Best outdoor activities in Wanaka for Easter Weekend
Best Activities in Wānaka for Families
How do you cultivate a love for the outdoors for your kids? Start ‘em young! Luckily, Wānaka is filled with activities that the whole family can enjoy. Back when Bike Glendhu was just a pipe dream, we had a vision of a park that would work for everyone. The trails would range from flowy greens to technical blacks and it’s would be a place that every mountain biker could enjoy.
Our Kākāriki green trail is a gentle gradient that winds uphill to Jack’s Spot, our lower mountain hub. If the little legs can’t make it, you can grab an $8 van shuttle which will drop you off at Jack’s Spot in minutes. From there, the Kākāriki down trail is equally as gentle with wide berms and a low-grade descent. This is the perfect track for kids and mountain bikers looking to ease into the trails. Once your team is feeling confident on Kākāriki, Matt & Gary is an awesome trail to try next. You can read more about how to progress on our trails here.
And for those not ready to tackle the trails? We have that covered too. Our Base 334 area is filled with activities to keep your little ones occupied while you enjoy the tasty offerings from our onsite cafe, Velo. The kids will play for hours in the sandpit and might even have a go at the wee pump track. A pushbike is always up for grabs if you’re kids want to give it a go. For kids who are ready to take it to the next level but not quite ready for the park, we have a free skills course just past the entry gates. Parents can enter the skills course for free to help their kids out.
Other great outdoor activities in Wānaka
Mount Aspiring National Park:
Continue up the Mount Aspiring Road for a scenic road trip to our national park, found right in our backyard. The drive itself is worthy of the trip but there are also plenty of walks to do for all abilities once you get to the road end. For more intrepid families, check out the Rob Roy Glacier Track. If you just want a short walk, bring a picnic and enjoy the stunning (and super accessible) Wishbone Falls.
Wanaka Water Taxi:
There’s no better way to explore Lake Wānaka than to get on the lake itself. Wānaka Water Taxi offer boat tours and cruises to some of the best sites on the lake. Grab a lift to Mou Wahou, a place famously described as a lake on an island in a lake on an island. (Let that sink in for a moment). Mou Wahou is totally predator-free and if you’ve got a bit of energy in the legs, you can even walk to the high point of the island for a beautiful lookout.
Best Wānaka activities for a variety of abilities
Organizing group activities has its challenges, especially when everyone in the group has different skill levels and capabilities. Luckily, we built our trails with the intention of having something for everyone. We wanted to create a place that both beginner and expert riders could thoroughly enjoy so for families with varying skill abilities, Bike Glendhu is your one-stop-shop.
Our Kākāriki climb gently ascends the mountain to our lower mountain hub, Jack’s Spot, however, if pedalling up isn’t really your thing, we have an entire fleet of e-bikes for hire. Our Whyte e-bikes are top of the line and help you get the top quickly without compromising on the epic downhills. They are just as much fun riding down as they are riding up.
E-bikes and van shuttles help even out the playing field when it comes to group rides. Once you’ve got the uphill out of the way, there’re dozens of trails catering to every level of mountain biker. If you haven’t quite built up the confidence for the downs, you can also hire a coach to help you improve your skills and give you the confidence you need to enjoy our flow tracks.
Other great Wānaka activities for all abilities:
Ridgeline Tours offers exclusive small-group 4WD Nature Tours featuring history, heritage and an insight into modern-day farming life on one of Wanaka’s oldest sheep cattle and deer farms. If you want to get off the beaten track, Ridgeline is the tour to take you there. Their tours vary from 4WD tours to private walks and even photography safaris so if you want an epic adventure that will be exciting for everyone, they are a great option.
Lake Wanaka Cruises is another fantastic option for families looking to take advantage of our stunning Lake Wānaka. Their premium yacht accommodates nearly 50 passengers and weighs 22 tonnes making it a comfortable journey no matter the conditions. The boat has tours running to Ruby Island, Stevensons Island, Mou Waho as well as a happy hour cruise.
Best activities in Wanaka with Epic Scenery
We don’t like to brag, but have you seen the views from the summit? We think they are some of the best views in Wānaka. If you’re looking for a family activity that will show you the best natural beauty that Wānaka has to offer, come pay us a visit. To the southeast, you’ll see the iconic Roy’s Peak in its full glory but instead of the Insta-famous shot, you’ll get a totally unique perspective on this beauty of a peak. To the west, you’ll have a sweeping view of Lake Wānaka and Stevenson’s Island. Look North and you’ll get unbeatable views up the Matukituki Valley with Treble Cone towering above.
