10 Best Things To Do In Wanaka, NZ - Updated 2023

| 4 min read

Find out about the best things to do in Wanaka, NZ below:

If you’ve decided to plan a trip to beautiful New Zealand, then you won’t want to miss Wanaka, located on the North Island, this city is full of adventure, restaurants and cafes with traditional New Zealand cuisine, natural pools with crystal blue waters, and of course, icy white slopes. Here are a few ideas to put on your itinerary while you are in Wanaka, New Zealand!

1. Puzzling world

Stuart Landsboroughs Puzzling World, Wanaka, New Zealand (3423396519)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Alex Proimos used under CC BY 2.0

Definitely a fun place for absolutely everyone! Puzzling World will keep children and adults happy for hours! Located in this beautiful location of Wanaka, Puzzling World is worth the trip to New Zealand all on it’s own! Interesting rooms, buildings and illusions that will leave you mesmerized for hours, and will leave a lasting impression on you for years. While you’re here, be sure to try the world famous maze, and when you’re done feeling completely perplexed, there is a café and shops to relax in. If you are anywhere within the vicinity of New Zealand… be sure to visit Puzzling World.

Puzzling World

Address: 188 Wanaka-Luggate Hwy, Wanaka 9382, New Zealand

Website: Puzzling World

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2. Ski the Alps

Mount Olympus ski resort, south, Canterbury, New Zealand
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user LawrieM used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

New Zealand is well known for having world class skiing. You will have the opportunity to participate in skiing, heliskiing, snowboarding, tubing and snowshoeing along the incredible South New Zealand Alps! Such an exotic adventure; top rated ski schools are also available in the area. You will find plenty of shops and restaurants, and If you’re truly looking for an outstanding adventure be sure to purchase your pass and lift tickets for Mt Ruapehu. This is an opportunity to ski over an active volcano, however it is 16 hours from Wanaka located in the Central North Island, but the trip over could be well worth considering!

Ski the Alps

Website: Ski The Alps

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3. Stunning Caves and Canyons

Shotover Jet, Jet Boating the Shotover River Canyons, Queenstown, New Zealand
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Alex Proimos used under CC BY 2.0

New Zealand, and Wanaka in particular, is known for it’s selection of natural caves and canyons. Visitors have the option of exploring the land formations and stunning underground displays of natural beauty as well as canyoning! If you crave adventure, then canyoning will have everything you could wish for. Climb down waterfalls, swish along the canyon rocks and jump into the natural crystal clear pools of New Zealand. Perhaps the greatest way to truly experience nature is to become a part of it, and canyoning is the perfect activity to experience the nature, views and adventure all in one!

Stunning Caves and Canyons

Website: Wanaka Caves Experience

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4. Shopping / Restaurants

Source: Photo by user studio tdes used under CC BY 2.0

One of my favorite activities while traveling is stopping at cafes and restaurants. It is by far, the best way to experience a culture, not to mention the cuisine! Wanaka is no exception with a plethora of options for dining, or to watch the world go by at the local coffee shop. New Zealand’s authentic cuisine is derived from the Native Maori, with British, Mediterranean and Polynesian influence, with the most popular dishes consisting of Lamb and Green Shell Mussels.

Shopping / Restaurants

Website: Wanaka Shops

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5. Paradiso Cinemas

Wanaka, New Zealand has a knack for the weird and wonderful not only for the aforementioned brain teasing Puzzling World, but also for a cinema that everyone should experience at least once. Paradiso Cinemas has a quirky interior with comfortable sofas and an old car right inside the theatre to sit in. This is the epitome of classic theaters, showing modern day movies. Paradiso Cinemas also has a bar, and a restaurant where you can order some delicious munchies throughout the duration of the movie. The restaurant serves ‘everything’; burgers, pasta, salads, nachos, pizza and more… This is definitely a place you will want to arrive at early so you can take in the ambiance prior to the screening.

Paradiso Cinemas

Address: 72 Brownston St, Wanaka 9434, New Zealand

Website: Paradiso Cinemas

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6. Blue Pools at Haast Pass

Blue Pools
Source: Photo by user Tomas Sobek used under CC BY 2.0

A venue that is literally picture perfect for a post-card, located along the Southern Alps of New Zealand, the Blue Pools at Haast Pass offer the most incredible scenery of naturally beautiful sparkling turquoise pools. Several trails to choose from where you can explore the Blue Pools, water falls and grand rapids. Stop at one of the suspension bridges for a scenic photo opportunity while enjoying these stunning glacial waters..

Blue Pools at Haast Pass

Address: Haast Pass-Makarora Rd, Mt Aspiring National Park 9382, New Zealand

Website: Blue Pools at Haast Pass

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7. Mount Aspiring National Park

Haast River in Mount Aspiring National Park 01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Krzysztof Golik used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Mount Aspiring National Park is an absolutely inspiring destination! Offering glaciers, mountains and lakes this National Park is part of the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Site. Definitely a beautiful location to spend the day with much to see and do, not to mention that Mount Aspiring National Park was one of the locations in the filming of ‘Lord of the Rings’!

Mount Aspiring National Park

Address: South Island 9382, New Zealand

Website: Mount Aspiring National Park

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8. Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka
Source: Needpix

A perfect place to take in all that Wanaka has to offer, Lake Wanaka is a beautiful location within the Otago region of New Zealand. Visitors will want to stop and just take in the incredibly fresh air, and scenic beauty, perhaps even bring a picnic! Several pathways to stroll along, or if you prefer; Kayaking and Paddle Boarding are also available, but either way… the views are positively breathtaking!

Lake Wanaka

Located At: Queenstown-Lakes District, Otago, South Island

Website: Lake Wanaka

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9. National Transport and Toy Museum

NZ260315 Wanaka AN-2 LY-AKH 01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Oren Rozen used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Yet another unique place to see here at Wanaka! The National Transport and Toy Museum is a museum with plenty of old cars for avid car collectors, and antique collectible toy collectors! Located within several buildings, this museum is a dream come true for car, model and collectible toy enthusiasts!

National Transport and Toy Museum

Address: 891 Wanaka-Luggate Hwy, RD 2, Wanaka 9382, New Zealand

Website: National Transport and Toy Museum

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10. Classic Wanaka Wine Tour (from USD 204.0)

Vineyards and wineries are plentiful in New Zealand, and tours are the perfect way to take it all in. Viator has excellent Wine Tour options that will take you through four award winning vineyards for your tasting delight! You will meet with wine connoisseurs and vineyard owners learning the professional secrets of gourmet food and wine pairing. Definitely a tour that welcomes wine lovers of all connoisseur levels!

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Classic Wanaka Wine Tour

Duration: 6 hours 30 minutes

38 reviews

A wonderful time in Wanaka!

This is a town that has a little something for everyone! Imagine… life size puzzles, a giant toy and transport museum, sofas in a movie theatre…. skiing and caves all in one place! New Zealand is an absolutely beautiful destination, it is a gem on the pacific, and Wanaka is the jewel of North Island, definitely a trip worth taking!

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Kathy Lum is from Vancouver, Canada. She loves being Canadian, and greatly enjoys calling herself a freelance writer! She not only enjoys travel writing but with a background in psychology, she...Read more

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