What to do on and off the snow in Wanaka, New Zealand. - MountainWatch Travel

New Zealand | Queenstown | Winter 2023

What to do on and off the snow in Wanaka, New Zealand.


We’ve pulled together some of our favorite things to do in Wanaka to make your 2023 winter unforgettable.



With such a diverse range of activities on and off the mountain, Wanaka has everything you need to make the most of the 2023 ski season. Serviced by two world class mountains, Cardrona Alpine Resort and Treble Cone Ski Area, Wanaka is a dream winter destination for all snow lovers.

Cardrona Alpine Resort powder skier overlooking the valley
Skier up Cardrona Alpine Resort

Hit the slopes

Take your pick with two world class mountains at your doorstep

If you’re a budding ski or snowboarding enthusiast Wanaka is the place to be!

The home resort of many of New Zealand’s brightest snow athletes, Cardrona Alpine Resort offers 465 hectares of skiable terrain,9 lifts across three wide, open basins, and some of New Zealand’s most progressive terrain. Whether you’re new to snow sports or after some challenging runs there’s something for every skill level at Cardrona. Make a day of it and grab your lunch up the mountain from one of eight cafes and restaurants or stop in at the Cardrona Hotel for a bit of après on your way down the mountain.

Only accessible via Wanaka, Treble Cone Ski Field, is less crowded than many resorts. With 550 hectares of varying terrain, skiers and snowboarders of all abilities can enjoy the best of the mountain. If you’re just learning The Platter is the perfect spot to start, if you’re looking for something a little more adventurous Treble Cone offers some of the best off-piste terrain with constant stunning views of Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps!

Skiing down Treble Cone
Skiing down Treble Cone


Heli Skiing

Take to the skies in a scenic helicopter flight paired with some incredible off-piste shredding. Harris Mountains Heli-Ski offers an unforgettable day of skiing or boarding wonder across the region, you’ll have access to thousands of vertical feet of untracked snow. Pick one of their packages ranging from ‘3-10 run’ days for those wanting to challenge themselves and push the limits.

Heli boarding above Wanaka
Heli boarding above Wanaka

Discover Cross-Country Skiing at Snow Farm

Want to try your hand at cross country skiing or snowshoeing, look no further than Snow Farm. Hire yourself some snowshoes and explore the stunning views of the Pisa Range or pop on some skis and give cross-country skiing a go. Snow Farm has a range of training packages available, book in with a class or get some one-on-one help with private lessons.

Cross-country skiing at Snow Farm
Cross-country skiing at Snow Farm


Explore Wanaka and all it has to offer this winter.

Check out the amazing food scene

With a bustling town center comes a fantastic food scene. If you’re after the perfect cozy breakfast nook Scroggin Cafe and Eatery offers fantastic Turkish Eggs with housemade focaccia on their all day menu from 7am-3pm. For some of the best burgers you’ll ever have stop by Red Star Burger Bar, and if you’re in the mood for a slice of pizza or a bowl of pasta, Francesca’s is the place to go!

While you’re out make sure you check out some of the fantastic local breweries in the area. You’ve got Rhyme and Reason, b.effect Brewing Co., and Ground Up Brewing all just a few minutes out of town.

Rhyme X Reason Craft Brewery, Wanaka
Rhyme X Reason Craft Brewery, Wanaka. Image: Lake Wanaka Tourism

Visit the iconic Wanaka Tree

Perhaps New Zealand’s most photographed tree, take a stroll around Lake Wanaka towards Glendhu Bay and spot the Wanaka Tree. After capturing a few photos continue your journey around the lake, taking in the breathtaking views as you go. The track continues up to Waterfall Creek and heads around to Glendhu Bay, a 10km track one-way. Explore as far as you like and, when you’re ready, turn around and head back towards town.

The iconic Wanaka Tree in Lake Wanaka
The Wanaka Tree

Take a day trip

Only in town for a few days and want to explore the surrounding area? Only 15-minutes away on Wanaka’s backdoor step you’ve got Lake Hawea, a beautiful community overlooking the lake. Don’t let the town’s size fool you, the area is packed with character and adventure, check out LandEscape and take one of their e-bikes for a spin or even follow the track from Wanaka to Hawea and back stopping to have a beautiful end-of-adventure sunset spa! If further abroad is calling, head over to Cromwell and sample a tipple or two from one of the many wineries or pop over the mountain to Queenstown, stopping at the Cardrona Distillery on the way.

The Cardrona Distillery, Cardrona Valley
The Cardrona Distillery

See Wanaka from a different angle

Challenge yourself and take a dive with Skydive Wanaka, the team will have you freefalling from up to 15,000ft at speeds up to 200kph. Strapped to one of their highly qualified guides you’ll find yourself free falling thousands of feet off the ground. Once your guide releases the parachute you can relax and truly savor the stunning views around you.

Two sky divers jumping from a plane
Sky divers in Wanaka


If you haven’t yet, we recommend booking your trip ASAP as packages and accommodation are already selling out fast! 

Head to our 2023 Wanaka Winter Packages

HAVE ANY QUESTIONS? Speak to one of our ski travel specialists today!