Our Can-Am shuttles to Falcon’s Nest will drop you at the highest point in the park. Spend some time soaking up the views before descending down Upper Baywatch. The Can-Am shuttles are bookable for 2 or 3-hour blocks and will get you at least one trip to the summit plus as many laps in at Jack’s as possible.
Other Wānaka Outdoor Activities with epic scenery
Ever wanted to scale a waterfall? If not, you will now. Just up the Matukituki Valley underneath the towering Treble Cone Mountain, you’ll find our friends over at Wildwire. Wildwire is an awesome activity for adrenaline-seeking families. Their expert guides will guide your group up a stunning waterfall by way of a Via Ferrata. Once you’re kitted out in professional safety gear, you’ll be ready to tackle the climb. Don’t worry, as long as you have a basic level of fitness, you’ll be able to complete the trip. As they say, if you can climb a ladder, you can enjoy Wildwire.
Another great option right in our own backyard! Wanaka River Journeys is your ticket to exploring the glacial waters of Mt. Aspiring National Park in a jet boat. Their half-day adventures are fun for the whole family and provide spectacular scenery of glaciers and Lord of the Rings film locations. You’ll get unparalleled views of our iconic National Park and if you want to go one step further, you can even pair the trip with a scenic helicopter ride.
Best Outdoor Activities close to Wānaka
One of the best aspects of Bike Glendhu? We are only a 10-minute drive from town but even when you get to the summit of the bike park, you won’t be able to see the town at all. Instead, you’ll be surrounded by pristine rivers, jagged peaks and of course, the iconic Lake Wānaka. There are few places that give you a sense of calm and remoteness while still being only a stone’s throw away from the town.
To get to our park, head out of town and follow the Mount Aspiring road (northwest of town). You’ll pass the usually crowded car park of Roy’s Peak before getting into the stunning Glendhu Bay. Our turnoff is just across from the Glendhu Bay Motorcamp, which is also an excellent place to base your holiday if you want to get away from the town crowds.
Didn’t bring your bike with you on your holiday? No worries, we have a fleet of top of the line analogue and e-bikes for hire for every size of rider. (Tip: It’s best to reserve them online before heading out to the park!)
Once you’re out at Glendhu Bay, you’ll have plenty of things to do to keep you busy. Go for a dip near the Glendhu Bay Motorcamp. Head a few more kilometres up the valley for some tramping around Diamond Lake. Take a scenic drive into the heart of Mt. Aspiring National Park. Glendhu Bay is truly one of Wānaka’s best-kept secrets and is a terrific option for being close but feeling far away.
Other outdoor activities near Wānaka
If you’re up for a slightly longer drive, head up the coast past Makarora to the Blue Pools, one of the area’s most popular natural destinations. A short 10-minute walk will bring you to a swing bridge overlooking the teal waters below. If you’re brave, you might even want to do a manu from the top!
Rocky Mountain is a great spot for those keen on some tramping. A short 15 min uphill walk will take you to Diamond Lake, a great choice for a picnic. For those who have a bit more in the legs, you can walk up to the next viewpoint or got all the way to the top of Rocky Mountain Peak.
The Matukituki Valley also happens to be Wānaka’s climbing mecca. There are dozens of primo climbing spots up the valley catering to all abilities. Hospital Flat is a great place to base from and is just across the road from Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain.
Best Wānaka family activities on a budget
We get it, going on holiday as a family is hard which is why from the start, we’ve made it a point to be accessible to all riders. Our day passes are only $35 for the day for adults ($15 for children and $20 for youth). We also have a family pass (2 adults + 2 children) for $85. Our passes can be used for multiple entries and are valid for the entire day so there’s no pressure to go hard and make the most of your pass.
We also offer van shuttles at $8 a seat to get you to our lower mountain hub, Jack’s spot. This is a great option for families and children who don’t quite have the leg power to get all the way to Jack’s Spot. When you’re ready for a break our onsite cafe, Velo, has tasty (and healthy!) treats at an affordable price.
If you need a half-day activity for the whole family, check out our two beautiful disc golf courses. It’s free to play and if you don’t have a disc, you can rent one from town. Lismore park features 18 holes and lies above the town and has stunning views of Roys Peak, Mt Aspiring and Lake Wanaka. Eely Point is a more technical course that snakes its way through the pine forest of Eely Point, on the east side of the lake.
The Lavender Farm never ceases to impress. Found on the south side of town, 20 acres of beautiful lavender fields, farm animals & display gardens. Enjoy a walk through the rows of flowers, meet the friendly animals, enjoy a cup of herbal tea and indulge in lavender ice-creams. Entry is only $10 per adult and $5 for children.