Wanaka is big and popular enough to have some really big festivals plus a complete range of great bars and clubs to entertain anyone looking for an enjoyable and entertaining holiday.
For a relaxed drink and friendly atmosphere you might want to check out bars such as Scruffy Murphy’s (for the cheapest beers in town), or perhaps a game of pool at the Red Rock before dancing the night away at Shooters with the ‘younger set’. For a more stylish evening you might want to enjoy an expensive but genuinely divine cocktail (or two) at Apartment 1, which is Wanaka’s only pure, while Barluga has to be the most upmarket bar in Wanaka with comfy leather couches, huge fire and a laid-back atmosphere.
However Wanaka isn’t just about bars and clubs! Wanaka is building a reputation for fabulous events that can leave the township with no empty beds! A prime example of this would have to be Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow. Held every second year over the Easter long weekend at Wanaka Airport, Wanaka truly bursts at the seams with visitors from all around the world in town for one reason… the renowned Warbirds over Wanaka Airshow!
The Rippon Music Festival is another biannual event that has built a strong following. Held every second year over Waitangi weekend within the unique setting of Rippon Vineyard. This open-air concert showcases some of the best musical talent in New Zealand and features many big names along with new talent. The Rippon After Party is also popular and boasts some great bands and musicians ready to jam until the small hours.
On a smaller scale, Wanakafest is a great time to enjoy a few days of Wanaka celebrations, including market days, street performances, wearable arts, food galore and a genuine family orientated party atmosphere. The Festival of Colour is another popular local festival. Organised by the Southern Lakes Arts Festival and held during autumn in Wanaka, this event brings together a wonderful program of music, theatre, dance, exhibitions and films.
Movies and live theatre are also on the entertainment menu at Cinema Paradiso. This small, classic movie theatre plays top movies in a unique setting and has even scored a thumbs up rave in The Lonely Planet Travel Guide!
During Winter many of the local ski fields celebrate with festivals, events and competitions, therefore no matter what time of the year you choose to visit Wanaka, there is always plenty to keep you entertained!