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A New Zealand Vacation

Posted by Release Wanaka on May 16, 2017

Would you love to visit New Zealand?

This small country in the Pacific Ocean with spectacular views, amazing food and wine and endless activities to suit everyone.

Maybe you think it is just too far away?.......it's not.  

Just a 12 hour flight from LA (no visa required if you are visiting from the U.S. for less than 3 months) and you are in Auckland with easy access to the North and South Islands. There are numerous ways of exploring, self drive car/van hire, campervan, domestic flights, bike (if you feel like a challenge), railway, bus/coach or ferries and water taxi's. New Zealand is set up for you the traveler, the holiday maker, the adventure seeker!

Although New Zealand is small and easy to get around, the hardest decision to make will be where to visit. Unless you have unlimited time here you will need to plan your trip to get the most out of your stay. There is literally, so many places, not enough time! There are various ways of doing this either before you arrive or when you are here, but, we genuinely believe that Wanaka is a must see destination and it is only a 1 hour drive from Queenstown International Airport. 

- Photo of Lake Wanaka courtesy of Lake Wanaka Tourism

This lakeside town set in the Southern Alps is a slice of paradise. No matter what time of year you visit you will not be disappointed. The scenery is stunning and the town is buzzing with superb cafes, restaurants and bars. A vacation here can be whatever you want it to be, from an adrenaline filled adventure to a relaxing, spiritual break. Here at Release we can help you to achieve your ideal vacation. Our stunning Vacation Rentals not only cater for your accommodation needs but also provide you with luxurious linens, NZ made toiletries and a fantastic welcome pack containing local wines and treats. Once you are settled into your private abode we can create a bespoke itinerary just for you and your travel companions, check out our Wanaka Fixer service on our website. Release Wanaka can make the most of your time here (at least 3 or 4 days minimum is recommended) and ensure you have lasting memories which, we all know, is what vacations are all about!

Planning a trip to Wanaka?

Posted by Release Wanaka on April 10, 2017

Visiting a new place can be intimidating, especially in Wanaka. You want to make the most of your time here but you don't know where to start.

What activities can we do? Where can we hire bikes? Where are the best places to eat? How can we entertain the kids? What unique things can we do?

Questions which cannot (Shock!! Horror!!), always be answered by a Google search!

This is why Release Wanaka have introduced their "Wanaka Fixer" service. A dedicated team of LOCALS, who have years of experience within the area.  Their extensive local knowledge and endless contacts provide you with all the answers and more. They are like a secret society working underground to find the best places and activities for you to enjoy and the best part is, you don't have to lift a finger.  They will understand your needs, discover the best itinerary for you and your group and process it all, you just need to go out and live it!

From helicopters to go carts and private chefs to mountain top buffets.....if you can think it up our "Wanaka Fixer" can sort it. Contact Release to find out more. Trust me, 'Bespoke Travel' is the way forward!

Wanaka Fixer -"Your Wanaka Fixer uses their unparalleled local knowledge, experience and connections to facilitate and enrich your travel experiences.

Our specialist Wanaka Fixers have an unparalleled local knowledge and offer a unique and diverse range of services. We specialise in creating bespoke, customised itineraries and tailor-made programs that allows you to explore Wanaka just the way you want to.

We are your eyes and ears on the ground before you arrive, your trusted local agent, your airport pick-up or hire car, your concierge, your fishing guide, your ski instructor, your private chef, and your local knowledge. We know where everything is and how to get it.

Whether you're travelling as a family on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday, a couple on a romantic getaway, or a group of friends or corporate colleagues looking for a back stage pass into one of the world's great adventure playgrounds, tell us what you're after and we will make it happen.

Want to know more? Get in touch and we can start planning your ultimate getaway."- www.releasenz.com 

 

A day in the life of a Release Wanaka Guest

Posted by Release Wanaka on March 24, 2017

So as we say goodbye to summer and the temperatures slowly drop our thoughts turn to winter. Snow, skiing, hot tubs, mulled wine, open fires......so much to look forward to!

