Wanaka is without a doubt a photographers paradise, there’s no two ways about it. You can tell by the amount of professional photographers who not only host their workshops here but come here to get shots for their portfolios in their “spare time". I have been lucky enough so far to meet these 3 pillars of photography Joshua Cripps, Chris Burkard, Trey Ratcliff and if you don’t know who these people are you probably should!!!
It may get a little overcrowded at the best spots sometimes, but everybody in Wanaka is super friendly and would definitely make space for one more tripod if you asked nicely. Plus photographers are normally swell people so don’t be too shy.
I've spent two months in Wanaka and was consistently flabbergasted by the amount of photo opportunities that keep cropping up in and around town. The action never stops here, even the roads to Wanaka are amongst some of the most scenic in the south island.
So when (not if) you come to Wanaka you’re going to need to know where to go. Here’s my one day plan for you which features some of the best spots in town.
Greet the sun from Mount Iron - Sunrise
Mount Iron or any hill around that sort of area is a fantastic spot for sunrise. Thankfully you don't have to wake up that early as it only takes 45 minutes to get to the top. At you top you will be rewarded with a 360 view over Wanaka, Albert Town and Mount Aspiring National Park in the North.
Hike to your hearts content - Day time
Roy's Peak or Isthmus Peak are probably my two favourite walks in Wanaka but there are so many others around here. Check out other walks in the area here. The scenery that these walks offer is the fundamental reason I came to New Zealand, enjoying snow capped mountains erupting from placid lakes whilst you basque in glorious sunshine is the reason I travelled to the other side of the world and boy was it worth it.
Go get some snow - Daytime
If hiking seems like too much effort, get over to the best ski fields in the southern hemisphere, Treble Cone and Cardrona. Treble Cone offers incredible off piste fresh powder action where as Cardrona is more park orientated with huge jumps, rails and grind boxes.
Watch the sky change colour - Sunset
Where are the sunsets best? At that Wanaka tree of course. Where else would you go for sunset really? The most photographed tree in the world is very unique and very special. Just a stones throw from the Stoney Creek Car Park the lone willow tree stands strong against the currents of the lake.
Go Go Go Astro - Night time
Wanaka isn’t a dark sky reserve but the population of 7,000 people don’t create that much light pollution so astrophotography is a must here. The further you go away from the city lights the better and as Wanaka is so small, it doesn't take that long to get to a pitch black viewpoint where you can enjoy the full extent of what the milky way has to offer.
I’m up all night to get lucky
There’s always something going on in Wanaka, whether its an aurora storm, crazy cloud formation, bike race, skiing competition, music festival or even an airshow. You have to be ready to photograph anything thats Wanaka throws your way.
Well I hope I didn't make you too jealous with the fact that I live here at the moment. Actually who am I kidding I hope you're green with envy. if you're planning a trip to New Zealand, Wanaka should be quite high on your list of priorities. Come and give us a visit and you won't be disappointed.
HAS ANYBODY ELSE GOT ANY COOL RECOMMENDATIONS OF THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN WANAKA?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jack Bolshaw is, in his eyes, a relatively young English vagabond and contributor to www.inafarawayland.com with a big bug for travelling and an even bigger ginger beard. In his lifetime he's been a cook, barman, cleaner, security guard, tour guide, salesman, operations manager, promoter, fire performer, receptionist and, most exciting of all, photographer. After graduating from university in 2011 he set sails on conquering the world, hoping to see as much as possible for as little as possible. Follow him on Instagram and Facebook.