So, you’re planning a trip to Wanaka? I’m happy for you, but I’m also very jealous because Wanaka is a beautiful part of the world and you’re going to have an amazing holiday. As part of your planning, you’re going to need to find yourself somewhere great to stay. I just spent a week in Wanaka and got to stay at a few different places, each offering something different. Here’s my guide on where to stay in Wanaka.
Tenby Apartments by Wanaka Selections
Located a few short minutes drive or walk from Central Wanaka Village and the Lakefront, these apartments are easy to find and give you access to all the shops and restaurants of the village. Because of their location, they’re close to the Lakefront and based on the west side of town, making it slightly closer to Treble Cone ski field for a quick getaway up to the mountain.
Tenby Apartments are fully self-contained, modern and sleek. On offer are 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments with a fully decked out kitchen, a comfortable lounge room, dining area, television and an outdoor deck complete with BBQ. The apartments are a great size, with plenty of room to spread out with all your gear and make yourself at home. The bedroom is big and comfortable with a clean, modern ensuite that doesn’t disappoint. The apartments also feature garaging, for your car, and laundry facilities which are absolutely ideal for washing and drying your ski gear. If you’re staying for more than a few days or just like to pack light, having a washer and dryer makes all the difference.
Tenby Apartments really do offer a home away from home, they’re the kind of place you want to come home to after a big day of exploring. You’re able to fix yourself something to eat, which means you don’t have to go out every time you’re hungry, and there are lots of different places to sit and relax. I also loved the views from the balcony of our apartment, Tenby Four. We were able to see the Southern Alps every time we looked out our lounge room window and off the balcony, it was nice to see something so beautiful each time we looked outside.
Tenby Apartments are a great place to stay for anyone travelling on a budget as they’re fully self-contained, which means you can prepare your meals. They’re also ideal for people who love to hit the ski fields and need space for all their gear. I’d recommend a stay at Tenby Apartments for couples, groups of friends and families with children too.
What I loved most about Tenby Apartments was how easy they were to get in and out of and just how comfortable and at home I felt when I was there. It was all too easy to unwind and relax without feeling like I was missing out on anything, given the gorgeous views outside.
Back Country Hut at Snow Farm NZ
The absolute middle of nowhere! The Back Country Huts are located at Snow Farm NZ, which is a 30-minute drive from Wanaka’s Central Village. If you visit in winter you’ll need to fit snow chains once you reach the turnoff to the Snow Farm. Once you get up there, it’s like you’ve arrived in a completely different country. I felt like I was back in Switzerland!
There are two huts, Bob Lee and Meadow Hut. Both are reachable either by cross-country skiing out to them or if you’re lucky enough to be on a sled dog tour with Underdogs NZ. If, like me, you haven’t gone cross-country skiing before, don’t panic. You can hire all your gear and get a lesson on site and, even if you’re just brand new to skiing, it’s pretty easy to get the hang of. It takes two hours to reach the huts.
We stayed in Meadow Hut, which was a basic wooden hut comprising 12 bunk beds. The hut is decked out with a wood-burning stove and fireplace, gas cookers, pots, pans, cups and utensils to cook your own dinner. You’ll need to BYO sleeping bag and pillow and plenty of warm clothing too.
The amazing thing about this place is that it’s surrounded by perfect, white powder. There isn’t a single soul in sight. When you wake up in the morning it’s like you’ve found yourself in the middle of the North Pole, with not another person in sight, except the people staying with you. It’s remote and indescribably beautiful. Staying here isn’t about the accommodation, it’s about the experience.
If you’ve ever dreamed of going Into The Wild, this is your chance. It is honestly one of the most unique places you could ever hope to stay. If you love to immerse yourself in nature, try new and adventurous things and stay in places you’ll never, ever forget…. then Snow Farm’s Back Country Huts are perfect for you. What I loved most about Meadow Hut was how it felt waking up and feeling totally and completely lost.
It takes around 20 minutes to get to the Cardrona Hotel from Wanaka’s Central Village and it’s pretty much the perfect place to base yourself if you’re planning on spending time up at the Cardrona Ski Field. The Hotel is situated on the Crown Range Road, which runs between Wanaka and Queenstown. It’s 40 minutes drive to Queenstown and 30 minutes drive to Arrowtown. I love Cardrona as it’s a tiny little town that makes you feel like you’re back in the 1800s.
The Cardrona Hotel was built in 1863, making it a very important piece of history in the area. The front of the Hotel is exactly how it was back in 1863 and when you step inside, you can’t help but feel like you’re back in that area. The whole place has a really low-key, warm and welcoming country feel to it that’s comforting and relaxing.
We stayed in a fantastic room with a balcony overlooking the open grass area that backs off the pub and restaurant, doubling as a beer garden. You’ll want to spend a few hours sitting down there in the afternoon sun with an ice cold Cardrona Ale, trust me! The restaurant serves up great meals for dinner and lunch and have a really good range of beers on tap too.
Our room was really cosy and comfortable, the best way I can describe it is that it reminded me of a cottage. The room was very earthy and had a distinctly old-world feel to it, which just adds to how cool the history of the Cardrona hotel is. There’s a laundry room and spa on site, each room has its own ensuite and everything about the rooms is clean, cosy and enjoyable. I found myself really sad to check out because it was such a cool place to stay.
The Cardrona Hotel is a great place to stay if you love a fantastic pub! If you love long days in the sunshine with great food, it’s for you. If you love a warm, welcoming atmosphere that feels like home, it’s for you. If you love to experience a little bit of history and just relax, it’s for you. What I loved most about the Cardrona Hotel was that it felt like stepping back to a simpler time where everything was just easy. It’s a beautiful place to stay.
In terms of location, Edgewater is onto something pretty special. Located right on the edge of Lake Wanaka, you’re absolutely spoilt when it comes to picture-perfect destinations to stay. If you’re planning on visiting the famous Wanaka Tree, which you absolutely must, then you cannot get a better spot than Edgewater. A short stroll through the hotel and you’re in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Being on the west side of town it’s also a great place to base yourself if you’re heading up to Treble Cone Ski Field and it’s a short few minutes drive to the centre of town, though you could easily walk along the lakefront too.
We stayed in a fully self-contained one-bedroom apartment that was just gorgeous. The apartment was really spacious, complete with a big bathroom, huge kitchen decked out with everything you could need to cook with. The room had a dining area, living area with loads of seating and a great size bedroom with a really comfortable, king size bed.
I really liked the minimalist but warm styling of the room, it was comfortable and beautiful but not over the top. I also really liked that there were so many different areas to sit and chill out, rather than just being confined to the bed. It’s the kind of room you enjoy spending time in and a haven for tired bodies after a long day exploring or shredding on the ski fields.
Staying at Edgewater felt like staying at a luxurious home away from home. It was really easy to spread out and get comfortable and it’s great for people who like to prepare some of their own meals when they travel. I really enjoy having that option as it means you can stock up on basic supplies and not have to go out every time you’re hungry. It also means you can buy a few beers or some wine and make a cheese platter to sit and enjoy after a big day out and about.
Edgewater is a great place to stay to get up close to Wanaka’s beautiful Lake. I’d be surprised if your jaw didn’t drop when you walked down to the water’s edge at sunrise or sunset and saw the reflections off the lake and how stunning the Wanaka Tree is set against the Southern Alps. It’s something to behold. I loved that Edgewater was luxurious, modern and really, really comfortable. Everything about staying here was easy and enjoyable and it’s a great place for families or couples to escape to.
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Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.