Food Activities in Wanaka
Welcome to Wanaka! Not only is this a skiing hub in the winter and a mountain biking mecca in summer, but it’s a foodie’s paradise! The small town has a big food scene, being home to creative artisans, a wealth of wineries and a few microbreweries. Experience the Central Otago town through its tastes with these recommended things to do in Wanaka for foodies!
While you’re here, you might also be interested in The Foodie Guide to Wanaka.
1. Do a Winery-hopping Tour
Did you know that Wanaka is part of a wine region? There are five wonderful wineries in the Wanaka area, which are easy to visit independently using our 5 Best Wineries in Wanaka article or opt for a designated driver combined with local knowledge on one of the wine tours. Wanaka Wine Tours offers a tour to four boutique wineries to taste award-winning varietals and indulge a gourmet food and wine-matching experience. Find out more about Wanaka Wine Tours on Viator and Tripadvisor. A fantastic alternative is the unique Maori culture and wine tour with WanaHaka. Part of the day is dedicated to visiting the local wineries and vineyards of the land, while the other part is learning about the indigenous Maori who have lived on the lands for generations. More details on the tour are available on Viator and Tripadvisor.
2. Visit the Wanaka Artisan Market
Free Thursday afternoon? Make a visit to the Wanaka Artisan Market to sample (and inevitably buy) handmade chocolates, cakes, bread, craft beer, roasted chestnuts and mulled wine in winter, and so much more! The local market takes place every Thursday afternoon running into the early evening by Bullock Creek near the Speight’s Ale House. The market can also be found alongside the Arts & Crafts market on some Sundays during summer.
3. Take a Trike or Horse Trek to Historic Pubs
The Cardrona Hotel is a must for any foodie travelling between Wanaka and Queenstown, but getting there is all part of the experience. Join Wanaka Trike Tours for their Historic Pub Tour, taking you through some exquisite scenery over the Crown Range, the Kawarau Valley and the Cromwell Basin. The tour also includes a stop by the Gibbston Tavern. Find out more on Viator and Tripadvisor. Alternatively, horse trek through New Zealand countryside to the Cardrona Hotel with The Cardrona where a complimentary drink is included. More information is available on Viator and Tripadvisor. Plus, see more activities like this in 11 Awesome Horse Treks in New Zealand.
4. Pick Up Some Sweet Treats at One of the Speciality Stores
Wanaka is certainly an excellent place to try some naughty treats. Get a selection of artisan chocolates from Patagonia Chocolates on Admore Street, indulge in homemade gelato at Black Peak Gelato also on Ardmore Street. Finally, stop by the Charlie Brown Crepes food truck on Brownstone Street for sweet and savoury French crepes on the go.
5. Tour a Microbrewery
Wanaka also has a craft brewery scene, best experienced at Wanaka Beerworks. Learn how the good stuff is made in their microbrewery tour, from the ingredients used all the way to the bottling process. The Tasting Room is located next door to the brewery and next to the National Transport & Toy Museum, which is also open after your tour to sample beers with tasting trays. Brewery tours depart Monday-Saturday at 2pm. Learn more about this tour and others like this in 5 Damn Good Brewery Tours in New Zealand.
6. Dine at Wanaka’s Top Restaurants
Gawd, there are too many to list just here, but we’ll give it a good go. A top recommendation would be the tapas bar, Kika on Dunmore Street, which specialises in sharing plates and Instgrammable desserts! Wanaka Gourmet Kitchen on Admore Street is also worth giving one evening of your stay for its signature slow-cooked lamb shoulder – a true Kiwi dish! Bistro Gentil, just outside of Wanaka on Golf Course Road, offers gorgeous views of the surrounding gardens and mountains accompanied by French-style cuisine. Ode Conscious Dining on Ardmore Street is another popular option, which creates works of art on your plate with their eight-course degustation experiences.
7. Combine a Movie with Great Food at Cinema Paradiso
Swap movie night with dry and boring popcorn for a foodie experience with Cinema Paradiso. The boutique cinema is famous for its interval cookies which are still warm! Not only that, but the cinema has an on-site cafe where you can order meals before, during or after your movie, with highlights being homemade pizzas, homemade ice cream, platters and burgers.
8. Tour to Wanaka’s Best Picnic Spot via 4WD
Combine an interesting 4WD farm tour with a gourmet picnic atop a mountain peak with Criffel Station. The tour departs from Crossfire, taking you around a family-run deer station boasting glorious vistas of the Wanaka Basin. Ascend to a staggering 1,300m (4,265ft) above sea level where you’ll relax with a gourmet morning or afternoon tea to unbeatable views. The tour also allows you to spot majestic deer and learn about Wanaka’s gold mining history from your guide. Find out more about the 4WD experience on Viator and Tripadvisor.
9. Catch Trout on a Flyfishing Tour
New Zealand is renowned for its trout fishing but the only way you’ll get to taste the local trout is by catching it yourself – as selling it commercially for food is illegal here. Join Traveltruly Fly Fishing for a day-long fishing excursion to Wanaka’s surrounding lakes, creeks and rivers. You’ll have the opportunity to fish for brown and rainbow trout with an expert flyfishing guide. Not only will you be shown the ropes if you are beginner, but you’ll benefit from a wealth of local knowledge, as well as access to all fly fishing equipment. Lunch and drinks are also included. Check out Traveltruly Fly Fishing on Viator and Tripadvisor. Additionally, learn more about What You Need to Know About Fishing in New Zealand.