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Lake Wanaka Travel Information

Wanaka, a town situated in Central Otago, 120 kilometres north-west of Queenstown, is a region blessed with an incomparable alpine panorama.

There are some places in New Zealand of such incredible beauty that it is difficult for a camera or a pen to give them vitality on a printed page.

Lake Wanaka is such a place.

Distant mountains of rugged rock and perching glaciers contrast with closer ranges, where the marks of glaciation have rounded, carved, curved and modelled tussock spurs and slopes to shapes that change in varying lights as though animated.

Early morning and evening give surprises that awaken the artist in man or woman responsive to nature.

Cloud patterns and variations of light and colour add to the fascination of land forms, and below all this, there is the lake itself, sometimes whipped to fury by sudden storms, sometimes calm with an innocence that would tempt a canoe far from shore.

This view shows part of a large and thriving holiday settle­ment. The Cardrona Valley in the distant centre is flanked on the left by the Pisa Range, and on the right by a spur to Mount Alpha.

A road up the valley crosses the Crown Range to 3,676 feet and a steep descent to Queens­town.

The region has history comparable to its scenery: Maori legends of animals which made floating houses and mur­muring noises; exploring pastoralists with flax rafts; gold prospectors and miners.

Today the pristine lake has all the ameni­ties of good roads, shops, launch trips, a fish hatchery, ex­cellent trout fishing, and spacious camping places, attracting thousands of summer holidaymakers.

Wanaka is a springboard for trampers and mountaineers wishing to traverse the Matukituki Valley towards Mount Aspiring, 9,957 feet, seen in splendour from Glendhu Bay.

Launch parties can travel the length of the lake and some of them land and explore the Wilkin Valley, majestic in its isolation, a place of wide river flats and beech forest, mus­terers' huts, and snowy peaks.

Mount Aspiring National Park, with its world-renowned hiking trails, has its headquarters in Wanaka.

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Lake Wanaka Tourism

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