Wanaka is the ultimate playground in winter for all you winter sports addicts. It can also be a relaxing retreat to unwind and enjoy the crisp, blue sky days surrounded by snowy peaks. Whatever your winter desires are, Release Wanaka can plan a trip to accommodate your needs.

Feeling active? Here's a typical winters day in the life of a Release Wanaka guest:

Wake up to an amazing sunrise over the lake and snow capped mountains. Have a hearty breakfast as you have a busy day ahead. If needed we can organise a private chef to cook you something up. Get on those winter woolies because you will be heading high up into the Southern Alps to experience powder like never before. A helicopter will drop you and your friends on untouched terrain, a day you will never forget. A photographer can head up with you to capture all those amazing memories and views. Lunch will be served amongst the mountains. Once you are all skied out and those legs need a rest you will be transported back to your luxurious accommodation to relax in the hot tub or warm up in the sauna (check out these properties: The Dacha, Apartment1.1, Kelliher Drive). Then, once warmed up, head into town for a slap up meal in one of many fantastic restaurants in Wanaka, but don't stay out too late as you may want to do it all again tomorrow!!

If you are feeling not so active.....maybe this is more for you:

Wake up to an amazing sunrise over the lake and snow capped mountains (sounds familiar!). Think about what you would like for breakfast while you do a few leisurely laps of the pool or maybe a hot tub to watch that amazing sunrise. Head into Wanaka to have breakfast, we can advise of the best places, just ask! Now it's time to decide how you would like to spend your day. A helicopter trip? A vineyard tour to sample many of the stunning wines from the central otago region? A cruise on Lake Wanaka? or, if you just want to chill, grab a good book, curl up and relax in front of the fire (check out these properties for ultimate relaxation: Stone Street, Sunrise Bay, Infinity Drive.) Can't be bothered getting dressed up to go out for dinner, don't worry, a private chef will come to you and serve you gourmet food in the comfort of your own luxury holiday home. Maybe now it is time to get back in that hot tub!!

Release Wanaka - Sunrise Bay

If you like the sound of being a Release Wanaka Guest, we would love to welcome you to Wanaka. There are so many ways to spend your days in this slice of paradise. Contact us to find out more  [email protected].

Release Wanaka's Top 5 Wanaka Restaurants

Posted by Release Wanaka on March 17, 2017

For all you foodie's out there, there is an abundance of good eateries in and around Wanaka. The team at Release Wanaka have put together a list of their top 5. 

1/ Bistro Gentil - With an amazing location looking over Wanaka Golf Course to the lake, Bistro Gentil has a deserved reputation for outstanding food and impressive service.

"Our menus combine the best of New Zealand produce cooked French style - à la française, with a modern twist. Join us to sample house made spreads and wines rarely offered by the glass. In addition to our carefully selected wine list, we offer twenty four wines by the glass, half glass and tasters through our Enomatic self-dispensing wine machines."

2/ Francesca's Italian Kitchen - As you enter Francesca's, a casual, laid back vibe resonates. A great place to catch up with friends with some very tasty food. Don't forget to order the polenta fries!

"At Francesca’s Italian Kitchen we are passionate about authentic Italian cuisine and hospitality. We only use the freshest produce and the finest quality local and imported ingredients."

3/ Kika - Kika is all about sharing and all about getting to taste everything. Can't decide? Try the "Just Feed Me" menu and let the chef decide for you!

"Tapas-style piccolo dishes, that are fun and seasonal; grande-sized sharing main courses, complimented by an array of contorni side dishes, topped off by home-made gelatos and sorbets. Go for the ‘Just Feed Me’ option and enjoy three courses hand-picked by the chef, which can be matched with local beers or wines."

4/ Relishes - You can't go wrong at relishes, every dish is equally as good as the next. Modern kiwi cuisine, across the road from Lake Wanaka. A local favourite!

