Voyager 2021 media awards

Where to eat, drink and stay: Wānaka

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Springtime in Wānaka means fresh mornings and warm sunny afternoons. As the days grow longer, there's more time to make use of all this picturesque town has to offer.

In between meals and drinks, the energetic could try a morning ski up Cardrona, Treble Cone or Snow Farm. Re-energised after lunch? Perhaps an afternoon bike ride out to Glendhu or - for the more adventurous - Sticky Forest (a network of tracks for intermediate and advanced riders) and Deans Bank, a one-way track that follows the Clutha River.

Where to eat in Wānaka

First thing, head to Relishes, which opens early with fresh locally roasted coffee and healthy breakfasts - sweetcorn fritters with scrambled tofu, or house-made fruit toast.

At lunch, join the locals at the food trucks - there's Firebird (which serves Nashville-style fried chicken at your chosen spice level), Charlie Brown crepes (sweet and savoury), plus fish & chips, pizzas, coffee and burritos.

For dinner, seek out Te Mana lamb - this locally bred specialty can be found in a few restaurants around town - try Kika, WGK, and Lipsky & Sons.

Or book in to the beautiful Bistro Gentil. Set just outside of town, the bistro serves French food and wine, with gorgeous views of the lake and the

Rippon Vineyard overlooking Lake Wanaka. Photo / Wanaka
Rippon Vineyard overlooking Lake Wanaka. Photo / Wanaka

Where to drink in Wānaka

Tiny Wānaka has four local breweries – Ground Up (take your refillables to the cellar door), Wānaka Beerworks (drop in for a tour), Rhyme & Reason (the head brewer is Jess Wolfgang, who honed her skills at Hunter Beer in Australia) and B.effect (for tastings, and a tasty pub menu).

If it's spirits you crave, head to the Cardrona Distillery to try a gin & tonic, straight from the barrel.

And for a glass of wine with a view, a tasting at Rippon Winery is unbeatable. With views of Lake Wānaka and the Southern Alps beyond, this biodynamic family wine business runs 30-minute sessions that will take you through around six of the range. Warning: be sure to book ahead.

Where to sleep in Wānaka

There is no shortage of high-end options in Wānaka. Mahu Whenua is one of the finest, where guests can enjoy a high-country homestead with a focus on wellbeing, family and fine dining.

Cardrona Distillery, Wanaka. Photo / Olivia Turner
Cardrona Distillery, Wanaka. Photo / Olivia Turner

For a well-equipped stay at the other end of the spectrum, Wānaka has a "superior"

in town, with motel rooms, studios and apartments to book. There are bikes to hire (including children's seats), playgrounds, and a spa and sauna.