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Things to Do in Wanaka

This small, but lively resort town serves as the gateway to World Heritage Area, Mt Aspiring National Park and New Zealand's fourth-largest lake. Whether you’re looking for peace and quiet or adventures, a long list of options is waiting, and most come with lake and mountain views.

With four distinct seasons, comes changing scenery and changing activities to enjoy in the area. In the summer water activities like boating, kayaking, fishing and swimming take center stage. Fall offers perfect conditions for hiking and biking, while skiers and snowboarders count the days to winter. Spring offers a great combination of spring skiing, biking and exploring trails.

Movie fans visiting for the first time may experience a strong sense of déjà vu. The area around Lake Wanaka and Mt Aspiring National Park is also home to a number of film locations for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
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Lake Wanaka
19 Tours and Activities

The town of Wanaka is a lakeside escape that drifts by under the radar—nowhere as busy as neighboring Queenstown, but arguably even more scenic. Rung by the mountains of Mt. Aspiring National Park, Wanaka also cradles Lake Wanaka inside of its river valley, where boating, kayaking, and standup paddling are popular summer activities. Imagine casually paddling a kayak beneath the Southern Alps, or parasailing in a canopy of silence while gazing toward hanging glaciers.

Of all the adventures you’ll find on Lake Wanaka, perhaps the quirkiest is a half-day tour to explore Mou Wahou Island. This offshore bird sanctuary is not only known for its wealth and diversity of bird life, but also the fact that it’s small lake, known as Arethusa Pool, is a lake on an island in a lake on an island that’s surrounded by the Pacific. Activities and offshore islands aside, Lake Wanaka is also popular for just swimming, since the shallow areas at the shore of the lake can reach as high as 65°F on the warmest days of summer.

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