Wanaka may be a small town, but it has a lot to offer! Situated in the Otago region of the South Island of New Zealand, it’s most famously known for it’s crystal clear lake – Lake Wanaka. It’s the fourth-largest lake in New Zealand and is the centre of this quiet town.
Wanaka promotes itself as being the world’s first lifestyle reserve and it’s easy to see why!
One thing I’ve always wanted to do is go horseback riding. There are quite a few guided tours on horseback on offer in town, and it all comes down to the kind of experience you’re after.
My sister and I had never been on horse back before (if you don’t count a pony ride at a school fate when I was four), so we were looking for an easy ride. We also both love a good drop of wine, and why not take advantage of being in one of the best wine countries in the world and combine both?
Timber Creek Equestrian Centre gave us everything we were looking for. Owner Carol was incredibly warm and welcoming, and made us feel right at ease in our saddles. You could tell that horses were a big part of her life, which made our morning all the more special. When she introduced us it was like being introduced to members of her family, and weren’t they beautiful!
The trek was slow (especially with steady as he goes Boffin trailing at the back, with my sister), but this just meant that we were able to take in so much more of the truly beautiful surroundings. Cascading waterfalls down the faces of surrounding mountains, the vast glistening lake and rugged landscape. Timber Creek takes you on a scenic trek through the Rippon Vineyard, which sits right along the lakes edge. We were lucky enough to have bright blue skies above us and spot rabbits hopping about the property, our horses taking us in under giant pine trees and past rows and rows of vines. Carol has such wonderful knowledge about the local area and is patient as you get comfortable on your ride. I thrilled my inner child when we raised the pace to a steady gallop up one side of the property – you couldn’t have wiped the smile off my face if you tried!
At the end of the tour, we made our way up to the tasting house for our included tasting. There were a few really gorgeous blends so of course I walked out with one in hand! (Their Sauvignon Blanc, in case you were wondering).
We capped off our wonderful morning with a walk in the nearby Wanaka Station Park.
LAKE & LAND ADVENTURES
With such stunning scenery around you, why would you not want to spend as much time out amongst it as you can?!
If you’re a fan of the outdoors, Lakeland Adventures provides all of the equipment you need to really make the most of them. Mountain bikes, paddle boats, canoes and kayaks – it’s got them all! They also offer lake cruises, island visits, bush walks and boat charters should that also tickle your fancy.
After taking five on the lakes edge with an order of fish and chips, Ashlea and I took some time out on the water in a paddle boat, before setting off on one of the many bike tracks around the lake. We made the most of our hire time, hopping off our bikes and taking in the views or jumping on wooden swings off gigantic trees, waving hello to the many locals that were out walking their dogs. We capped off our day of lakeside adventures with skyscraper ice cream cones, sitting amongst an adorable army of sparrows.