Wanaka3.5 out of 5 based on 3 reviews
  • Recommend
    67%
  • Would Revisit
    67%
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Lake Wanaka New Zealand
Lake Wanaka New Zealand
Lake Wanaka - NZ Ski Town
Lake Wanaka - NZ Ski Town
Hitchhikers Heading to Cardrona
Hitchhikers Heading to Cardrona
Wanaka New Zealand
Wanaka New Zealand
Treble Cone, Wanaka Ski Field
Treble Cone, Wanaka Ski Field
Treble Cone Ski Field near Wanaka
Treble Cone Ski Field near Wanaka
Cardrona Ski Field Near Wanaka NZ
Cardrona Ski Field Near Wanaka NZ
Heli Skiing Wanaka
Heli Skiing Wanaka
Heli Ski Wanaka: Harris Mountains Heliski
Heli Ski Wanaka: Harris Mountains Heliski
Heli Ski Wanaka
Heli Ski Wanaka
Southern Lakes Heliski Wanaka
Southern Lakes Heliski Wanaka
Wanaka NZ
Wanaka NZ
Wanaka NZ
Wanaka NZ
Wanaka
Wanaka
Wanaka New Zealand
Wanaka New Zealand
Lake Wanaka New Zealand
Lake Wanaka New Zealand
Gorgeous Lake Wanaka
Gorgeous Lake Wanaka
Wanaka NZ
Wanaka NZ
View from Wanaka Accommodation
View from Wanaka Accommodation
Wanaka Ski Town
Wanaka Ski Town

Wanaka

Ski Wanaka New Zealand

With a couple of Wanaka ski fields within close proximity and some great heli skiing nearby, Lake Wanaka is a fabulous ski town. Other than the Wanaka skiing, a major attraction is the lake, which makes it a picturesque and tranquil place. The town is nestled along the shores of Lake Wanaka, and views abound across the lake to Mt Aspiring, the Matterhorn of New Zealand. When you gaze across Lake Wanaka on a still day, you would swear you are seeing double as you take in the reflections on the water.

Wanaka is a place of contradictions and finds the perfect balance between being low-key and upmarket. The architecture is modern and stylish, as are some of the trendy people that grace the caffe latte establishments, yet there is also a grungy scene. It doesn’t have the tourist hype seen in Queenstown, and Wanaka still manages to retain the feel of a relaxed ski town.

Where is Wanaka NZ?

Wanaka (pronounced Wonaka) is the gateway to the Mt Aspiring National Park and is located 428km SW of Christchurch, and 68km NE (about 1 hour) of Queenstown on the South Island of New Zealand.

Wanaka Ski Fields

Treble Cone is one of the Wanaka ski resorts, located 26km northwest of town (a 30-35 minute drive). Treble Cone is particularly well suited to advanced to expert riders – see our Treble Cone review for more information.

The other main Wanaka ski field is Cardrona, which is 34km southwest of town. Cardrona has great terrain parks and good terrain for beginner to advanced riders.

On the opposite side of Cardrona Valley from Cardrona Ski Resort is Snowfarm, a cross country skiing area.

Heli Skiing Wanaka

Wanaka is also home to two of the biggest New Zealand heli skiing outfits, Harris Mountains Heliski and Southern Lakes Heliski, with vast terrain in the mountain ranges near Treble Cone and north of Lake Wanaka. Both companies have a fairly similar offering but you can check out our reviews regarding the subtle differences.

Wanaka Accommodation

Wanaka accommodation is of very high quality, and there is great diversity in the type of lodging available. In addition to a few resort hotels, Wanaka has 5-star luxurious bed and breakfast retreats, inexpensive motels, and a range of backpackers. Some of the accommodation is in the centre of town, located along the shores of Lake Wanaka, or a short walk or drive out of town. See the Wanaka accommodation page for more information.

Wanaka Accom Listings

Activities

Whilst Wanaka is much more understated than the crazy Queenstown, there are still various Wanaka activities on offer besides skiing and snowboarding. The Wanaka area has a few adventure pursuits as well as lots of R and R activities such as day spas, wineries, or a cruise on Lake Wanaka.

There are also a plethora of Wanaka restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs to suit all entertainment tastes. Wanaka shopping is also pretty good, especially if you’re in the market for a new ski or snowboard outfit.

Ski Wanaka NZ – Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The Wanaka ski fields are better than the Queenstown ski resorts (hence why some people staying in Queenstown make the trek to get to Cardrona and Treble Cone).
  • Wanaka skiing is less afflicted by the weather compared to Mt Hutt near Methven.
  • Heli skiing makes a fabulous adjunct to your Wanaka ski holiday.
  • The town has a cosmopolitan flair whilst retaining a chilled out vibe.
  • Looking out across Lake Wanaka and the snow capped mountains is stunning.

Cons

  • Like other NZ ski towns, there’s no ski-in ski-out accommodation and you’ll have a daily commute to the ski resorts.

Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective

  • Wanaka is more subdued than Queenstown. It’s not crazy busy like Queenstown, and the nightlife is quieter and there are less activities on offer.

Tours That May Include Wanaka

Safari (Road Trip) Tours
South Island Snow Safari DETAILS
FULLY HOSTED & GUIDED ROAD TRIP
7 Days | 6 Nights | 6 Skiing | 6 Resorts
From price based on multi-share "lift only" package.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,295
Ability: Beginner, Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced
This 7 day adventure is ideal for the young at heart who want to pack in as much skiing and fun as possible into a single week. You will visit up to 6 of NZ's great ski areas with professional guides who will get you to the best skiing in each of the locations.
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South Island Snow Odyssey DETAILS
FULLY HOSTED & GUIDED ROAD TRIP
12 Days | 11 Nights | 9 Days Skiing | 8 Resorts
From price based on quad share option.
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,159
Ability: Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced
Explore 8 mountains over 12 action packed days that take your far away from the commercial ski fields of Queenstown. The Odyssey tour includes the following mountains: Porter Heights, Mt Olympus, Temple Basin, Craigieburn, Broken River, Mt Dobson, Ohau and Treble Cone.
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Mint Wanaka & Ohau Tour DETAILS
FULLY HOSTED & GUIDED TOUR
8 Days | 7 Nights | 4-5 Days Riding
From price based on twin/double-share option.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,519
Ability: Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced
Spend 3 days riding at Cardrona and Treble Cone before heading up to Ohau to visit what Danny Davis says is “The best club field in the world!”. It's not actually a club field but after 2 days riding here you’ll understand what he's raving about! Low crowds, big terrain and pristine vistas; what more could you want?
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Wanaka here
Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours
Progression Packages - Wanaka DETAILS
PROGRESSION TOURS - WANAKA
8- Day Package With or Without Accommodation
From price based on twin/double-share in a 1 bedroom apartment for 8-day package.
Base/invoice currency is in AUD inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 2,101
Ability: Beginner, Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced
Take your skiing & boarding to a new level whether it be on or off-piste, on the bumps, in powder or in the terrain park. Based in Wanaka, New Zealand.
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Wanaka Family Hosted Package DETAILS
FULLY HOSTED & SEMI GUIDED
7 Nights | 4 Days Skiing
From price based on silver package 2 Adults + 2 Children (8-17) .
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,080
Ability: Beginner, Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced
Take the hassle out of your NZ ski holiday this year by joining a fully hosted & guided tour. Choose from 3 levels of accommodation to suit your budget. No driving, no organising stuff, just relax & enjoy your holiday!
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Queenstown Family Hosted Package DETAILS
FULLY HOSTED & SEMI GUIDED
8 Days | 7 Nights | 4 Days Skiing
From price based on silver package 2 Adults + 2 Children (8 -17) .
Base/invoice currency is in NZD.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,080
Ability: Beginner, Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced
Take the hassle out of your NZ family ski holiday this year by joining a fully hosted & guided tour. Choose from 3 levels of accommodation to suit your budget. No driving, no organizing stuff, just relax & enjoy your holiday!
More
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Wanaka here
Heli Skiing Tours
Harris Mountains Queenstown Wanaka DETAILS
DAY HELISKIING QUEENSTOWN & WANAKA
Packages from 3 to 7 runs
From price based on Experience 3-run package (per person).
Base/invoice currency is in NZD inclusive of tax.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 713
Ability: Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced, Expert
If you are visiting Queenstown or Wanaka don't miss the opportunity to experience some of New Zealand's best heli skiing with Harris Mountains Heliski. Packages are either 3, 4 or 7 runs with the options to purchase additional runs on the day.
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Southern Lakes Day Heli Skiing DETAILS
DAY HELISKIING QUEENSTOWN & WANAKA
Packages: 4, 6 or 8 runs
From price based on 4-run package (per person).
Base/invoice currency is in NZD in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 716
EARLY BIRD: Book for dates in July or September & pay by June 30, 2016 and get 15% off advertised prices
Ability: Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced, Expert
Southern Lakes Heliskiing offers day heli skiing packages in the Queenstown & Wanaka areas. With 11 mountains, 600 runs spread across 8,500 square kms there is plenty of variety to keep you entertained.
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Harris Mountains Mt Cook DETAILS
DAY HELISKIING MT COOK
Packages include 5 runs & flights from QT or Wanaka
From price based on Mt Cook Classic 5-run package inc flight from Queenstown or Wanaka (per person).
Base/invoice currency is in NZD inclusive of tax.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
Price p/p
USD 1,127
Ability: Intermediate, Strong Intermediate, Advanced, Expert
If you are visiting Queenstown or Wanaka & want to experience heli skiing at Mt Cook, Harris Mountains Heliski operate day heli packages to Mt Cook including a breathtaking scenic flight to/from Queenstown/Wanaka/Mt Cook. Packages include 5 runs with the option to purchase *additional runs on the day.
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See all Heli Skiing tours that visit Wanaka here