Load up Your Tote Bag at Wānaka's Best Independent Boutiques

Interior view of The Workroom, Wānaka.

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 strolling the streets in a designer get-up or having coffee in 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 Wānaka wares and wears, to help you find something to treasure. 

DEVàL Boutique

Fashion key icon.

28 Helwick Street, Wānaka

DEVàL was founded by Dunedin-born designer Debbie Lawson, the name being a combination of her and her mother's, Val. Launched in Christchurch in 2007, the boutique combines its in-house label with a carefully curated range of New Zealand and international designer items. A browse through the beautiful store located in The Precinct will uncover timeless treasures by Camilla and Marc, Chloe, Anine Bing, Zadig & Voltaire and many 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.

Fearless

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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 to biking the Otago Central Rail 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 a personalised service and also dishes out great advice on activities to do in the area. With funky and feminine fitness gear, Fearless has something for every woman to enjoy wearing.

Wastebusters

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Ballantyne Road, 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, this circular economy hub helps save pre-loved items from going to landfill and find them a new forever home. Take a stroll through the outdoor zone and peruse all sorts of steals on BBQs, bikes, sports gear and outdoor furniture. Inside, you will find an eclectic mix of clothing with pumping music and friendly staff happy to give you a helping hand. Wastebusters also encourages you to take care of your belongings with free, café-style repair events where you can learn the skills to make sure your treasures last well into the future.

47 Frocks

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47 Helwick Street, Wānaka

47 Frocks is one of Wānaka’s most beloved boutiques. For customers in Wānaka and all over the country, the team here 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. All pieces are made to last, and the 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 Wānaka fashion scene.

The Workroom

50 Brownston Street, 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 places none other than Italy and Byron Bay), this classy one-stop shop offers the best in homewares and interior design services. With great attention to detail, Anna takes the time to get to know her clients and translate their personal style into a visual feast wherein every item tells a story. The boutique 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

59 Helwick Street, Wānaka

Wilson & Dorset is the epitome of high country luxury. Founded by Ben Wilson and Amanda Dorset to connect with the natural environment and encourage an open and functional way of living, Wilson & Dorset celebrates the beauty and practicality of wool. Their range boasts items such as shaggy bean bags, designer floor rugs, cosy cushions and footstools, all in earthy tones and all carefully created to evoke a feeling of bringing nature into the home. Flow and roam are core principles of the brand and their lounging designs intentionally stray from static furniture, encouraging you to relax and get down to ground level. Pop into the shop and try it for yourself – though a word of warning that once you take a snuggly seat, you may never want to leave it.

Perriam

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20 Helwick Street, 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 range), from luscious knits and garments in beautiful fabrics and prints to gorgeous baby and kids' wear, as well as cosy treats such as wool blankets and fluffy sheepskin slippers. The strength and beauty of merino are celebrated here and the store sells chunky merino wool in delightful hues so you can make your own woolly creations at home (they even have knit kits, to help beginners create everything from a headband to a jersey). Have a browse and treat yourself to something both beautiful and sustainable.

Revology Concept Store

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28 Helwick Street, Wānaka

Revology combines the best of old and new in the resort town of Wānaka. 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 that 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 is stocked with an array of lovely brews, such as their refocus tea (blue butterfly pea flower and rosemary) and Mother & Daughter elderflower syrup. Creation and repair are also encouraged, with regular workshops held in-store on sewing repairs, tea, and a knit and natter club. Revology makes sustainable living mainstream, and does it well.

The Old School House

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2312 Cardrona Valley Road, Cardrona

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. Browse the rustic space (complete with a deer antler chandelier overhead) and discover such items as handcrafted soaps, Cardrona Valley-made ceramics, unique works by talented local artists, Southern Lakes Tartan blankets and scarves (whose design is the official Scottish registered tartan of the district), swappa seats ingeniously created from upcycled crates and blankets, and gin made just down the road at Cardrona Distillery.

Untouched World

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35 Helwick Street, 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 its earthy tones are 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.

Neat Wānaka Places

b.social

Outdoor area with a bike parked up at b.social, Wānaka.
Place Wānaka Editor's Pick
Bars key icon. Cafes key icon. Restaurants key icon.

The b.social taproom and eatery is a great spot for eating and drinking that is worthy of a visit (or many), whether you’re just in town for the weekend or call this beautiful region home year-round.

Scroggin

A milky coffee, pastries and savoury dish on the table at Scroggin, Wānaka.
Place Wānaka Editor's Pick
Cafes key icon.

With a Scandinavian-inspired fit-out to match the mountains and adventures to be had in Wānaka, you'll quickly understand why this coffee and eatery’s tagline is ‘Gather, feast, stay for a while.’

The Secret Sauna

A view of a little wooden sauna next to a lake on a sunny day.
Place Wānaka
Stay and explore key icon. Wellbeing key icon.

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...

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...