Lake Wanaka
Activities

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Our most recommended Lake Wanaka Activities

Wanaka: Jet Boat Ride on Clutha River

1. Wanaka: Jet Boat Ride on Clutha River

Experience the water like never have before on a jet boat adventure in Wanaka. Skim across shallow water, over sand bars, through rapids, and around rocks at speeds in excess of 80 kilometers per hour. Departing from Wanaka’s waterfront, enjoy a short jaunt across the lake taking in stunning snow-capped mountain views, and prepare to enter one of the world’s swiftest-flowing rivers, the Clutha River.  Of course, a jet boat ride wouldn’t be complete without the iconic Hamilton Spin, a high-speed maneuver causing the boat to spin rapidly on the spot. Your expert driver will raise your adrenalin, demonstrating the maneuverability of the jet boat and pushing it to its absolute limits, safely and skillfully navigating you on an unforgettable adventure.

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From Wanaka: Ruby Island 1-Hour Cruise and Photo Walk

2. From Wanaka: Ruby Island 1-Hour Cruise and Photo Walk

Take a relaxing cruise out to Ruby Island and enjoy a guided walk of the island with many incredible photo opportunities. The grade is easy, suitable for children and seniors. A luxury catamaran will guide you ashore on Ruby Island via a hydraulic bow ramp. Discover the intriguing history dating back to the days of prohibition. Often called the jewel of Wanaka, Ruby is small but very photogenic. The eclectic mix of exotic and native plants adds a foreground to the colors of the lake and the mountains behind. After your walk, return to the vessel for the short cruise back to the Wanaka waterfront.

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Wanaka: Self Guided Bike Tour from Lake Hawea to Lake Wanaka

3. Wanaka: Self Guided Bike Tour from Lake Hawea to Lake Wanaka

Get the most bang for your buck as you experience the most popular of any bike trip in Wanaka. Start your journey in Wanaka Town center where you will meet the experienced team to get you fitted for your equipment and receive a comprehensive safety briefing. Then, enjoy a leisurely shuttle from downtown Wanaka to the neighboring lakeside town of Hawea. Feel free to grab a coffee from a local cafe before setting out on the Hawea River Track, an easy riverside amble set in mountainous surroundings. Pass by Albert Town, where there are a few places to grab a refreshment, before continuing along the mighty Clutha River towards its source at Lake Wanaka. A picturesque lakeside trail will lead you back to Wanaka township, where ice cream and the famous Wanaka Tree await. After arriving back to Wanaka, extend your ride with a visit to Rippon Vineyard at your leisure. This is an exceptional ride offering great value for money. Upgrade your trip to an e-bike for an easier ride.

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Wanaka: Water Taxi & Mou Waho Island Tour

4. Wanaka: Water Taxi & Mou Waho Island Tour

Hop aboard a comfortable water taxi and make your way to Mou Waho Island. Along the way, your tour guide will explain the island's unique geology and history. Of the Lake Wanaka’s 5 islands, Mou Waho is the most remote and the most beautiful. Once there, you will have 1.5 hours to yourself to enjoy this special place. Hike 20 minutes to the island’s hidden lake. Created by glacial action thousands of years ago, this secluded lake contains an island itself. This island is known as the “island on a lake, on an island on a lake on an island in the sea.” (Close your eyes and visualize that for a moment). Walk 5 minutes from the hidden lake to reach Tyrwhitt Peak, the highest point on the island. From the top of the peak take in the luscious panorama of lakes and jagged peaks. Witness the diverse bird life of this predator-free nature reserve. See the elegant kereru (wood Pidgeon), the adorable korimako (bellbird), the delightful Tomtit, and the Weka. Wekas are charismatic birds that disappeared from the mainland of New Zealand but were introduced to these islands as a part of a breeding program in 2002. When you spot one, stop and say hello. These birds are particularly charismatic and cheeky characters and are often attracted to human interaction. Relax on the island’s small sheltered beach. Cool off with a swim in the waters of Lake Wanaka before taking the water taxi back to Wanaka.

