Wanaka is a favourite location for tourists and locals alike. From its snow-capped mountains to the famous Lake Wanaka, wacky attractions to a wilderness of glaciers – it’s no surprise that we all keep coming back from more. If you’re thinking of visiting Wanaka or planning another trip to this truly unique spot, you may be wondering where else nearby you can venture to for a day trip. So, where are the best day trips just a short drive from Wanaka? Take a look below to find out.
Mount Aspiring National Park
A trip to Wanaka is not complete without a visit to Mount Aspiring National Park. This iconic park is renowned for being the most pristine and untouched national park in the country, with its beautiful mountain peaks and abundance of greenstone. If you want to make a quick trip through the park, you can take a short walk to the Blue Pools, where you can see deep pools of glacial blue water. This one-hour walking track will take you over cross swing bridges and boardwalks as you experience breathtaking views of the river gorge. If you are keen for a longer trip, you can hike the Rob Roy Glacier Track to experience the iconic landscape firsthand. Hikers can enjoy views of the Rob Roy glacier, stunning waterfalls and dramatic sheer rock cliffs as they take in all of the beauty that nature has to offer.
Makarora is known for being a popular stop along the Haast Pass and for good reason. Known for its walking and hiking trails, breathtaking mountains and river valleys, it is no surprise that visitors never run out of things to do in Makarora. Lovers of unique experiences can enjoy a scenic helicopter ride above the mountains as they take in the views from new heights, flying above crystal clear lakes and snow-topped peaks. If you consider yourself an adrenaline junkie, why not take a ride on a jet boat and skim across the Wilkin and Makarora river? If you would prefer something more relaxing, there are plenty of hiking trails to choose from to get your nature fix. Siberia Valley is known for its beautiful native rainforest, stunning mountain vistas and crystal-clear streams, perfect for hikers of any level.
Located just a scenic 15-minute drive from Wanaka, you will find the beauty that is Lake Hawea. If you’re looking for somewhere to relax, this may be just the place – with plenty of spots to kick back by the water as you take in the beautiful scenery. If you consider yourself more of a thrill seeker, there are plenty of activities on offer. Sportspeople rejoice – at Lake Hawea, you can enjoy kite surfing, kayaking and boating surrounded by the stunning scenery that this location is renowned for. If you would like to take in the views with a hike, follow the trail from Timaru Creek as you wander through a beautiful, beech forest all the way to a braided riverbed. Cool off afterwards with a dip in Lake Hawea to complete your day trip!