This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.
Are you heading to the New Zealand South Island in the winter season? You shouldn’t miss Wanaka.
Here are the top things to do in Wanaka in winter!
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 New Zealand 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!
Top 5 things to do in Wanaka in Winter
1. Explore & hike around Lake Wanaka
I couldn’t wait to explore the place and if you’re like me, you just want to take in the scenery. Lake Wanaka was just the ticket.
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 as I did!
There are some BBQ’s to rent out which would be a neat idea if you’re visiting in the summertime!
There would be nothing better than putting some lamb on the grill and enjoying a few drinks at sunset with friends.
2. Try water sports and skiing
If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, there are plenty of activities to keep you occupied in Wanaka.
Kayaking, jet boats, mountaineering and even flights over the mountain tops!
You can also ski or snowboard in the largest skiable terrain in Australasia if that’s your thing.
It’s home to Cadrona and Treble Cone slopes which both offer world-class skiing surrounded by amazing landscapes and scenery.
3. Eat at Kai Whakapai
There were so many impressive cafes, restaurants and bars in the area which would be perfect for your Apres-Ski get together.
They were always so busy which made for some great atmosphere.
Out of all the eateries on offer, 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!
4. Sample fish at BoaBoa Food Company
If you’re after sampling some famous kiwi fish and chips while you’re there, go visit the BoaBoa Food company. This is also near the lakefront.
Incredibly popular with the locals; the guys in there are super friendly and cook up fresh fish daily.
5. Watch a movie at quirky the Cinema Paradiso
Out of all the top things to do in Wanaka in winter, this is the best.
The thing I loved most about Wanaka was the 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 their many sofas in the theatre, just like you would at home.
They also have cars to sit in and my personal favourite was a retro dentist chair!
They sell mouth-watering white chocolate, milk chocolate and triple choc cookies in halftime if you’re peckish. Or, you can treat yourself to a little glass of wine as you watch.
Make sure you book a seat in advance as places are limited. Get there early to get the pick of the bunch.
Don’t miss a visit to Wanaka in winter!
Those are the top things to do in Wanaka in winter. As you can see, Wanaka is a 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 was at sunrise and sunset and it’s 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 Zealand’s south island!
Read more on New Zealand – my top tips for visiting Hobbiton movie set!