hi gals and pals, welcome to the new series on blooming anna, in which i document the time i travel somewhere cool (a rare occurrence, so i thought i’d better make the most of it ;)
so i don’t know if spending this (and every) summer in wanaka qualifies as travel, but this my blog and i make the rules! #hardcore haha but anyway, i’m going to shamelessly milk it for content at any rate.
for those of you who haven’t been to wanaka (poor babies), it is a town in the Central Lakes region in the South Island of New Zealand, which is centred around the stunning Lake Wanaka. what’s more, it boasts stunning mountains and two ski fields nearby.
it is my favourite place in the whole entire world and i am so very lucky that my grandparents let us stay in their holiday house there. seeing as we moved six times over the course of my childhood (my dad was in the air force), it was a constant for me, and i just couldn’t imagine summer without wanaka – the two are intertwined in my mind.
wanaka does get it’s fair share of tourists over the summer and winter months, but it has maintained the small town, friendly, community feel. it’s neighbour Queenstown is similar in terms of scenery and landscape, but i much prefer the feel of wanaka – Qtown has a commercial feel due to the much larger volumes of tour groups and buses…. then again the nightlife there is fantastic, so it’s a tossup!
eating and drinking:
The Federal Diner
This is a terribly groovy cafe on one of wanaka’s main streets. they make beautiful coffee with yummy emporio beans, fantastic breakfast and lunch food, and their ‘world famous in wanaka’ scones, of which you can choose cheese or date. (date all the way!!)
My favourite dish = rock it salad – rocket leaves, nectarine, toasted almonds, goats cheese, prosciutto and balsamic dressing. food of the gods! and a tulip flat white is essential.
this is also super central – not hard to do seeing as there’s like 4 streets of shops in wanaka. anyway, i love coming to urban grind for coffee! the man who started it up reportedly couldn’t find a coffee in town he rated, so he decided to make his own cafe! while service isn’t always consistent, the coffee is good, the hot chocolates are served with a whittakers sante bar (amazing!) and the smoothies are amazing.
favourite = tulip flat white and an orange sticky bun (pricy, but delish).
Red Star Burgers
red star burgers make the most monster, gourmet burgers ever! step aside velvet burger and burger fuel, these are truly enormous. take away and eat on the shores of the lake.
favourite = BBQ beef with fresh pineapple – and a side of their scrumptious kumara chips to share (you won’t need them, but you’ll want them!)
Francesca’s Italian Kitchen
This is a fairly new addition to the wanaka scene for the old guard like me ;) but speedily became one of the favourites! They make incredible pizza, pasta and antipasto and the restaurant itself is beautiful. it is very hard to stop at one of their ultimate gin and tonics if you are a g&t gal like me!
Favourite dish = any! the mushroom pizza or the pear and blue cheese are both divine.
have you ever wanted the atmosphere and large screen of a cinema, with the snuggly couch and warm cookies of your home? paradiso is for you! a veritable institution in wanaka, which boasts comfy old sofas for seats, an intermission at half time for freshly baked, bigger than your head cookies, and more! a holiday to wanaka is incomplete without a visit to paradiso – we went last night to Exodus and i, as always, loved it.
favourite thing = free water and warm chocolate chip cookies- yum!
Stand up paddleboarding
i only did this for the first time the other day, and it is fantastic! when you fancy yourself a bit of a local, it can hold you back from doing ‘touristy’ activities which was such a mistake in this case. paddle boarding is brilliant! and i’m not just saying that because i was surprisingly good at it for someone with generally appalling balance. you stand up on these huge surfboard shaped boards, with one paddle that you manoeuvre yourself around with. great fun, and a nice alternative to kayaking.
horse trekking isn’t something i do all the time in wanaka, because it is expensive, but it is super super fun and enjoyable if you like that kind of thing! the landscape and countryside you ride through is breathtaking.
i went through a deeply embarrassing horse phase from the ages of 5 – 10 in which i read saddle club and other such literature religiously, nibbled the field at school with my fellow horse enthusiasts and groomed the arms of the sofa with the grooming kit my parents friends kindly gifted me. oh man. my family took pity on me and i was given horse treks for christmas about 3 years in a row, which i just adored. don’t worry, they’re still fun even when you’re not a colour coordinated 9 year old (i guess..;)
ps- there really is no bad time to visit- in summer swimming and boating on the lake, in autumn walks amongst the spectacular tawny poplars, in winter amazing skiing/snowboarding….