Wanaka is a great town, and as is Queenstown growing rapidly. Wanaka is a New Zealand town and the growth is spawned by New Zealanders making lifestyle retirement and living changes. Queens town on the other hand the growth is driven primarily by tourism growth. Wanaka is also a money town and is a favorite recreational location for the Dunedin money set.
Wanaka is a thoroughly nice place. Surrounded by vast and monolithic mountain peaks and nestled against a large lake all the water sports are on off and during summer the walking tracks (read mountain hikes) and skiing in winter makes Wanaka jump.
Every second Easter Wanaka hosts the War birds over Wanaka sky show. An event that each occasion grows and grows. This sky show is now world renown and has helped put Wanaka ‘on the map’
Wanaka also services a rural community and provides a host of high quality services, cafes and shops.
Wanaka is also the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park and the Treble Cone and Cardrona ski fields.
The present site of Wanaka was first surveyed in 1863. Settlement increased in Pembroke (the old name for Wanaka) in the 1870s because of timber milling. Tourism started in the town in 1867 with the opening of the first hotel, by Theodore Russell. Pembroke was renamed Wanaka in 1940.
Most of Wanaka’s growth has occurred in recent decades, and is a new town.
There is a lot you can do in Wanaka, so visitors need to allow three days and enjoy the all that is on offer.