After Queenstown, I took yet another Intercity bus onwards to Wanaka. After browsing through so much of it on Instagram, it was kind of a place I really looked forward to, especially hiking Roy’s Peak. I didn’t complete it, though. Instead, I decided to give up mid-way and did a scenic helicopter flight instead. Yes, I guess I was just addicted to the feeling of flying! It was so fun… and just overindulgent I know.
Wanaka Backpackers accommodation
I stayed at YHA Wanaka, again YHA, because I know I the standards are pretty decent for this hostel chain. The hostel was clean, and people staying there were generally nice and chill. The staff were also friendly, and I even got a free bike rental because it was 2 hrs to closing time, they couldn’t bear to charge me for that! 🙂
Wanaka is a really quiet town, like Te Anau. Of course, I got to finally see that famous Wanaka Tree. I guess the most memorable thing I did in Wanaka was that I spent pretty much an entire day cycling around the lake. It was so relaxing, though I got really burnt at the end of it. Haha.
MUST- TRY FOOD IN WANAKA – BREAKFAST AT RELISHES CAFE
Upon arrival, I had breakfast at Relishes Cafe, and it was good. I loved the eggs, bacon, and the coffee was really good too! As I’ve said, the food on the trip to NZ surprised me so much, and I loved every single thing I ate there. Yums!
After which, I excitedly went to the waterfront for a beautiful stroll in the morning light. So happy to finally be there!
The picture of the trees above was taken when I was on a swing. I love swings! Especially one that overlooks a gorgeous, gorgeous lake. The weather that day was fantastic, but it just got a little too sunny in the noon.
MUST- TRY FOOD IN WANAKA – BLACK PEAK GELATO
I explored around the little waterfront area where little shops and eateries are, and chanced upon this unassuming gelato shop called ‘Black Peak Gelato’. Not knowing how good it would taste like, I got myself a kids’ serving size of a peach gelato and was blown away by how good it tasted! So good, especially in that kind of weather.
THINGS TO DO IN WANAKA – CYCLE AROUND LAKE WANAKA
After that delicious treat I decided to rent a bike from my hostel and cycled pretty much for hours around Lake Wanaka. I love the scenery so much! Never really cycled much at home as I don’t own a bike, so it was quite fun!
After cycling, I decided to check out the local supermarket and checkout interesting stuff I could find and eat! I love supermarkets and it’s always fun to checkout what’s locally preferred… I personally love to check out the pre-packed meals section, just to see what the locals eat on usual days! Was craving for carbo, so I got myself a mac and cheese. I also love the wide selection of healthy drinks, like the one I got, a feijoa smoothie plus a chia seed mango yogurt. And this was dinner for that night! Couldn’t finish that giant pack of mac and cheese though.
THINGS TO DO IN WANAKA – HIKE UP ROY’S PEAK
The second morning in Wanaka I had planned to hike up to Roy’s Peak. I gave up mid-way as I wasn’t feeling physically ready for the 5-6 hours hike up. I guess the earlier hike from on the Kepler really maxed out my energy. So I decided to hike back down about 2.5 hrs in, and tried to find something else to do instead. Anyway, the trailhead is about a 45 minutes walk from the waterfront area, and I guess the only way was to get a cab, or go on foot along the road! I went for the latter.
THINGS TO DO IN WANAKA – SCENIC HELICOPTER RIDE TO COROMANDEL PEAK
After a trip back down to the visitor centre, I browsed through the various activities I could do, and decided to do another helicopter ride! I guess I still couldn’t muster up the courage to do skydive then. Anyway, so I booked a scenic flight, which was once again, another epic highlight of my life. We landed on coromandel peak, which is such a gorgeous photo spot! The panoramic view of Wanaka up there was stunning.
MUST- TRY FOOD IN WANAKA – HEARTY ITALIAN AT FRANCESCA’S KITCHEN (DELICIOUS CLOUDY BAY CLAMS!)
Lunch that day was a lovely Italian meal at Francesca’s Kitchen. Being the glutton that I am, I had a pork belly slider(lovely apple slaw), cloudy bay clam linguine and of course, tiramisu(in an Italian place, yes for sure!). I would totally return just for their cloudy bay clams! So huge and fresh. All so yummy.
THINGS TO DO IN WANAKA – PHOTOGRAPH THAT WANAKA TREE
Of course, I sure didn’t miss out on taking pictures of That famous Wanaka Tree. Each time I walked pass it, I just had to to take some shots. For some reason, it’s quite mesmerising to look at, at various times of the day. I only wished I had braved the cold at night to do some night shots with the stars as backdrop!
Of course, being my last day here in Wanaka, I had to go for a decent serving of that delicious gelato again at Black Peak. I can’t remember the flavour I chose but it should be chocolate and mango. And for some reason I really love the colour of the styrofoam cups they use…
After which, I took another stroll along the lake, and caught Cinema Paradiso! Same name but a rather modern version compared to that in the film though. Lovely rustic- looking building.
MUST- TRY FOOD IN WANAKA – BREAKFAST AT KAI WHAKAPAI CAFE AND BAR
I woke up early on my last morning here with a huge rainbow, seen right outside my YHA. It was so beautiful and felt so up close! The sun lit up a portion of the nearby mountains, making everything look so surreal at that time. My bus for Mt Cook was scheduled to arrive at about 9am that day, so I walked over to Kai Whakapai Cafe and Bar for breakfast, before pickup at the lakefront. I’ve read about it a few times on tripadvisor, and it didn’t disappoint! The coffee was really good too.