Wanaka, in the centre of New Zealand's south island and on the southern tip of Lake Wanaka, is a popular resort town during both summer and winter. Its surrounding mountains and lakes and endless outdoor activities are magnets to adventurers. Enthusiasts can ski, snowboard, skydive, paraglide, snowmobile, swim, sail, water ski, jet-boat, go white-water rafting, take 4WD safaris, fish, ride horses and play golf and tennis.
But you don't have to be super active to enjoy Wanaka many people go there to enjoy the lakes, bays, arts, crafts and to just absorb the area's natural beauty.
Wanaka is the gateway to Mt Aspiring National Park, named after one of New Zealand's highest peaks. It is two thousand square kilometres of mountains, glaciers, river valleys and alpine lanes, much loved by hikers, mountaineers and heli-skiers.
The Maori people once travelled trails here in search of pounamu (greenstone), valued as a material for tools, weapons and ornaments. Europeans farmed many of the valleys and dug for minerals, particularly scheelite.
Treble Cone is spread over three basins and is envied by many other ski areas for its excellent skiing. It's just a 35-minute drive from Wanaka township and 90 minutes from Queenstown. Daily shuttle services operate from both towns.
Its free-riding and off-piste skiing are legendary, with powder snow unrivalled in New Zealand thanks to its height. It is good for beginners but also offers a challenge to the most experienced skiers and snowboarders.
After a hard day on the snow, Oakridge Pool & Spa Resort is just two minutes from Wanaka. Its 1.5 hectare grounds are in a mountain setting with heated rockpool and health spa, petanque court, barbecues and play area.
Each of the 27 one or two-bedroom ensuite serviced apartments has full kitchen facilities, dining/lounge room, outdoor decks and guest toilet. The use of granite, underfloor heating, quality carpeting and parquet flooring make the accommodation attractive and comfortable.
Oakridge Restaurant and Bar offers outdoor dining in warm months, indoors in winter. A double-sided fireplace and views of the majestic Southern Alps add to the ambience. Innovative New Zealand cuisine is on the menu.
Around 1½ hours north-east of Queenstown.
Oakridge Pool & Spa Resort rooms start at around $125 per night.
Treble Cone has two-hour skiing and snowboarding lessons starting at around $65 per person.
Flight Centre has return economy airfares to Queenstown with Air New Zealand starting at $666 per person from Sydney, including taxes. They are valid for sale and travel until November 11, 2005.
Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.
Oakridge Pool & Spa Resort
Cardrona Valley and Studholme Roads
Wanaka, New Zealand
Ph: 64 3 443 7707
Fax: 64 3 443 7750
PO Box 206
Ph: 64 3 443 7443
Fax: 64 3 443 8401
Air New Zealand
Ph: (02) 9235 9960
Fax: (02) 9325 9946