Deadly Ponies and Yu Mei handbags, Karen Walker Eyewear and a sleek selection of NZ made jewellery. Pieces are made to last, and their friendly staff will help you invest wisely by picking styles suitable for more than just one occasion. Always with the latest and greatest, it’s a must-visit on the Wanaka fashion scene.
75 Brownston Street, Wanaka, Wānaka
If you’re after a bit of style inspiration, hop along to The Workroom. Run by Anna Begg, an interior designer with years of international experience (in Italy and Byron Bay nonetheless), this classy one-stop-shop offers up the best in homewares and interior design service. With great attention to detail, Anna takes the time to get to know her clients and translate their personal style into a visual feast where every item tells a story. The boutique shop itself is stocked with all the pretty things, including fresh floral arrangements that greet you on arrival, luscious soaps and body products, quality candles, and décor and design feature objects. So whether you need advice for a full on holiday home renovation, or just want something unique and beautiful, The Workroom is the place to go.
Wilson & Dorset
53 Helwick Street, Wanaka, Wānaka
Wilson & Dorset is the epitome of high country luxury. Founded by Ben Wilson and Amanda Dorset with the intention of connecting with the natural environment and encouraging an open and functional way of living,Wilson & Dorset celebrate the beauty and practicality of wool. The range boasts items such as shaggy bean bags, designer floor rugs, cosy cushions and footstools in earthy tones, all carefully created to evoke a feeling of bringing nature into the home. Flow and roam are core principles of the brand’s products – with lounging designs made to stray from static furniture and encourage you to relax and get down to ground level. Pop into the shop and try for yourself – though a word of warning – once you take a snuggly seat you may not ever want to leave.
20 Helwick Street, Wanaka, Wānaka
Buy once, treasure forever – that’s the core message of Perriam, the lifestyle fashion brand bringing together the best of New Zealand fibres and fashion. The store stocks a range of beautiful New Zealand made clothing (including their own fashion range), featuring luscious knits and garments in beautiful fabrics and prints, gorgeous baby and kids wear, as well as cosy treats such as wool blankets and fluffy sheepskin slippers. The power of and beauty merino is celebrated, with the store even selling NZ chunky merino wool in gorgeous hues so you can make your own woolly creations (they even have knit kits to help beginners create everything from a headband to a jersey). Take a browse and treat yourself to something both beautiful and sustainable.
28 Helwick Street, Wanaka, Wānaka
Revology combines the best of old and new in the resort town of Wanaka. Their ethos is simple – circularity of design and mindful living. Products are sourced with the environment in mind and are meant to go the distance while being both beautiful and useful. A browse of the space will reveal items to encourage slow living and conscious consumerism such as beautiful French vintage pieces, lifetime objects, thoughtful children’s gifts, natural body products and organic cotton products, among much more. The tea house and refillery are stocked with an array of lovely brews such as a refocus tea (with blue butterfly pea flower and rosemary) and a Mother & Daughter elderflower syrup. Creation and repair are also encouraged, with regular workshops held in store on sewing repairs, tea workshops, and a knit and natter club. Revology makes sustainable living mainstream, and does it well.
31 Dunmore Street, Wanaka, Wānaka
Now in its eleventh year, Bella is somewhat of a Wānaka fashion institution. Stocked with a range of designer clothing including much-loved New Zealand labels, pieces are made to last a lifetime. Central Otago seasons are well catered to, with garments ranging from feminine fabrics and linen dresses in summer to cosy knits in winter. Owners Jen and Marg and their lovely team will go above and beyond to help find a piece just right for your look - whether you are 18 or 80 - so you can walk out feeling wonderful.
The Old School House
2312 Cardrona Valley Road, Cardrona, Wānaka
Down the Cardrona Valley and next to the famous Cardona Hotel you will find The Old School House - a quaint boutique selling locally made wares and iconic Cardrona Hotel souvenirs. Take a browse of the rustic space (complete with a deer antler chandelier above head) and explore items such as homemade soaps, ceramics made in the Cardrona Valley, unique works by talented local artists, Southern lakes tartan (in blankets and scarves representative of the Central Otago region), swappa seats made from crates and upcycled blankets, and even gin made at the Cardrona Distillery just down the road.
35 Helwick Street, Wanaka, Wānaka
The ethos of Untouched World is simple – do more with less. The mindful lifestyle brand delivers cosy clothing that doesn’t cost the earth, in fact, it looks after it. Committed to sustainability, the brand celebrates natural fibres and thoughtful practices, and earthy tones give a nod to the natural environment that they come from. With everything from luxe ponchos (think possum, cashmere and silk) to classy coats in simple silhouettes, Untouched World will let you brave the South Island elements in style.
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Neat Wānaka Places
Francesca's Italian Kitchen Wānaka
Expect to see all things Italian on the menu here including risotto, ragù, gnocchi and wood red pizza.
Dark and elegant, Kika is an award-winning restaurant tucked away from Wānaka's main street.
A riot of colour and creativity, Wonder Room celebrates all the good things about giving, and proudly stocks some of the nation’s best crafters and creators.
Fearless is a store with a purpose.
The Precinct came on the scene in late 2020 as a stylish, shared complex with a range of alluring retail and hospitality stores.