Wanaka is charming town in the south island of New Zealand. Known for its beautiful surroundings, it’s situated by the side of Wanaka Lake with plenty of activities to keep you entertained. The town itself is small and you can easily get around on foot to sample one of their many cafes and restaurants. There’s even an old-style cinema that serves warm, straight-out-of-the-oven cookies during an old fashion intermisson! We’re not kidding. The whole cinema smells like cookies. Already found the perfect villa? Good on you! Had a look at things to do in and around town? Excellent! If you’re wondering how to get around, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some useful tips on transport possibilities!

Getting to Wanaka

Getting around Wanaka: bus, taxi or rental car?
Photo by Mark Mialik on Unsplash

Wanaka is just a 1-hour drive from Queenstown. There are 3 international airports in relative close proximity to Wanaka: Queenstown Airport (ZQN), Dunedin (DUD) and Christchurch (CHC). The most convenient one is Queenstown as it is the nearest. If you land in one or the other of the 2 airports, although a bit further, you’ll enjoy a stunning, picturesque drive to Wanaka. 

From the airport, there are several options to get to Wanaka:

Bus

Transportation in Wanaka - Wanaka bus
Credit: yello.co.nz

There are frequent bus services running from Queenstown and Dunedin to Wanaka. You can use Alpine Connexions, Connectabus or InterCity. The fares start at NZD$35 and they have drop-off (and pick-ups) at the main ski areas.

Train

From Queenstown, you can hop on the train to get to Wanaka and get there in no time. The price for a one-way ticket is NZD$26. Dunedin Railways offers a beautiful train ride to Wanaka for NZD$50.

By Car

You can also get a private driver or rent a car at the airport and drive to Wanaka yourself. Coming from Queenstown, head to Crown Range Road and Cardrona Valley Road. When coming from Dunedin, take State Highway 8.

Getting Around in Wanaka

Get those legs moving and explore the centre of town on foot. It is very pedestrian-friendly town so there is no excuse not to go walk around and explore. Feeling tired after all those hikes and outdoor adventures? A quicker way to get around is renting a bicycle (mountain biking is great in this area!!) or you can call a taxi to get your from A to B, safe and sound. What if you want to explore more the surroundings (and of course you do!)? There is no shortage of transportation options in Wanaka! Here’s a quick overview;

Taxis

Wanaka has metered taxis. Fares start at NZD$3 and each mile after costs NZ$1,73. Yello! Cabs is a great company for those in need of a taxi ride any time of the day. Call them on this number:03/443-5555. Yello! Cabs also offers services in the winter season to famous ski stations such as Cardrona and Treble Cone Ski Fields. The fee is NZD$35 for a return ticket.  

Car Rentals

Wanaka car
Credit: tommy chheng on Flickr

There are several car rental companies. Hireup, A car Wanaka and Adventure Rental Cars Wanaka are recommended. 2WD cars start from NZD$45/day and 4WD from NZD$77/day.

Related: 12 things to do in Wanaka: Make the most out of your New Zealand trip

Bus

There are free buses from Wanaka to Treble Cone Ski Field and regular shuttles to Queenstown and other towns on the southern Island in New Zealand.

How about Uber?

Whilst Uber is already up and running in Queenstown, they don’t do drop-offs and pick-ups to Wanaka for safety reasons. Stick with Yellow! Cabs, for now!

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