Enjoy the full-on lake effect. © hafizismail

Wānaka: kicking the autumn leaves


View the map

TAP FOR MORE INFO:

Wellington poet Amelia Nurse has written about ‘the lake effect’ – the noticeable calming and smoothing of the ripples in brow and soul that occurs when you find yourself on the shores of a lake with time to spare.

There’s probably no better place to experience the lake effect than at Lake Wānaka. There’s a variety of ways you can interact with the lake – it’s an aquatic playground for anglers, water-skiers, jet-skiers, jet-boaters, sailors, fizz-boaters, swimmers and windsurfers... and more.

But there’s also a network of walkways around the lake, giving glimpses, opening vistas over the water, and generally exposing you to maximum lake effect.

Days down at the lake ☀️ @reneeroaming

A post shared by New Zealand (@newzealandguide) on Dec 8, 2017 at 9:05pm PST

There are some really staunch walks – well, climbs, to be fair – in the wider region: there’s the serious mountaineering proposition that is a summit assault on Mount Aspiring, and there’ pretty but demanding Cascade Saddle from the Matukituki Valley over into the Rees-Dart catchment.

Then there are easier walks, such as the climb to the Rob Roy Glacier in the Matukituki, or the pleasant (if steep) scramble up to the summit of 1578m Mount Roy, just a couple of minutes’ drive outside Wānaka township. Right in Wānaka, there’s the stroll to the top of 548m Mount Iron, giving grandstand views of the lake.

 

There are other popular walks on the lakefront, too. The most popular – and it’s completely flat – is undoubtedly the Outlet Track, which begins about 6km from Wānaka township where the lake empties into the mighty Clutha River and follows the river downstream to Albertown, 5km away. It was originally a narrow path used by anglers to get to the trout-fishing spot at Albertown – and many of those plodding the path today carry rods and their catch. Otherwise, it’s frequented by walkers, joggers, dog-walkers, skaters and mountain bikers.

For a couple of weeks during autumn, the Outlet Track becomes a breathtaking sight as the deciduous exotics lining the riverbank begin to cast off their autumn colours – poplars and willows blanket the ground in swatches of gold, red and orange.

Kicking your way through here of a crisp, late afternoon, looking forward to a glass of Central Otago pinot noir by the fire at the end of it all... Oh, yes. Full-on lake effect. 

Explore more...


Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Activities

Adventure time: hitting the slopes in Wānaka

Tumbling ridgelines drop steeply to tawny valleys. Spring blossoms along the roadside contrast with the snow covered mountains, glowing like beacons at the head of the valley.  Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Natural attractions

Arrowtown: golden history

The beauty of Arrowtown is that it was built to last and if you look carefully, you’ll get some sense of what life was like for the gold miners who originally founded the town.  Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Activities

Southern Lakes: a place for all seasons

In the constellation of New Zealand’s star attractions, the Southern Lakes region burns so bright that, if it were up in the sky, it would be visible in full daylight. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Activities

Queenstown: the sky’s the limit

You feel pretty brave, standing there on the edge, your toes dangling in the void, the river moving lazily 100 metres below. Read the story . . . 

Where to stay in

AA Members receive additional discounts on selected accommodation and packages.

AA Members
Book now
Non Members
Book now