General information about Wanaka, including how to get there, driving distances and times, activities and attractions, and a map of Wanaka.
Wanaka is a town located on the South Island of New Zealand, approximately 428 km (266 mi) from Christchurch, 67 km (42 mi) from Queenstown, and 256 km (159 mi) from Lake Tekapo.
In 2013, there were about 6,471 people living in Wanaka, so compared to Christchurch, which has a population of 341,469, Wanaka is a very small town.
It also has a very different look and feel compared to Queenstown or Tekapo, which are also lakeside towns.
How to get to Wanaka
You can get to Wanaka by road. So you must either hire a car or catch a bus to be able to get to Wanaka.
While Wanaka has an airport for scenic and charter flights, there are no commercial flights to it. However, you can fly to Queenstown airport, which is the closest international airport and then drive or catch a bus to Wanaka.
You can drive to Wanaka from Queenstown via the Cardrona Valley, from Cromwell, for example, after driving from Queenstown to Cromwell, from Lake Hawea and the West Coast, or from Lindis Pass.
The following table displays driving times and distances to a few selected places around Wanaka.
Note that all driving times and distances have been calculated by Google.
|Lake Hawea||17 minutes (17.15 km / 10.65 mi)|
|Cromwell||39 minutes (54.08 km / 33.6 mi)|
|Arrowtown||52 minutes (54.26 km / 33.72 mi) via Cardrona|
|Makarora||53 minutes (64.23 km / 39.91 mi)|
|Queenstown||1 hour and 5 minutes (67.21 km / 41.76 mi) via Cardrona|
|Haast||1 hour and 44 minutes (141.87 km / 88.16 mi)|
|Mount Cook Village||2 hours and 18 minutes (199.46 km / 123.94 mi)|
|Lake Tekapo||2 hours and 18 minutes (200.57 km / 124.63 mi)|
|Dunedin||3 hours and 6 minutes (253.84 km / 157.73 mi)|
|Fox Glacier||3 hours and 7 minutes (262.35 km / 163.01 mi)|
|Franz Josef Glacier||3 hours and 31 minutes (285.4 km / 177.34 mi)|
|Christchurch||5 hours and 10 minutes (427.91 km / 265.89 mi)|
Wanaka attractions and activities
The big attractions in Wanaka are Lake Wanaka and the mountains around Lake Wanaka.
In spring, summer, and autumn, Lake Wanaka serves for activities on the water (cruising, jet boating, fishing, watersports, etc.), while the mountains serve for hiking (for example, Mount Roy and Diamond Lake) and activities in the air (scenic flights, skydiving, paragliding, etc.)
In winter, the mountains (especially Treble Cone ski area), serve for activities on the snow (skiing, snowboarding, etc.).
In addition, if you want to see fall foliage in New Zealand, Wanaka (and nearby Glendhu Bay and the Matukituki River) is a good place to see autumn color.
Wanaka is only about one hour away from the Makarora Valley where you can drive on the Haast Highway to visit attractions such as Blue Pools, Fantail Falls, and Thunder Creek Falls.
Due to a change in Google’s terms, maps have had to be removed from this website. You must now visit the Google Maps website to see the map of Wanaka.
This article falls under Maps.
Note: This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm all details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.