"With an abundance of local produce, meats, eggs, and wine grown in the Otago region on our doorstep, there is no need to go further afield for ingredients that will create flavours to delight the palate. Dishes highlight seasonal produce, locally found herbs like horopito, free range eggs, and meats that come from the region, some coming from just down the road."

5/ Federal Diner - Tucked down an alley way on the main street you will find fantastic coffee and a superb all day menu. With their wonderful deli next door offering an array of take away options, you can choose to hide away in the restaurant or take your delicious choice down to the lake front.

"We’re open 7.00a.m. everyday and from Wednesday to Sunday we’ll hang around for some shared plates, hearty meals and a cheeky drink or two. Be sure to make a reservation for dinner; you don't want to miss out! We’re the place for good coffee, good food and a welcome hidey-hole in Wanaka; come and see where the locals are fueling up."

Living the High Life on Hogan

Posted by Release Wanaka on March 01, 2017

Release Wanaka - Hogan Lane sits high on the side of a bank looking towards the lake and mountains. With upside down living this property makes the most of its spectacular views. Hogan Lane has recently been completed, so it is brand spanking new. The bedrooms are generous and the bathrooms are slick, including a huge tiled shower in the en-suite with funky black tapware. Sleeping 8 adults, this would be a great pad for a friends get together!

The open plan living area opens up to a large decked balcony, a perfect location for drinks and nibbles at any time of day as it looks out to the view. At the rear, the doors open to a terraced garden with outdoor seating and BBQ. The guys could cook up a storm out the back while the girls sit on the balcony sipping a nice savvy in the sun or maybe a cocktail as the sun sets (just a suggestion)!!

Location is also key with Hogan Lane. It is walking distance to town and the lake (our 'Wanaka Fixer' can advise you of all the sneaky shortcuts) and if you are a Mountain Biker (or would like to be), 'Sticky Forest' is just around the corner, a fun network of forest trails for all abilities.

Release Wanaka - Hogan Lane would be a fantastic base to explore the Wanaka area with your mates. We still have dates available for April including Easter, so get in quick, contact us now!!

Wanaka's Beer Industry

Posted by Release Wanaka on February 20, 2017

Wanaka's beer industry is tastier than ever. With no fewer that 6 micro breweries in this small town, it is becoming a beer connoisseur's destination. Micro breweries are fast taking over the beer industry and why wouldn't they with flavour and quality at the top of their list. In 2017 these 6 businesses are set to brew 300,000L collectively. From "Jabberwocky" to "Mojo Pin" to "Lunatic Fringe", the choice is huge and the taste is even bigger.

Photo courtesy New Zealand Tourism

Here is a run down of Wanaka's 6 local breweries:

1/ Wanaka Beerworks - "Today Wanaka Beerworks is a micro brewery with a 700L copper brew system which produces approximately 100,000L a year. As passionate brewers we want to create as many specialty brews as possible, yet operating a small brewery dictates a limited amount of space so we've kept the original Wanaka Beerworks beers and added the Jabberwocky range of products with the occasional seasonal beer rearing it's head."

2/ B.Effects - "B.Effects philosophy is derived from the Edward Lorenz's Butterfly Effect, and it is built on highlighting small changes in the brewing process that have large effects on the final product. Series of craft beers with small changes in one variable like the hops, yeast, grain and non- traditional adjunct's display how small changes have a great effect on the beer."

3/ Ground Up - "We make beer for the bold, the audacious and the gutsy. We're brewing on the edge, from the ground up, and we love it. Wanaka, N.Z."

4/ Maverick - "Demand craft beer where ever you go, and don't be afraid to be a pest about it. Learn where good beer comes from. Consider who you are giving your money to. Turn your friends on to the pleasures of craft beer...it matters."

5/ Sidewinder - "Sidewinder is a beer crafted for enjoying once the work is done. Apres work, slide, ski, ride, Sidewinder tastes better once earned. Founded by mates, Dave and Luc in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, their micro brewery in Wanaka is their passion, with each brew heaved full of malt, hops, clear water and happiness."

