Hike along Wanaka's Waterfall Creek Track

New Zealand Millenium Track

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This track is easily accessed from Wanaka township and offers continuous views of beautiful Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains. Within the first 1.5km of the track you pass "that Wanaka tree" and also come upon Rippon's iconic vineyard and winery.

The Waterfall Creek Track is a well-formed track without any major undulations that can be enjoyed by foot or bike. It's family- and dog-friendly, and is perhaps the most heavily walked stretch of Wanaka's shoreline.

Within the first few hundred meters along the Waterfall Creek track you'll come upon 'that Wanaka tree", which is one of the most photographed (and Instagrammed!) trees in the world, for good reason. The tree stands alone, trunk-deep in Lake Wanaka, with the beautiful mountains behind it. It's popular among photographers at all times of year since it wears each season well. It stands as a leafless silhouette in winter, it dons its fluorescent new growth in spring and its lush green coat in summer, and it's as golden as an Aspen in autumn.....so bring a camera!

Beyond #ThatWanakaTree, the track continues lakeside, passing Edgewater Resort and its cafe, which is conveniently located for those enjoying a morning stroll and in need of a caffeine fix. Great views of Mount Iron can be found looking back, and alongside the track you can usually spot some brightly colored kayaks and maybe even a hammock with a view. If you're there in spring or summer, you'll see brightly colored lupins along the lakeshore, and if you're there in autumn you'll get to enjoy all the golden poplars lining the track. It goes without saying that you get to enjoy the snow-capped peaks in winter!

Just over a kilometer from the track start you come upon a vineyard (on your left) and a small sign indicating the detour to the Rippon WInery tasting room. For those interested in tasting some biodynamic Central Otago wine and enjoying breathtaking views, take the 15 minute detour, and after passing alongside the vines don't let the final uphill stretch to the winery discourage you. I suggest tasting the wines and picking your favorite to accompany a picnic lunch outside the winery. Even for those not terribly interested in wine and/or wine tasting, I would still encourage you to visit the winery for the views of Lake Wanaka, Ruby Island, and the snow-capped peaks.

But if you're not interested in the winery detour, you can continue along the beautiful track, which hugs the lake until you get to the Waterfall Creek carpark (which is the turnaround point if you want your roundtrip adventure to be 5km). The track continues for another ~10km from the Waterfall Creek carpark to Glendu Bay in case you're up for a longer adventure.

For more Wanaka tracks info (with map!), click here. More info on the Rippon winery is here.

Pack List

  • Picnic lunch (optional, but encouraged...)
  • Comfortable shoes for walking/running
  • Mountain bike for biking
  • Camera or smartphone for photo-documenting ;)
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Activities:

Photography, Mountain Biking, Running, Hiking

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

3.1 Miles

Rating:

Features:

Adult Beverages
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Groups
Lake
Picnic Area
Scenic
Wildflowers

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How to Get There

about 1 year ago

Easy walk

The weather was pretty crap so we decided not to tackle Roys Peak, the Waterfall Creek was a great alternative. Cruising right along the shoreline was awesome to see the lake. At night it cleared up and the stars were simply phenomenal to see over Lake Wanaka and the town.

about 1 year ago

Added by Maggie Evans

California-born trail runner, backpacker, and outdoor adventure-seeker living in New Zealand.

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