If you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of life, look no further than New Zealand’s Lake Wanaka. This pristine lake is surrounded by breathtaking mountain peaks that reach heights of up to 2,000 meters, and it is one of the few places in New Zealand where you can experience all four seasons. Whether you’re traveling on your own or with a group, in the winter or summer, there is something for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities, photography or just the calming peacefulness of nature.
In January 2016, Wanaka will host the Red Bull Defiance, a two-day, multi-sport adventure race across the Wanaka region that finishes with a 37-kilometer kayak trip across the southern portion of Lake Wanaka.
The race will help highlight one of Lake Wanaka’s most alluring activities, kayaking. The crystal clear glacier water is friendly to kayakers of all skill levels. If you start your trip from the west part of the 192 km lake, you can reach Mou Waho Island in about two hours, depending on your skill level and desired pace. Once you reach the Mou Waho, you can hike up Tyrwhitt Peak for one of the best views of the lake.
If you rather not navigate New Zealand’s fourth largest lake on your own, get a guided kayak tour check from Wanaka SUP and Sail. Owners Chris and Bex Thornton have a friendly and knowledgeable team with over 20 years of experience, and they take pride in showing guests the beauty of their home. They offer self-guided tours or guided tours that can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days
If you wish to get your kayak off the lake and into faster-moving waters, the Upper Clutha River has routes that grade from 2-3 for the casual kayakers. In the summers, you’ll find students from Queenstown training on these mild rapids and triathletes regularly use the area to train for upcoming multisport events.
Lake Wanaka is a true outdoorsman’s paradise. With awe-inspiring views around every corner and the endless trails on both land and water, Lake Wanaka will easily be one of the best trips you’ll ever take.
This feature was made possible with assistance from the Lake Wanaka Tourism Board.