Wanaka Autumn Escape
Sitting on the shores of magnificent Lake Wanaka, the resort township of Wanaka draws visitors seeking adventure, spectacular scenery and a relaxed atmosphere. This is a region of snow-capped peaks, long river valleys and lush native forest, anchored by its tranquil, far-reaching lake. Enjoy sightseeing activities including a 4WD journey through West Wanaka Station, a cruise on Lake Wanaka, visiting a local winery and local distillery, and quirky attractions such as Puzzle World, all while soaking in the spectacular autumn colours around the region.
Sunday 10 May – Thursday 14 May 2020 (5 Days)
Day 1 Sunday 10 May 2020 – HOME CITIES TO WANAKA (D)
Today we fly from Auckland to Queenstown. We are met by our tour driver upon arrival before travelling to Arrowtown, a delightful gold rush village nestled below the beautiful peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River. The heart of its history is Buckingham Street, a procession of small-town heritage buildings that stretches into a tree-lined avenue of tiny miner’s cottages. The buildings in this lovely precinct now house shops, galleries, bars, and restaurants. We will stop here for you to purchase a late lunch before continuing to Wanaka. Tonight we’ll enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: Wanaka Hotel – 3 nights
Day 2 Monday 11 May 2020 – WANAKA SIGHTSEEING (BL)
This morning prepare to be puzzled with a visit to Puzzling World. With a mix of bizarre buildings, rooms of illusion and the world-famous Great Maze this attraction is designed to baffle your brain and challenge your perceptions of reality. We then travel to Lazy Dog Vineyards for relaxed dining and boutique wine tasting set in their picturesque garden, with a backdrop of breath-taking mountain views. The Cellar Door showcases wines from their own, and neighbouring, Central Otago vineyards – renowned for their award-winning, world-class wines of stunning quality. We return to Wanaka in the afternoon, where the remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 3 Tuesday 12 May 2020 – WANAKA SIGHTSEEING (BD)
Today we travel out to Wanaka Airport to visit Warbirds and Wheels Museum which has a world-class collection of over 30 classic cars and motorcycles plus fighting aircraft from World War I through to modern-day Skyhawk’s. We also visit the National Transport & Toy Museum. With over half a century of collecting and preserving pieces from the past, the museum boasts rare and unusual aircraft, cars, trucks, motorcycles, fire appliances, military vehicles and tractors. The nostalgic collection of toys has something to fascinate the child in everyone, such as clockwork and battery-powered toys, porcelain dolls, teddy bears, pedal cars and money boxes. After our visit, travel back into town for you to purchase your lunch before heading out to Cardrona. Here visit the Cardrona Distillery where your guided tour will introduce you to the secrets to Cardrona’s artisan spirits, starting with their water source, malted barley and water. See where the malt is milled, mashed, fermented and distilled and matured before tasting the wares with a tutored spirit tasting of Cardrona spirits. Note – this is a working distillery and the tour includes steps. Afterwards we stop at the famous Cardrona Hotel for a photo outside the iconic pub and a drink inside (own cost) before retracing our steps back to Wanaka. Tonight enjoy dinner in the hotel restaurant.
Day 4 Wednesday 13 May 2020 – WANAKA SIGHTSEEING (B)
This morning meet local guides and take an exciting 2½-hour 4WD adventure that encompasses Wanaka’s finest lakeside scenery plus an exciting (and sometimes rugged!) 4WD journey through West Wanaka Station – a real, alpine mountain farm. The Wanaka Highlights Safari is a two and half hour guided scenic safari adventure through a working New Zealand high country farm. We travel by 4WD and get to take in some of the most stunning scenery Lake Wanaka has to offer, experience their exclusive ‘alpine café’ and enjoy an easy nature walk. The adventure offers a unique insight into New Zealand farming. The West Wanaka Station is a privately owned family farm. With exclusive access, we will encounter alpaca, red deer, high country cattle, sheep and horses. We also enjoy magnificent panoramic views across Lake Wanaka to snow-capped mountains and see locations made famous by the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. Relax with a cup of coffee and delicious home baking at their exclusive ‘alpine café’ high in the hills. Then take an optional easy short nature walk before heading back into town. There will be some leisure time before we board a comfortable vessel for a pre-dinner cruise. Sit back and relax with a glass of chilled wine or beer as you bask in the evening light on the lake. This one-hour boat cruise includes one local wine or beer per person plus a New Zealand cheeseboard to sample. The cruise is fully licensed so further drinks can be purchased on board. Cruise down the Wanaka waterfront and over toward the ‘Wanaka Tree’ before tracking up to Waterfall Creek and Ruby Island. Then head across to Stevensons Peninsula before returning via Beacon Point and Eley Point. Both the perfect end to a great day and the perfect beginning to a great night. After our cruise, dinner is at your leisure.
Day 5 Thursday 14 May 2020 – WANAKA TO HOME CITIES (B)
Departing Wanaka this morning we travel to the fruit-growing region of Cromwell – here make at stop at Mrs Jones’ Fruit Stall – one of the best known in the Central Otago region. The stall stocks a huge array of fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts, honey products plus you may wish to sample one of their real fruit ice-creams (own cost). From Cromwell travel through the rugged Kawarau Gorge then through the Gibbston Valley wine region. Time permitting, we make a stop at the Kawarau Bridge to see the dare-devils bungy jumping from the original AJ Hackett site. This afternoon we depart Queenstown on our flight to Auckland