12 Hours Wānaka

People sitting outside Kai Whakapai.

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.

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.


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71 Ardmore Street, Wānaka

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

Wānaka Lakeside

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. 

Visit The Precinct

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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 Kamino 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 Frocks

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47 Helwick Street, Wānaka

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.

The Workroom

50 Brownston Street, Wānaka

If you prefer beautiful things hanging on the curtain rails and lining your shelves rather than wearing them, let The Workroom be your next port of call. From homewares and linen to fresh bunches of flowers, head to The Workroom to browse their aesthetic offerings to furnish your rooms, local or visiting.


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.

Burrito Craft

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42 Brownston Street, Wānaka

You’ll be feeling peckish by now and we sure don’t blame you. Just across the stream from The Workroom cottage is an enticing sight (and smell) for the hungry – Brownston Street's food truck market. Nestled in the middle is Burrito Craft, serving up tasy Mexican fare with a personalised kick (choose your level of spice, from a mild 1 to 'face-melting' 10). Burritos and tacos are the stars of the menu here, and there are plenty of vegetarian, vegan, gluten- and dairy-free options as well as sides and a kids' menu for the smaller appetites. 


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.

Cardrona Distillery

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2125 Cardrona Valley Road, Wānaka

What better way to finish a midday meal than with some variation of a digestif, and one made in the picturesque valley that's just down the road? Slide on out to Cardrona Distillery and try some of their 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.

Cardrona Hotel

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Cardrona Valley Road, Cardrona

A couple of kilometres upriver from the distillery is the quaint Cardrona Hotel – a much-loved favourite for visitors, 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 snapping selfies, settle into a cosy seat with your beverage of choice to enjoy your surroundings. If you're feeling some hunger pangs returning, tuck into the hearty menu items that are artful variations on old pub classics.


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60 Anderson Road, Wānaka

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.


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33 Ardmore Street, Wānaka

All that sipping of fine local drops sure can get the appetite up, so when you’re ready for dinner make your way back into town and upstairs to the warm and friendly Muttonbird. Managing that fine line of being deservedly proud of its food without being pretentious, Muttonbird's fantastic selection of small and large plates are designed for 'relaxed dining' and change daily, in line with the seasons and what's fresh off the fishing boats. 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. 

Cork Bar

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14 Helwick Street, Wānaka

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.