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Wanaka: 1.5-hour Beginner Iron Road Waterfall Climb

5. Wanaka: 1.5-hour Beginner Iron Road Waterfall Climb

Enjoy a thrilling 1.5-hour introduction to ‘via ferrata’ or ‘iron road’ climbing. This unique experience uses cable, iron rungs, pegs, bridges, and ladders, allowing you to climb routes that may not have been accessible otherwise.  Start your journey in Wanaka town center where you will meet your friendly and experienced guides. Embark on a short 20-minute ride in a minibus through the stunning countryside around Wanaka, to the location of The Twin Falls Waterfalls. After a safety briefing, grab your helmets and harness and prepare for a practice climb over a small rock at the base of the waterfall. Once you have mastered the practice route, join an intimate group of no more than 4 people per guide - ensuring your safety throughout the experience. After a short walk up to the cliffs, the real fun begins. On this beginner route, spend approximately 1 hour scaling vertical and horizontal rock climbs, crossing suspension bridges over pools and discovering hidden waterfalls. At the end of this trail, take the opportunity to stop for a small snack and drink, admiring the stunning panoramic views over farmland, mountains, and Lake Wanaka. If you feel like you're climbing journey is over, begin a 20-minute descent back down the mountain to the base of the waterfall. Your wonderful guides will assist you with your equipment and drive you back to Wanaka Town Centre in the minibus.

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Wanaka: 4-Hour Intermediate Waterfall Climbing Adventure

6. Wanaka: 4-Hour Intermediate Waterfall Climbing Adventure

Enjoy a thrilling 4-hour guided experience at the highest waterfall climb in the world. This unique activity uses cable, iron rungs, pegs, bridges, and ladders, allowing you to climb routes that may not have been accessible otherwise. Start your journey in Wanaka town center where you will meet your friendly and experienced guides. Embark on a short 20-minute ride in a minibus to the location of The Twin Falls Waterfalls. After a safety briefing, grab your helmets and harness and prepare for a practice climb over a small rock at the base of the waterfall. Once you have mastered the practice route, join an intimate group of no more than 4 people per guide - ensuring your safety throughout the experience This intermediate route will have you climbing up 350m of vertical cliffs, crossing over blue pools, and braving suspension bridges. Take the opportunity to stop on a bridge next to a huge cascading waterfall for an unforgettable photo. When you reach the summit of the climb, relax at the base of the 60m waterfall for lunch. Enjoy a quick swim or sit back and take in the stunning views over the mountains and farmland surrounding Wanaka. When you’re ready, begin the 45-minute descent down to the starting point. Your wonderful guides will assist you with your equipment and drive you back to Wanaka Town Centre in the minibus.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Lake Wanaka

Want to discover all there is to do in Lake Wanaka? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Lake Wanaka

This was a great way to spend half a day. I did it solo and it was wonderful to have time at the lake and at the lookout all to myself. You really do feel like nobody else is around (even though you see the odd person travelling up or down the trail path). The views are breathtaking and you get an excellent workout hiking up to the lookout. You also learn about the geology and history of the island and Wanaka generally on the way out to the island. A little tip - bring insect repellent with you and wear closed shoes and socks as there are sandflies on the island. You do need a moderate level of fitness to hike to the top as it is intense in places and some parts of the path are very rocky but it all adds to the experience!

Our group had no climbing experience and was a bit nervous. Katie, our guide, was supportive and encouraging and made us feel brave and kept us safe. This activity was challenging but the huge sense of achievement was so worth it and the views were spectacular.

Great trip to the island by water taxi. Shiloh was a great skipper who was very knowledgeable about the history of the area. And the island and lake on top are truly amazing, scenery is breathtaking!

A great trip, with a knowledgeable team. Made me, my older mother and my 4.5 year old feel very welcome.

This was a very pleasant experience. Just the right amount of time and a fair price.