When I travelled around New Zealand I quickly came to the realisation that every place that I visited was going to be more exquisite than the last. The miles of green grass, snow capped mountains and clear mirror lakes all added up to make NZ one of my top ten countries on the planet! So, when we pulled up to Lake Wanaka on the Kiwi Bus at sunset – it really topped off all the rest in my opinion. The mountains, surrounding a blue lake with a purple sunset sky? I had found heaven on earth!


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To Do:

I couldn’t wait to explore the place and if you’re like me and just want to take in the scenery there are some fantastic walks around the lake to follow. Depending on which one you choose, you could circle mountains, find more spectacular views of the lake scenery or find some swings to play on like I did!

There are some BBQ’s to rent out which would be a neat idea if you’re visiting in summer time! There would be nothing better than putting some lamb on the grill and enjoying a few drinks at sunset with friends.

If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, there are plenty of activities to keep you occupied including Kayaking, Jet boats, mountaineering and flights over the mountain tops! You can also Ski or Snowboard in the largest skiiable terrain in Australasia if that’s your thing. It’s home to Cadrona and Treble Cone which both offer world class skiing surrounded by amazing landscapes and scenery – It should be on any ski lovers list!


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Some friendly locals!


To Eat and Drink:

There were so many impressive cafes, restaurants and bars in the area which would be perfect for your Apres-Ski get together and they were always busy which made for some great atmosphere. Out of all the eateries on offer though, my favourite restaurant was just was opposite the lake called Kai Whakapai which means “food made good”. They had friendly service, reasonable prices and whipped up a mean poached egg breakfast! The restaurant also had amazing views of the lake and so it was a perfect match to set you up for a day of exploring!

If you’re after sampling some famous kiwi fish and chips while you’re there, go visit the BoaBoa Food company which is also near the lakefront. Incredibly popular with the locals; the guys in there are super friendly and cook up fresh fish daily.


Must Do:

The thing I loved most about Wanaka was it’s little touches that made it unique. One of the highlights of visiting was Cinema Paradiso, a pocket sized cinema with a wicked personality. You can put your feet up and relax on there many sofas in the theatre, just like you would at home. They also have cars to sit in and my personal favourite, a retro dentist chair!

They sell mouth-watering white chocolate, milk chocolate and triple choc cookies in half time if you’re peckish and you can treat yourself to a little glass of wine as you watch. Heavenly.

Make sure you book a seat as places are limited, get there early to get pick of the bunch.


The Verdict: 

Wanaka is paradise. It’s a place of fantasy and has a sky of a thousand colours, changing before your eyes in an instant. My favourite times to visit the lake were at Sunrise and Sunset and its definitely worth going to see both.

If you are heading to the South Island make sure you spend a day or two here exploring before or after Queenstown.

Go explore the gem of New Zealands south island!


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Sophie Pearce

Sophie Pearce is the founder of Third Eye Traveller. Always having itchy feet and a restless soul seeking adventure, she has now travelled to over 30+ countries, many of them solo. Leaving her heart in India, which gifted her a “Third Eye”, she felt inspired to share her travel stories in the hope of encouraging others to explore this big beautiful world of ours.

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