72 Hours in Wanaka
Wanaka is located in the Otago region of New Zealand's South Island, close to Queenstown and the Mt Aspiring National Park. A perfect place to go all year round. Wanaka is a place that offers ample activities including various water sports, hiking and heli-bikeing in the summer. In winter Wanaka can boast access to some of New Zealand's best ski slopes, such as Cardrona and Treble cone. If anything, Wanaka has too much to offer in the way of natural beauty, activities and food (to good for anyone to pass up). The brilliant thing is you can experience it on a shoe string or an anchor line and still have an unforgettable time. Its is a place I will definitely be returning too.
Where to Stay: Almost all accommodation in Wanaka could describe its self as 'a place with a view'.
In Wanaka there are plenty of fancy hotels like Edgewater, however in my opinion its the perfect place to do a little searching on Airbnb. There's plenty of rooms or houses to be found for any budget, All of which give you views worthy of being on the front-cover of Natural Geographic. Base Wanaka is a good, cheap nights accommodation that has a central location and rooms ranging from $30 for a bunk room to $100 for a private double with an ensuite. Just in case the weathers bad it has a pretty good cinema room as well.
Where to Eat: With all the adventuring or relaxing you'll be doing, your going to be in need of lots of food, and these are the places to find it.
Its never to early for ice cream, so make a stop at Patagonia chocolates and get yourself a massive one for just $8. There are plenty of award wining flavours on offer, and in my opinion the fig & pistachio is particularly good. Don't dismay however if you're not in the mood to have a stomach full of ice cream, try a churro or handmade chocolate delight. Their churros are really very good, crisp sticks of pastry deliciousness, dip it in their dulce de leche sauce and go to heaven.
For lunch in New Zealand there is only one thing you should eat, a pie. Thankfully in Wanaka thats where Doughbin steps in making the perfect one. It has a brilliant selection of at least 15 different flavours to choose from, the vegetarian one of which was voted New Zealand's best in 2016. All of their pies are priced at an extremely reasonable $4.50.
After your long day by the lake or up a mountain, fill your belly at Big fig. They served up is fresh, vibrant food in a no nonsense way, meat and veg or just veg and salad for the non meat eating folk. A boutique cafeteria style serve that plates up slow cooked wholesome meals. Its (on tap) craft beer is golden brown and tastes like bitter honey, jabberwokey otago pale ale, drink it while watching the sky and lake light up as the sun sets behind the mountains. The beef cheeks are buttery, meaty goodness and go perfectly with either the watermelon Greek salad or sweet potato gratin, add a freshly made warm Pitta for just $2, which is just perfect for properly cleaning your plate, leaving it empty and you full with appreciation. Even their dessert's fail to disappoint, a lemon cake that deserves the word moist to be used, along with the Persian cake that has just the right hint of rose, fruit, white chocolate and gooeyness to make you cry at every crumb that falls to the floor. Big fig does with ease what many restaurant fail to do, serve up mouth- watering home style cooking which makes you actually feel at home, just a cool hip home.
What to do: As I said above Wanaka is a place you could spend months doing something different every day, yet if like me you only have a few days, these are the things you have to do.
Spend a day hiking up Roy's Peak for spectacular views of the lake and 'That Wanaka Tree' on your way to the breath-taking summit. If you're not looking to hike for 6 hours then Mt Iron is the perfect short 40 minute walk from the town. Afterwards you can visit puzzle world at its base, a one of a kind attraction that will leave you literally dizzy. If you're not into walking you can bike on the mountain trails, kayak on the peaceful lake, fly above the mountain peaks or simply just relax on the lake front.
In the evening catch a film at Paradiso cinema. The cinema shows all the latest films, with the added bonus of watching them in a car, on a sofa, or an old first class airline seat. First class is a word you could definitely use to describe the experience, as you relax with a glass of wine or beer. During the intermission grab yourself a freshly baked cookie to enjoy during the second half, don't worry about missing it either as they wont start until everyone is back.
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