Why stop in Wanaka when staying in New Zealand? Simply because it is one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Millions of years ago the melting of the glaciers of the region created Lake Wanaka. For the Maori, the legend tells that the lake would have been dug by the strength of the arms of the giant Rakaihautu. As for Glenorchy, Arrowtown and Cadrona, the city was built during the gold rush of the mid-19th century.
With its mild climate, the area is particularly popular forNew Zealanders in search of tranquility. Wanaka has a beautiful lakeside that stretches for several kilometers. Lounging on the pebble beach during hot summer afternoons seem to be the favorite activity of the Kiwis. This is understandable, the view being so beautiful. On one side of the lake lies the well-known “Wanaka solitary tree”, which is taking in picture by all the tourists of passage (I admit, by me too). It is rather strange to have an isolated tree in the water about ten meters from the shore. In any case, having the roots immersed permanently does not seem to hurt him.
Windsurfing, kayaking, jetskiing or simply swimmers, the lake attracts all enthusiasts of activities in the water or simply people in search of refreshment. Besides, if you are thirsty, Wanaka has several vineyards stretching over the hills on the edge of the lake. I opted for an ice cream from the famous Black Peak Gelato shop. Taste Chocolate and Tiramisu to enjoy while lounging on the shore.
If you are looking for activities, Wanaka offers you a dive into the illusion with its Puzzling World theme park and one of the coolest cinemas I’ve seen: the Paradiso cinema, with movie posters all over the walls and a very relaxed atmosphere. It has two projection rooms, one of which has sofas with fluffy cushions instead of the usual armchairs. Well, during my stay in Wanaka I went to see La La Land. And I was a little disappointed because I found myself in the other room, which has normal seats. I caught up on homemade cookies at the intermission, deliciously good.
For sports enthusiasts, Wanaka has 750km of trails for walkers and cyclists. The Glendhu Bay Trail runs from the center of Wanaka to Glendhu Bay along the lakeshore offering splendid views of the mountains, the lake, its islands and small white sand beaches. For hikes up to the mountains, I recommend the Roy’s Peak Trail. It will be hard but the views at the top are amazing.
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Small corner of paradise and tranquility, Glendhu Bay is a bay located about ten kilometers from Wanaka on the road to Mt Aspiring. The bay is a little outside the main lake and shelters only a large camp-site and an agrobiological farm. Glendhu Bay Motor Camp is the friendliest campsite I’ve done so far. Stretching out on the bay, with a somewhat outdated charm, not too crowded, the campground offers a number of almost infinite locations. And an awesome wifi connection (non-free). You can put your tent on the edge of a pebble beach with a magnificent view of the surrounding mountains and the Mt Aspiring right in front, it’s the best. Dipping in the water, relaxing in the shade on a summer afternoon, listening to the song of the birds and the rustling of the water, it has a perfume of paradise. About ten kilometers further on the road to Mt Aspiring is a beautiful valley that was used to depict Rivendell in The Lord of the Rings. From here you can go for a walk around. Diamond Lake (a beautiful oval lake with black water) and a beautiful view of Wanaka await you. The area is definitely a stop not to be missed!
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Mandatory stops regroups the things that have marked me, the places that I particularly liked, the most interesting activities I have done, the best restaurants where I ate, in short the list, in my opinion, of things not to be missed during a visit to the country.
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