Wanaka Photo credit: Shotover Media

Wanaka sits on the southern shores of Lake Wanaka in the Otago region of New Zealand. Just a 40-minute drive away from Queenstown, the town claims to be the world’s first ‘lifestyle reserve’.

Spectacular mountains, a beautiful lake and #thatwanakatree, a very photogenic willow tree growing out of the lake; Wanaka is a landscape photographer’s dream.

Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea lie side by side, carved out by glaciers over 10,000 years ago. Early Maori used the region as a summer base for hunting and fishing.

The town was originally settled during the 19th Century gold rush and was named Pembroke after a British Colonial Secretary. Farming was the main source of income for the town, the world’s first sheepdog trials were purportedly held there in 1867.

1867 also saw the opening of Wanaka’s first hotel, which quickly became popular as visitors flocked to enjoy boat tours of the spectacular lake and the surrounding vistas. Wanaka remains one of New Zealand’s top tourist destinations. It’s a hugely popular ski resort in winter due to its proximity to Treble Cone and Cardrona ski areas and is the gateway to Mount Aspiring National Park.

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