Wanaka, the place we call home.

The name Wanaka derives from the South Island pronunciation of Wananga, meaning place of learning. Located in the south of the South Island, right in the middle of the stunning Southern Alps, this township has been a lifestyle destination for generations.

During the Ice Age, the glacial ice began carving our unique landscape and as the ice retreated, it left us with the beautiful mountains, lakes, fjords and rivers that you see today. In the 18th century, Maori from the Ngai Tahu iwi used the lake shores for a settlement. Women raised children in the summertime while men were fishing and seeking Pounamu Greenstone on the West Coast. In 1853, the first Pākehā, ‘non-native’ in Te Reo Maori, guided by the Chief Reko, arrived at Grandview Range and ten years later in 1863 Pembroke, as Wanaka was then known, was surveyed and the first European settlement started around what is now Albert Town. From then Wanaka has grown steadily. At first, the area was used primarily for agriculture, hunting and fishing; the roads weren’t the best in the world and it took days to get to Dunedin, which was the main port. It was in the late 60s and early 70s that the area really began to take off, with holidaymakers investing in baches and holiday houses for their summer vacations with the family.

The early 80s saw the ski fields open and Wanaka begin to take on its modern, more familiar shape.

Since the turn of the century and the growth of the Internet, the town really has boomed. Since 1996 the population of Wanaka has tripled, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down, with an unprecedented building and tourism boom in the past few years.

Everyone is here for the same thing; the unique, incredible lifestyle. Talk to us and we’ll give you a taste of it…

Interesting facts:

  • Population: 7850
  • Wanaka was called Pembroke until 1940 and hence we have a street, park and shops named after the old settlement
  • Queenstown and Queenstown Airport: 1-hour drive
  • Cardrona/ Treble Cone/ Snow Farm ski fields: 40 mins to the top
  • Sydney/Melbourne: 3-hours from Queenstown Airport
  • London/Paris: 30+ hours to Queenstown Airport!
  • Wanaka doesn’t have any traffic lights and only started adding roundabouts in 2010!
  • Elevation: 290m above sea level
  • The lake is 311m deep, 45.5km long, 192 square kilometres, that’s quite a bit of water…
  • Mount Aspiring is 3033m high
  • More breweries per capita than anywhere else in New Zealand, and we’re quite proud of it
  • The Lake has an average temperature of 8-10 degrees Celsius year round