Once a stopover en route to nearby tourist hotspot Queenstown, Wanaka is now an in-crowd destination. The lakeside town (above) offers idiosyncratic delights and activities that are, as yet, unspoiled by masses of travellers.
WHAT TO SEE
That Wanaka Tree
The tree started life as a fence post, and now it’s one of the most photographed trees in New Zealand. A gnarled willow (above) marooned in the water against a mountainous backdrop, it has even earned its own Instagram tag: #thatwanakatree.
Tapley Paddock, 40-44 Wanaka-Mount Aspiring Road
Rubys Cinema & bar
On the outskirts of town, this red-velvet cinema (above) evokes the heyday of Hollywood, when it was all about sophistication and strong cocktails. See arthouse movies and new releases from the serviced comfort of a reclining armchair.
Transport & Toy Museum
There’s something here for everyone: from scooters to sewing machines; Barbie dolls to a bi-plane. Behind the collection (above) – which includes the largest number of toys on public display in New Zealand – is owner Gerald Rhodes, who amassed all 50,000 items over 50 years.