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Wanaka

Wanaka on the shores of Lake Wanaka has a beautiful setting looking up to the mountains of the Southern Alps. From some places it is possible to see Mt Aspiring in fine weather. It is the gateway to the Haast Pass and the site of the headquarters of Mount Aspiring National Park. It is growing rapidly as developers open up subdivisions which are being covered with expensive homes.

There is a lot of accommodation offered, but it is necessary to book well in advance in the school holidays and at the peak of the ski season. There are good shops and pleanty of places to eat.

Adventure tourism offered around Wanaka includes canyoning, rock climbing and mountaineering, skydiving, paragliding, jetboating on the Clutha River, rafting, whitewater sledging, windsurfing, off-road biking including helibiking, and horse-riding - all in the setting of Wanaka's magnificent scenery.

Cruises on the lake are popular and you can also see the mountains and the lakes on a scenic flight, taking you as far as Milford Sound.

There are walks and tramps which give fresh glimpses of the scenery - Mount Iron, Mount Roy, Diamond Lake Walking Track, and more demanding tramps in Mt Aspiring National Park. The Department of Conservation Visitor Centre gives information about these tramps.

Wanaka's skifields - Cardrona and Treble Cone, are very busy in winter, and Cardrona offers some luxury accommodation on the mountain.

The drive between Wanaka and Queenstown via the Crown Range offers some fine views and in the Cardrona Valley an interesting glimpse of the kind of barren country where gold miners sought their fortunes. You can follow their example and have a drink at the historic Cardrona Hotel, with its old facade, but a modernised interior.

Wanaka is the gateway to the West Coast, but it is an important destination in itself.

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