I was over the moon when my flatmate, Mel asked if I’d like to join her on a roadtrip to Wanaka. Apart from a pitstop a few years back, I had yet to explore this year-round resort town. The drive alone was worth the trip as we were rewarded with stunning, constantly changing scenery. Mel kindly drove the entire way as I gazed out the window and snapped photo after photo. After living in Auckland for three years, I had forgotten just how dramatic and diverse the South Island scenery is.

The following list should sufficiently equip the adventurous traveller ready to take on Wanaka.

Treble Cone: Granted we visited during the summer months, but Wanaka is a hit with skiers and snowboarders. Treble Cone is the closest ski area to Wanaka and the largest in the South Island. I’m already looking forward to a visit next winter.

Mount Iron: You can’t visit Wanaka without a hike up Mount Iron, an impressive, glacier-carved, 240-metre rocky knoll. Run or walk at your leisure!

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Federal Diner: One of our favourite spots in town, we both loved the retro vibes and open kitchen concept of this diner.

47 Frocks: I fell head over heels for this must-visit boutique, which stocks many of New Zealand’s most covetable labels.

We daytripped to Queenstown, which is a short 45-minute drive from Wanaka. For a first-timer, I highly recommend partaking in all the adventure tourism on offer: skydiving, bungy jumping, white water rafting, oh my! Oh, and you can’t forget Fergburger. Other great spots for lunch include Vudu Cafe & Larder (food pictured below) and Bespoke Kitchen (as lauded by Denizen).

A few stops along the way:

Lake Tekapo: Characterized by its vibrant turquoise colour, Lake Tekapo is a popular destination in the summer months. Despite how beautiful it appears in photographs, it’s about 100 times more gorgeous in person.

Lake Pukaki: The largest of three alpine lakes along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin, Lake Pukaki is a glacial lake that has become famous for its milky-blue colour and as the foreground to Mount Cook.

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