Wanderful Wanaka

We loved Wanaka!

I REALLY wanted to put the emphasis on the “ak” but it turns out each syllable gets equal attention. Wa-na-ka…

It’s a small town of about 8,000 right on the southern tip of Lake Wanaka. I wanted to stay somewhere a little closer to Mount Aspiring National Park for a couple days so we could get a hike or two in without driving for hours on these twisty roads.

Unfortunately we were going to get rained on for most of the first day and so we headed out first thing to Puzzling World knowing most of it was indoors. We tackled the epic outdoor maze first and miraculously completed it as a group of FIVE staying together. They tout it as being challenging but just before you might give up or go insane, you’ll find one of the four towers… All true.

The rest of the place was filled with optical illusions, a room on an angle that makes you nauseous and zillions of hands on puzzles. Most of us could have stayed for hours and hours, but one of us could not.


Disconcerting mural of ancient roman toilet house.


Heading for coffee on gorgeous day #2
Lake Wanaka view from town

Our second day in the Wanaka area was the fave so far. The drive up to the north side of Lake Wanaka was super scenic; we stopped at several look outs and the short hike on “Blue Pools Track” was basically in a lush rainforest-type setting. I think. I have never been in a rainforest.

Family photo driving up Lake Hawea. Cam was PISSED that he couldn’t be the one taking it.

The rock field next to the creek could have given the boys hours of entertainment. No one wanted to leave this spot.


Cam is ready to model for totems for toddlers
Quinn was very proud to have made 20 totems while we were there.
Park ranger interviewed us on the way out to see if these new signs are effective. With “Max 10 people” signs, he said, people weren’t getting the point.
Likey/ no likey. I feel like bridges shouldn’t bounce.



Another Lake Hawea stop on the way back. Seven year old Quinn had gotten wet and changed into three year old shorts. Yikes
The Blue Pools Track was gorgeous but exhausting.

Third morning – the weather had turned and it was time for us to leave 🙁

#thatwanakatree – the most photographed tree in New Zealand. It was a little underwhelming (but there were plenty of people taking photos of it!)
Brrrrrrr. Lake Wanaka
And off we drive back to Queenstown!

We get to move in to one place for eight nights this time! And it looks like we will have a lot of… RAIN!!!!