Active New Zealand: Wanaka
From 14/12/2023 to 04/05/2025
Combine the best cycling, hiking and kayaking experiences that Otago has to offer from one central base in stunning Wanaka.
Spend a morning hiking to the dramatic hanging glaciers beneath the towering Rob Roy Peak then kick back at a local winery where you’ll meet the winemaker and learn the local craft.
Hike to a lake within an island in a lake on an island, looking out for rare birds and insects along the way, then cool off with a swim in crystal clear waters.
Cycle a spectacular brand-new track along man-made wooden trails secured to the bottom of sheer rock faces – arguably the best bit of cycling trail in Otago!.
Experience the beauty of Lake Wanaka from a different perspective as you take a guided kayaking tour across its waters, surrounded by unforgettable mountain views.
By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, World Bicycle Relief.
Donations provide school kids, health workers, and farmers in far-out areas with bicycles that provide access to education, healthcare, and income.
Breakfasts Included: 3.
Hotel (3 nights).
Age: min 18.
Group Size: 1 - 12.
Guided Cycling tour of surrounding area.
Leader-led orientation walk.
Private Boat to Mou Waho Island.
Flat Water Kayaking.
Mou Waho Island Hike.
Mount Iron guided hike.
Guided Hike to Rob Roy Glacier.
Maude Winery tasting room.
Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge.
Lake Dunstan Cycling Trail guided tour.
Itinerary / more information
1 - Queenstown Kia Ora and welcome to Wanaka! Your action-packed adventure begins with a pickup in a centrally located spot in Queenstown at 10am. Chat with your leader and fellow travellers as you make the short drive to historic Arrowtown. Put on the map by the gold-rush of the mid-19th century, many heritage buildings, old cottages and relics of the town's history remain today. Stop at a local cafe for a welcome meeting where your leader will give you a briefing on the days ahead, then hop aboard a bicycle for a 32km (3-4 hour) cycling tour of the region. Your leader will regale you with stories of the surrounding area and its past as you pedal through equally fascinating scenery. This afternoon, make your way by vehicle across the Crown Range to the Cardrona Valley, tucked between two mountain ranges and a perfect place for a coffee (or beer) stop. Hit the road again for the final stretch to Wanaka, then settle into your accommodation. Before dinner, you can stretch your legs on a short introductory walk with your local leader and discover #thatwanakatree - the willow that inspired a thousand pictures. Time permitting you may choose to continue your stroll along the Millennium Trail to Waterfall Creek or up to Rippon Winery. Tonight you may like to join your group for dinner at a local restaurant, or perhaps venture out on your own.
2 - Hike Mt Rise early and take the 5km track (approximately 1.5 hours) up the nearby Mt Iron. The gravelly track can be steep in places, but the hike is well worth it as the 250m-high rocky knoll provides an unforgettable 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape. Hike back down to the Wanaka waterfront to take a private boat across the glittering waters of Lake Wanaka to Mou Waho island. Here you'll find a real anomaly - an island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island. Take a short hike up to a viewpoint from where you can admire the unique landscape from a different perspective. Keep an eye out for weka along the way - this predator free island has been used as a conservation site for these charming little flightless birds that have been extinct on the mainland since the 1920s. Even the bugs here are special, and you may be lucky enough to stumble across a giant weta. Perhaps cool off with a dip in the beautiful Arethusa Lake, then soak in your surroundings over lunch on the island. After hiking back down, leave Mou Waho behind and take your boat across the lake before arriving back to Wanaka. Get ready for a change of pace and terrain this afternoon as you rest your legs and enjoy an upper body workout during a kayaking tour of Lake Wanaka. This gently paced, guided tour will take you across flat water from Roy's Bay and across the waters of Lake Wanaka, with magnificent mountain views wherever you look. Paddle out to Ruby Island, once home to exotic cabaret shows in the 1920's, and feel the sand (okay, pebbles!) between your toes before returning to Wanaka for a relaxing evening.
3 - Wanaka After fuelling up with breakfast, lace up your hiking boots for a walk like no other. Have your camera at the ready for a scenic 1-hour drive along the winding Matukituki River, arriving at the trail head of the Rob Roy track. While mostly uphill, the track is gradual and pretty easy going - the views of Mount Aspiring National Park and the dramatic alpine landscape of snowfields, glaciers, sheer rock cliffs and waterfalls will take your breath away more than the walk will! Your 3 to 4-hour hike follows Rob Roy stream over swing bridges, through beech forest and a lush understorey of ferns and mosses before giving way to alpine vegetation and spectacular views of the hanging glaciers beneath the towering 2644m-high Rob Roy Peak. The glaciers are active and from the safety of the viewing point you can watch and listen for avalanches and other signs of movement. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the viewing point, but be sure to keep a keen eye out for crafty kea (mountain parrots) who might make a grab for your lunch! Continue back down the now mostly downhill track then drive back towards Wanaka. This afternoon you'll be rewarded for the day's efforts during a visit the renowned Maude Wines for a wine tasting. This family-owned wine company is a true local icon that have been producing hand crafted Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc wines from their nearby Mt Maude vineyard for almost 30 years.
4 - Lake Dunstan Cycling Trail After breakfast, say a final goodbye to Wanaka, then drive on to historic Clyde. From here, take a shuttle to Cromwell, located on the shores of the mirror-like Lake Dunstan, and saddle up for a bike ride with a difference. While the nearby classic Otago Rail Trail hogs the headlines, locals have been busy at work adding an exciting new section of trail - the Lake Dunstan Walking and Cycling Trail. Be among the first to ride this new trail as you cycle from Old Cromwell Town to Clyde (approximately 38kms, 3-4 hours). This inspiring trail is exposed in places and includes some challenging ups and downs as well as flat terrain while you take in wonderful views of the lake and pass delightful vineyards. From here things get really interesting as you ride into the Cromwell Gorge along man-made wooden trails secured to the bottom of sheer rock faces - perhaps the most remarkable stretch of cycling trail in Otago! Cruise the final few kilometres past the Clyde Dam and into the small town of Clyde, where your ride comes to an end. Drive towards Queenstown, stopping off at the 19th century Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge, birthplace of bungy jumping, to witness people leap from the equivalent of a 10-storey building secured by a giant elastic band. Your trip comes to an end on arrival in Queenstown at approximately 5pm. If you have extra time to spend in Queenstown, make sure to get out and take advantage of the numerous adventure activities on offer.
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