7. Wanaka

The town of Wanaka is notable for a number of reasons. For one, it gets a whole page dedicated to it here. For another, I'm sure it must be hard to work out the pronunciation from the spelling - and that isn't just on account of the strange things the Kiwis do with their vowels. It's something like “won-er-ka”.

Regardless, I arrived there around 8pm, and camera in hand made it off down to look at the lakefront.

Lake Wanaka
Wanaka: Living with a view

Another notable thing about the town is that it has a pretty lake, set neatly among the tall mountain peaks. I enjoyed beautiful weather both in the evening and the morning there, and I get the impression that unlike some other parts of NZ, this isn't such an uncommon experience.

Well, it doesn't have quite the intensity of appeal in the setting as does Queenstown, as the mountains are a bit more distant, and the waterfront is more open, but the township itself still has an air of innocence. It just feels a pleasant and relaxed place to be. It's more a spot for the eco-tourist than the thrill-seeker.

Water fun, Wanaka


With the long hours of daylight, its hard to keep up with seeing both sunsets and sunrise. As a result I wasn't up for the first light, but was out at the lake in time to see the sun make it up over the mountains.

It was calm. It was quiet. The air was crisp, and the water was reflecting like a lightly rippled mirror. In the distance there was still a bit of white of snow on the mountain tops, but being late January, this was greatly diminished.

At that early hour of the morning there was a bit of activity going on. A lone kayaker glided across the water, and a few people in campervans parked by the waterfront were getting up for the day. The yes, there were also the birds,.. getting around doing the things that birds do.

Sunrise toward Mt Aspiring
Wanaka Waterfront

After spending some time walking around the waterfront, it was time to get back and have some breakfast before getting back on the road again for another day of travelling. Before leaving town though, I paid a visit to an ATM to replenish my fast dwindling cash supplies, and then to the fuel station to deplete them again.

By that time the town was waking up for the morning, but I would be well on my way out to the west coast before it became active and alive.

Lake Wanaka
Wanaka Waterfront

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