Winter Escapes: Your Ultimate Guide to Wanaka’s Must-Do Activities

Welcome to Wanaka, a winter wonderland nestled in the heart of New Zealand's breathtaking Southern Alps!

As the temperature drops and our mountains wear their pristine snowy coats, Wanaka transforms into a dreamy paradise for winter holidays. If you're seeking a winter adventure that balances the slopes with serenity, Wanaka should be your first stop!

Join us as we uncover the best things to do in Wanaka during winter, for an experience that will leave you spellbound.

Hitting the Snow at Treble Cone

No winter escape to Wanaka is complete without a visit to Treble Cone, renowned as one of the country's premier ski destinations. With the South Island’s largest ski area, uncrowded slopes, and jaw-dropping alpine views, Treble Cone offers a fantastic skiing and snowboarding experience for beginners and seasoned powder hounds alike. Challenge yourself on the steep chutes, carve your way through perfectly groomed trails, and soak in the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding peaks. 

Treble Cone

Explore New Zealand’s Only Cross-Country Ski Area

For a unique winter adventure with tons of activity options, head to New Zealand's only cross-country ski field, the Snow Farm. Located just a short distance from Wanaka, this Nordic style ski park holds over 50 kilometers of groomed trails, perfect for classic or skate skiing and snowshoeing, plus a snow fun zone for tubing, snowman building or just playing in the snow! With an on-site restaurant and cafe, rental and repair workshop, and snow shop, Snow Farm has families, friends and solo adventureers covered for a whole day of chills and thrills.

The Snow Farm

Apres Ski

After an exhilarating day on the slopes, it's time to unwind and indulge in Wanaka's vibrant après-ski scene. Put your feet up at these local favourites, or work your way through our list of the best places to wine, dine and be social in Wanaka.

The B Social Taproom and Eatery welcomes you with a cozy ambiance, offering a wide selection of craft beers and shareable plates of comfort food to satisfy your cravings. 

With a friendly laid-back atmosphere, Kai Whakapai Cafe and Bar has a reputation for good food, good brews and good live music. It’s a café during the day, a bar at night, and an awesome spot for sharing stories of your day's adventures as you toast to the beauty of winter in Wanaka.

B.Social Taproom and Eatery

Off the Slopes Activities

While Wanaka is famous for winter snow-sports, you won’t want to miss these off-the-slopes activities! Unleash your competitive spirit with clay pigeon shooting, archery, golf, mini putt and rifle shooting at Crossfire Wanaka, or test your limits with rock climbing at Basecamp Adventures Indoor Climbing. These adrenaline-pumping experiences cater to kids and adults, ideal for family holidays in Wanaka, or those who want a break from the slopes. Come discover a whole new world of excitement beyond skiing and snowboarding!

Basecamp Adventures

Markets, Tree Planting and Weekly Events

Wanaka's winter calendar is packed with events that add a touch of magic to your winter escape. The Wanaka Artisan Market is a Wanaka must-do, held every Thursday from 3pm-6pm, beside the picturesque Bullock Creek Reserve. Immerse yourself in the region's creative spirit and find local produce, handmade artisan foods and unique treasures created by talented local craftspeople. 

Start your Saturday mornings on a high note with Wanaka Parkrun, a free 5-kilometer run, walk, or jog beside the lake that welcomes everyone, from dedicated runners to families seeking a fun activity. While you need to register to take part, you only ever need to do this once and your barcode will give you access to any Parkrun worldwide!.(Parkrun ‘tourism’ is a thing, with runners seeking out local Parkruns to attend when visiting new places!)

For those with a passion for environmental conservation, Te Kakano volunteer planting sessions let you contribute to the preservation of Wanaka's natural beauty. You could be propagating native plants, nurturing the young plants growing at the nursery, transplanting plants or watering, all under the guidance of the Te Kakano Nursery Manager.

Afterwards, soak in the views on the deck over the Venus coffee, tea and snacks provided for all volunteers!


Winter holidays in Wanaka are an unforgettable experience full of snow-capped peaks, adrenaline-fueled adventures, and warm hospitality. Whether you're a snow sports junkie or a family looking for some snowy fun, it’s time to visit us at Wanaka Top 10 and discover the best of the winter season!


Posted by Andrea Kendrick on July 10, 2023