Wānaka is a hot spot in New Zealand for many reasons, one of them being that it’s only a hop, skip, and a 50-minute drive away from its big brother: Queenstown. Wānaka is like the underdog child that is prettier and has better banter, while extremely humble and sometimes overlooked… But smart travelers know that this destination is where it’s at!
Easter is one of those weekends where Wānaka shines, although with the large inpouring of tourists filling out the town, it’s good to get the low-down on where to go.
Wānaka is a dream for mountain bikers as it boasts a wide range of trails for any skill level. For that, check out our blog post on where to ride while you’re here, but for now, let’s focus on where to stay and what to do while you’re in town for Easter weekend.
The Wānaka Homestead is where it’s at for all of you luxe riders out there. They’ve got a lock-up room for bikes and a hose to clean ’em off after you’ve been tearing up the tracks. And with five king or twin bed & breakfast rooms, you can bring your whole posse along for the ride. The Homestead also hosts self-catering cottages that are perfect for the fam – the Ruby Cottage sleeps four and the Lismore Cottage sleeps seven. Plus, The Homestead is just a quick ten-minute drive to Bike Glendhu and only a stones throw away from the lakefront trails and the infamous #thatwānakatree for your IG fans.
If you’re planning on shredding it around Wānaka and looking for somewhere lush to rest your tootsies, then we recommend Oakridge Resort! Not only is it conveniently located near some of the best biking spots, but they’ve also got some seriously sweet in-house amenities just for us riders (saunas and spas included!). For your bike-specific needs, they’ve got lockable areas and secure bike parking, so you can leave your precious steed behind without a worry. Oakridge also boasts bike washing stations and you’re able to keep your bike locked up right outside your room.
If you’re a keen camper, you gotta check out Glendhu Bay Motor Camp for the ultimate bike + camp adventure! These guys are across the road from Bike Glendhu – 300 meters to be exact – meaning you can practically roll out of bed and onto your bike. Glendhu Bay Motor Camp also hosts a bike wash, secure bike stand, and e-bike charging station for all your biking needs! Season pass holders for Bike Glendhu get a 10% discount on campsites, and campers can also enjoy 10% off day and season passes. If you’re traveling with your little shredders, the camp is a safe biking haven, with the scenic Millennium Track just around the corner as well. If you’re looking for a tad more comfort, there are cabins, a lodge, and even a house – so it’s safe to say they’ve got you covered!
If you’re not sold on these options yet, never fear! There are tonnes more, check out this blog post by Lake Wānaka Tourism here.
Eat & Drink
Close to town and oh-so-conveniently connected to b.effect brewing, b.social is a one-stop shop for bangin’ food, as well as a large range of b.effect’s tasty craft beers, wine, kombucha and other non-alcoholic beverages. If you’re feeling peckish, their kitchen serves up shareable plates like kimchi fries and crispy fried cauliflower, a classic spot for a beer garden session post-ride.
If you’re feeling like you want to get crafty and explore the wonderful world of craft beers, Rhyme & Reason is a must-hit while in town! A self-professed “small crew of wacky beetles”, the team at RxR know how to get creative while delivering a stellar product (and vibe to boot). With over 14 taps and locally made pies on offer, it’s the perfect spot to park your bike and put your feet up.
It doesn’t get more classic than this place. If you want to have a local experience that’s full of Kiwiana, consider Kai Whakapai the institution of adventure sports hangouts. With a slew of outdoor seating that looks out over the lake and mountains, reasonably priced tap beers, and pizzas firing out from the kitchen – this spot is popular to say the very least. Get in early to snag a table and settle in for a long social session with the wide array of mountain folk who pass by here on the daily.
Hit the trails at Bike Glendhu then roll conveniently into Velo Café, located at Base 334, where you grab a coffee and enjoy a delicious range of healthy and tasty treats all made with love by Head Chef Evelyn. The menu includes nachos, pies, sandwiches, wraps, smoothies, beers, komchua… The list goes on! There’s something for everyone: from the vegan yogis to the shredding BBQ lovin’ riders.
For all of you eco-warriors out there, you’ll be pleased to hear that Velo Café is just as committed as Bike Glendhu to an environmentally-focused approach to doing business. The café is solar-powered and does not provide takeaway packages or cups and continues to assess how to do things differently for the betterment of our environment.
If you’re feeling boujee and want to splurge on something special, Kika is your answer. Owned and operated by award-winning chef James Stapley, who draws inspiration from global flavors to deliver innovative sharing-style plates that boast local produce that just hit different. To match these fineries, is an even finer wine list, curated with a mix of local and international varietals to complement the menu. You won’t find any white tablecloths here, Kika holds a cozy/casual atmosphere that encourages chillaxing. We highly recommend!
Needless to say, Wānaka has a tonne to offer for riders regardless of your skill levels and enthusiasm. If you’re planning a trip to this part of the world, be sure to jump online and book your bike in advance so you don’t miss out. Bike Glendhu also offers an Easter weekend deal where you can save 20% on either 2- or 3-day pass. This trail pass lets you ride the whole park from open until close, from Friday, April 7th-close on Monday, April 10th. Grab ’em here.