Lake Wanaka is the perfect place to relax after a few days walking. It’s also the perfect place to exhaust yourself some more with some gorgeous hikes, but I’ll get onto that later! The day we arrived in Wanaka, we’d woken up at 5:30 to do the gorgeous Hooker Valley Hike over at Aoraki / Mount Cook village. That meant, that although we’d already been up for hours and walked on some beautiful hikes, we still arrived before lunch! But, what an beautiful place to find yourself at lunchtime! This was our first view of Lake Wanaka. It’s so pretty!
We stayed by Lake Wanaka for two nights so we had plenty of time to walk along its shores and try plenty of the local restaurants. I’ll share our best finds below.
First Views of Lake Wanaka
We were slightly too early to check in to our hotel, so we went for a walk along Lake Wanaka’s shore, to the center of Wanaka, looking for something tasty to eat. The shores of the lake were covered in small pebbles, but it is still a lovely beach! We arrived on a pretty warm day and the water was lovely! It is a pretty touristy area, so if you fancy watersports as well as swimming, everything is available!
The lake is pretty shallow near Wanaka, so you can wade in quite far, and the water will still only reach your knees. This means it is a really good place for families with young children that want to learn to swim. We saw sooo many happy children plating in the lake’s waves. There is also plenty of space for sunbathers (although it can’t be particularly comfy to lay on the pebbles!) I personally wouldn’t reccomend sunbathing in the Kiwi sun. It is incredibly easy to get burned here, and I saw quite a few lobster-like people who must not have used quite enough sun cream!
I loved the views over to Roy’s Peak, as this was the mountain we planned to climb the following morning. You can see it will be a decent walk from the level of the lake!
The Wanaka Tree
My research (as always) mainly involved the best hikes in the area, so I didn’t know much about Wanaka itself. Early in the afternoon we wandered past a pretty tree growing at the edge of the lake. I didn’t think any more about it until we came past later to see hordes of people (and a man with a piano) getting ready to take photos of this tree at sunset!
I looked it up later, and it turns out this is New Zealand’s most famous tree. Apparently it is all over instagram, has it’s own facebook page and there are always people there to capture how pretty it is!
Tasty food In Wanaka
In addition to the pretty scenery, the other really good thing about Wanaka is the fantastic food! We used yelp (plus reading menus and seeing how busy places looked) to find good food here. As I really enjoyed our choices, I figured I should share them in case my blogging friends visit the area.
This was our first stop for lunch when we arrived in Wanaka. It was a hot day, and both felt like something light. We shared some prawn skewers with noodles and a lentil burger. Each dish was fresh, full of flavour and soooo good. The things we saw brought to other tables looked tasty too.
We popped into Shinaburo on our first evening just as the sun was setting. The restaurant is HOT in the summer sun, but the food was tasty, so we managed to cope with the heat. The staff are Japanese, but they serve some pretty decent Korean food. If I went back, I’d probably order a meaty bibimbap (as the prawns were not that impressive.) The best dishes were the GIANT mussels and the Korean Fried Chicken.
On our way to Shinaburo we noticed this hipster-looking restaurant was really busy, so we came back the following day after our long hike. We’d used up so much energy that we needed some good pub food, and that is what we received. The best things here were blue cod sliders and a side dish of broccoli and dukkha. They have s god selection of beers and pimms too!
Just be aware if you are from the UK, the pimms isn’t quite right – they swap cucumber for lemon, so it doesn’t quite have the summery flavour I was hoping for.
One final place that I have to mention is the Black Peak Gelato. I tried the chocolate and Rocky Road gelato. We took our ice-creams and ate them on the beach looking out at the beautiful views of Lake Wanaka. Om nom nom.
Sunset over Lake Wanaka
This was the view we enjoyed with our ice-cream. The clouds looked like they have been painted by someone who likes fake-looking clouds. They were sort of bubbly and beautiful.
Once we had walked back around as far as the Wanaka tree, we found a man with a piano serenading a group of photographers. Lake Wanaka did look amazing with those crazy clouds, but I am not sure why so many people wanted to be in this one particular spot, I mean, the views were gorgeous in all directions!
I thought the views in the opposite direction, over to Roy’s Peak were even better as the sun lit up the sky like pink fire.
Lake Wanaka views from Roy’s Peak
The next gorgeous Kiwi walk I’d like to write about is Roy’s Peak. It might take me a while to choose pictures and write about it as I took soooo many photos! For now, here is a sneak peak of the views of Lake Wanaka from half way up the mountain.
Click on the following link if you like the look of this and want other ideas for New Zealand Adventures.