Aspiring Helicopters
Aspiring Helicopters

10 Luxury Activities in Wanaka

© Aspiring Helicopters

Luxurious Experiences in Wanaka

For many of us, travelling to a stunning alpine town like Wanaka is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Make the most of your time in the picturesque lakeside town by indulging in the once-in-a-lifetime experiences to match. There are a ton of ways to take in the incredible landscapes, from helicopter excursions to 4WD experiences. Wanaka also provides the opportunity to try something new, like paragliding over majestic waterfalls or flyfishing in Wanaka’s serene rivers and lakes. Of course, there’s always the opportunity to indulge in culinary experiences with wine tasting tours and mountaintop picnics. Find out more about our favourite experiences in this list of luxury activities in Wanaka.

While you’re here, you might also be interested in The Luxury Guide to Wanaka and The Luxury Travel Guide to New Zealand.

1. Taste Central Otago Wine on a Winery-hopping Tour

Wanaka is one of the towns within the acclaimed Central Otago wine region. Learn all about it on one of the fantastic Wanaka wine tours. For instance, join Wanaka Wine Tours and visit four boutique wineries to taste award-winning varietals and indulge in a gourmet food and wine-matching experience. Find out more about Wanaka Wine Tours on Viator and Tripadvisor. Alternatively, WanaHaka offers winery tours with a Maori twist! More details on the tour are available on Viator and Tripadvisor. Plus, learn more about the wines of the area in the 5 Best Wineries in Wanaka.

Pixabay© Pixabay

2. See Milford Sound in Style on a Scenic Flight

See one of New Zealand’s most breathtaking natural attractions in style with a scenic flight from Wanaka. The Glacier Flight & Cruise experience with Siberia Experience takes you on a 45-minute flight, observing epic glaciers, alpine lakes and untouched forest of a UNESCO World Heritage Area. After landing in Milford Sound, you’ll board a cruise of the majestic fiord and look out for seals, dolphins and penguins before returning to Wanaka by plane. Check out the flight details on Viator and Tripadvisor.

Southern Alps Air© Southern Alps Air

3. Experience the Stunning Vistas of the Cardrona Valley on Horseback

Explore the stunning landscapes surrounding Wanaka on a beautiful horse with The Cardrona. Head out on horseback into the New Zealand countryside, seeing historical places, passing through a working cattle station, traversing rivers and soaking in the marvellous vistas of alpine valleys. The ride includes a stop by the historic Cardrona Hotel for a complimentary beverage before returning back to base along the Cardrona River. Learn more about the horse trek on Viator and Tripadvisor. Plus, see more amazing horse treks in 11 Awesome Horse Treks in New Zealand.

The Cardrona Horse Trek© The Cardrona Horse Trek

4. Treat Yourself to One of the Fine Dining Experiences in Wanaka

If you’re looking for a place to dine for a special occasion or “just because”, then check out some of the fine dining experiences in Wanaka. Experience French gastronomy at Bistro Gentil, which soaks in gorgeous views of the surrounding gardens and mountains. Dine on New Zealand produce, such as Cardrona merino lamb, Aoraki salmon and Canter Valley duck prepared in a French style. Alternatively, Ode Conscious Dining in Wanaka town centre creates works of art on your plate. Divulge in set menus and eight-course degustation experiences of artsy and super flavourful combos. What’s more, there’s are fantastic vegan menus available – see Vegetarian Travel Guide to New Zealand for more advice.

Pixabay© Pixabay

5. Enjoy Wanaka’s Most Exclusive Picnic Spot on a 4WD Tour

Learn about Wanaka’s unusual deer farming history and soak in the marvellous views on a 4WD tour with Criffel Station. The tour departs from Crossfire, taking you onto a family-run deer station boasting gorgeous vistas of the Wanaka Basin. Ascend to a staggering 1,300m (4,265ft) above sea level where you’ll enjoy a gourmet morning or afternoon tea along with unbeatable views. Along the way, spot majestic deer and learn about Wanaka’s gold mining history from your expert guide. Find out more about the 4WD experience on Viator and Tripadvisor.

Criffel Station© Criffel Station

6. Spend Some Time in the Serene Wilderness on a Full-day Flyfishing Tour

Experience one of New Zealand’s favourite past times with a day of flyfishing with Traveltruly Fly Fishing. The day-long fishing excursion has you experiencing Wanaka’s surrounding lakes, creeks and rivers to fish for brown and rainbow trout. You’ll have an expert flyfishing guide to show you the ropes and share a wealth of local knowledge, as well as provide access to all fly fishing equipment, lunch and drinks, as well as time in the serene Wanaka wilderness. Check out Traveltruly Fly Fishing on Viator and Tripadvisor.

Traveltruly Fly Fishing© Traveltruly Fly Fishing

7. Take a Personal Tour of the World of Deer Museum

See an impressive collection of deer antlers grown by stud animals in the local area at the World of Deer Museum. The museum celebrates all things “deer” with world record antlers and education on Wanka’s deer farming industry. Amp up the experience with a personal tour of the museum with the museum’s host and stud deer farmer. What’s more, this activity is a great back-up for when the weather isn’t playing ball! Find out more about the World of Deer Museum on Viator and Tripadvisor.

World of Deer Museum© World of Deer Museum

8. Cruise Lake Wanaka, Travel by 4WD and Enjoy an Island Walk on a Wanaka Nature Encounter Tour

Enjoy a full day out experiencing Wanaka in three ways with Ridgeline Adventures. Their Wanaka Nature Encounter tour includes a 4WD excursion on private roads, exploring a historic farming station and stopping by rolling meadows and ancient forest. The tour also takes you a scenic lake cruise to Mou Wahou Island where you’ll have the opportunity to spot rare birds and enjoy commanding views with “high tea” atop the island. Learn more about Ridgeline Adventures and their tours on Viator and Tripadvisor.

Ultimate Wanaka© Ultimate Wanaka

9. Land on a Glacier with a Helicopter Tour

Many of Wanaka’s surrounding alpine landscapes can only be accessed by helicopter. The 35-minute helicopter flight with Aspiring Helicopters flies from the Matukituki Valley just outside of Wanaka to a 2,134m (7,000ft) glacier in the Mt Aspiring National Park. Along the way, you’ll get a birds-eye-view of majestic mountains and learn about this unique area from your pilot. What’s more, you will be with a small group for a more exclusive experience. Find out more about flights with Aspiring Helicopters on Viator and Tripadvisor.

Aspiring Helicopters© Aspiring Helicopters

10. Try Out Paragliding to See the Wanaka Scenery in a Unique Way

Last but certainly not least, rise above the mountains, pastures and rivers on one of the most underrated adventure activities in New Zealand: paragliding. Soar over waterfalls with your choice of a gentle ascent or exciting aerobatics. You’ll be strapped to a pilot who will take care of everything, all you need to do is take a few easy steps and enjoy. Book this experience with Wanaka Paragliding on Viator or Tripadvisor. Learn more about this sport in 5 Breathtaking Places to Try Paragliding in New Zealand.

Wanaka Paragliding© Wanaka Paragliding

More About Wanaka

That’s it for the best luxury activities in Wanaka. Find even more tips to make your luxury getaway exceptional in The Luxury Travel Guide to New Zealand.


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

Was this article useful?

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter

Recommended For You