Wanting a good reason for a long weekend in Wanaka? Gather the girls and head to Maple Lodge for a long weekend of food, wine and relaxation. The Girls’ Weekend itinerary showcases the great selection of cuisine in Wanaka, as well as some time to appreciate the beautiful scenery.
Day 1 – Arrival No doubt there will be lots to catch up on with your besties after checking in mid-afternoon. Order your groceries to be delivered to Maple Lodge so you’re all set to unwind with the girls for your weekend away. The patio at Maple Lodge is a great spot to enjoy a cheese platter and a few vinos for an afternoon of chatter and laughs. Stroll around the expansive lawns to appreciate the scope of the gardens and enjoy the mountain views. With a fully-equipped kitchen, there’s room for several to prepare some food for a relaxing evening in. More relaxing still, order in takeaways with Wanaka’s version of Uber Eats – Wanafeed. Not just your usual ‘takeaway’ food, some of Wanaka’s most popular restaurants are on the menu.
Day 2 – Exercise and some retail therapy Mt Iron is one of Wanaka’s most popular short walks. An hour and a half round trip at an easy pace, the hike will get your heart rate going on your way to the top for 360 degree views. You’ll take in the areas surrounding both Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, as well as towards the Cromwell basin and up the Cardrona Valley. Want something a little easier on the heartrate and knees? Head for a walk towards the Cardrona River right from Maple Lodge. Cross over at Pawsons Bridge into Albert Town and continue along the Clutha River for as long as you fancy.
Time to head into the town centre to re-energise with brunch! There are plenty of great cafes to choose from and several with superb views along the lakefront. Wanaka boasts a range of boutique shops from clothing to gifts, homewares, and outdoor adventure. Don’t forget to pop into the several galleries to see beautiful works from local artists. Fill in the rest of your day with a swim in the lake during summer or there are several local wineries to visit and enjoy a tasting in cooler months. For dinner, head out for divine French cuisine at Bistro Gentil or share plates at the Asian fusion restaurant, Fudog. Day 3 – Touring and Relaxation Spend the morning sightseeing on a drive up to the Blue Pools. About an hour’s journey from Maple Lodge, you will drive along the shores of the breath-taking Lake Hawea before crossing the neck and continuing lakeside to the top of Lake Wanaka. The Blue Pools carpark is just north of Makarora. You will walk a short 10 minutes to view the crystal clear, aqua-coloured waters, where the Makarora River meets the Blue River. If you’re after something a bit more active for your sightseeing morning, hire bikes from town or take a biking tour to enjoy the Wanaka to Hawea track. One-way from Wanaka will cover approx. 25km, or 16km from Maple Lodge. From town you will follow the lake around to the Outlet and down the picturesque Clutha River to Albert Town. Cross the one-way bridge and follow the Hawea River towards Lake Hawea. The easy-winding trail takes you across open country and past the Hawea ‘wave’, a popular surfing spot on the river. After a big morning of sight-seeing, we think it is finally time for some pampering at one of Wanaka’s several day spas. Alternatively, call in a YIN instructor for a class before soaking in the spa pool at the lodge. Enjoy your last dinner in Wanaka at the popular Italian restaurant, Francesca’s, or share tapas at award-winning Kika.