Friendly and vibrant, Wanaka is experiencing tremendous growth and is becoming an increasingly popular place for families to reside in and bring up their children in the beautiful Central Otago surrounds and the opportunities it presents for all family members. Considered one of New Zealand's best all seasons resort, Wanaka is located in the Southern Lakes region of the lower South Island and is nestled on the shores of a stunning clear lake with breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains, including the towering Mount Aspiring.
Wanaka has a base population of approximately 8,900 people which swells to over 35,000 during the ski season and during summer holidays. Albert Town, Hawea and Luggate are all within 15 minutes drive from Wanaka and give families more options for ideal living locations depending on personal choice.
Wanaka has an exciting early history and was once a small Maori settlement during the summer seasons of the 1800's. It is believed that Nathaniel Chalmers was the first European to see the lake in 1853. The famous gold rushes in Central Otago introduced a huge demand for timber at the lake, however when gold was discovered in nearby Cardrona Valley, hundreds of miners were ferried across the Clutha. However, most of the gold rush activity in the area declined in the late 1870's. Wanaka was originally named Pembroke but the town was renamed Wanaka in 1940.