Hike Lake Wanaka and Photograph the Famous Tree

Millenium Track

This hike is starts right in town, has views of Mt Aspiring and the iconic Wanaka Tree.

To begin this hike park in the lakeside lot on the west edge of town and begin walking counter-clockwise around Lake Wanaka. The first destination you will reach is the famed Wanaka Tree, which is easily recognized by the crowds of people around it taking photos. 

A few tips for maximizing your opportunity to photograph this surreal and fanciful tree:
a) Sunrise is the time to be there, there are fewer crowds and the light tends to illuminate the three and alpine backdrop well.
b) Try long exposures to smooth out the water and give the clouds a dynamic feel. Use an ND filter if you need.
c) Low wind is ideal, It allows for reflections and soft waves with long exposures. If the leaves are blowing, you cant really take a long exposure.
d) Experiment with walking farther down the beach and using a telephoto lens.

Moving on, you will pass under Roys Peak as the trail continues Dampier Bay which has many nice small beaches. Continue walking the lakeshore towards Glendhu Bay and eventually you will be able to see four big snowy mountains; Black Peak, Fog Peak, Avalanche Peak and Mt Aspiring.

Where the trail meets the road at the Glendhu Bay Parking area is a great turn around point.

Pack List

  • The 10 Essentials
  • Camera and tripod 
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RT Distance 13.7 Miles
Elevation Gain 0 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Swimming Hole


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Overall rating: 

A New Zealand must do!

Wanaka quickly became my favorite town in New Zealand and this tree just adds to the charm. Although somewhere in that lake now lies my gopro (which is kinda cool cause a piece of me is always there now)

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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