Won­ders of Wanaka

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page - LOUISE MYER

STAY: Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet A haven away from city life in the de­light­ful re­sort town of Wanaka on New Zealand’s South Is­land, with breath­tak­ing views; wharekealodge.com.

EAT: Francesca’s Piz­zas The wood-fired piz­zas from this mo­bile trailer based in Brown­ston Street are the best in New Zealand — and they de­liver; francescaspiz­zas.com.

SEE: Rip­pon Vine­yard One of Cen­tral Otago’s cel­e­brated winer­ies, with a strik­ing rammed-earth and tim­ber tast­ing room, it has fab­u­lous views and runs an an­nual out­door sculp­ture ex­hi­bi­tion and a bi­en­nial mu­sic con­cert; rip­pon.co.nz.

WILDER­NESS ES­CAPE: Siberia Ex­pe­ri­ence The South Is­land is all about ad­ven­ture and this ex­pe­ri­ence will im­merse you in the most spec­tac­u­lar scenery, from moun­tains and glaciers to val­leys and rain­forests. It in­volves a flight in a light air­craft to the re­mote Siberia Val­ley, then a three-hour walk through beech for­est and a jet­boat ride back; siberi­aex­pe­ri­ence.co.nz.

SHOP: Rac­ers Edge I al­ways buy a few pieces of out­door cloth­ing or gear here. The owner, Shaker, is a great friend and he stocks se­lected in­ter­na­tional prod­ucts to com­ple­ment his New Zealand range; rac­ersedge.co.nz.

STOCK UP: The Mediter­ranean Whole­sale Mar­ket This es­tab­lish­ment sells su­perb lo­cal pro­duce, as well as se­lected im­ported foods. Out­side the main shop­ping precinct, this mar­ket is off the tourist radar; 50 Reece Cres; +64 3 443 4181.

ES­CAPE: Kayak­ing on Makarora River The ideal es­cape is get­ting away from peo­ple and tech­nol­ogy and this guided kayak trip to the Makarora River’s spec­tac­u­lar Blue Pools and gorge is per­fect for that. You stop to fish in glacial water so clear you can see the trout, although that doesn’t mean they are easy to catch; alpinekayaks.co.nz.

IN­DULGE: As­pir­ing He­li­copters This com­pany of­fers a fab­u­lous flight through the South­ern Alps to Fiord­land and the West Coast, which in­cludes land­ing on the beach and on the glaciers — the con­trast is mind-blow­ing. The tour ends with a high alpine pic­nic and walk; as­pir­inghe­li­copters.co.nz.

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