6/ Rhyme & Reason (Coming Soon)

Wanaka is the ultimate place for a beer tasting adventure. Let Release Wanaka organise your luxury holiday accommodation for you, your family and friends and sit back with a 'Brewski' and watch the ever changing scenery. Our Wanaka Fixer can fill your fridge before you arrive with your choice of local beers or you can head into town to the many establishments who serve these unique craft beers. For more information contact [email protected]

An eventful time of year!

Posted by Release Wanaka on February 01, 2017

Wanaka has something for everyone in the way of events. Over the next few months, before the ski season starts, it is jam packed with Sport, Art, Performance and Entertainment. Check out this list for ideas.

1/ Challenge Wanaka: 17th - 18th February

"Challenge Wanaka features one of the world’s toughest and most honest long distance triathlon courses set against the stunning alpine backdrop of New Zealand’s Southern Alps and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area. It is New Zealand’s largest triathlon festival, featuring events for all ages and abilities involving over 2,000 participants, attracting 10,000 spectators and a global audience of millions."

2/ Mountain Bike National Championships: 25th - 26th February

"Cycling New Zealand presents the 2017 Altherm Window Systems Mountain Bike National Championships. This is New Zealand’s premier national mountain bike event, attracting New Zealand’s top Cross Country and Downhill Mountain Bike cyclists. The 2017 event will be hosted by Bike Wanaka - Lake Wanaka's Mountain Bike Club in the beautiful Cardrona Alpine Park."

3/ Motatapu - 4th March

"Each year for one day only the pristine trails of the Motatapu welcomes thousands of all-comers to experience one of New Zealand’s favourite off-road sporting events. Set in the stunning Wanaka to Queenstown high country, you'll race through some of the most stunning high country terrain in New Zealand, with five different events to choose from depending on your appetite for scenery or suffering!"

4/ Wanaka A&P Show: 10th - 11th March

"The Wanaka A&P Show is one of New Zealand’s largest agricultural and pastoral events, attracting more than 35,000 people each year. Run over two days and set on picturesque Showgrounds overlooking Lake Wanaka, the Show includes traditional features such as equestrian and livestock events, home industry displays, wool classing and more than 400 trade stalls from around the country."

5/ Breca Wanaka - 25th March

"Breca Wanaka is New Zealand's first swimrun race around the shores of Lake Wanaka. Set in the heart of the Southern Lakes District against the awesome backdrop of the Mt. Aspiring National Park, this race is not for the faint-hearted. Teams will pit themselves against technical trails and deep glacial waters to stake their claim forever as the intrepid pioneers of the New Zealand swimrun scene."

6/ MT Outdoor Half Marathon - 1st April

"The MT Outdoor Southern Lakes Half Marathon will be held on Saturday 1st April 2017 Start time 9am. The course will be down the Cardrona Valley starting from just below the Cardrona Ski Field entrance (parking will be in adjacent field) finishing on Pembroke Park in the middle of town. This may well be the fastest and most scenic Half Marathon in the country."

7/ Festival of Colour: 4th - 9th April

"New Zealand’s best little arts festival returns to the region from 4 – 10 April 2017 bringing with it some of the country’s best cultural performances. This will be our seventh Festival and once again we will bring an outstanding programme of local, national and international arts to the Southern Lakes region. Get ready to surf the Festival wave for seven days and nights of world class music, dance, theatre, comedy, visual arts and Aspiring Conversations. The Festival brings transformational moments and unforgettable experiences to the whole region."

8/ Wanaka Sun Marathon - 8th April

"The Wanaka Sun Marathon Event is an off road sporting event held in April each year and is a great time to experience the autumn colours that really light up the river and forest trail. The Marathon, Half Marathon, 10km & 5km events all start at the Albert Town Tavern on the outskirts of Wanaka. All are loop courses and are run over well groomed trails that meander alongside the beautifully scenic Cluther River."

9/ Contact Epic - 22nd April

"The Contact Epic is about the challenge of circumnavigating the shores of Lake Hawea by mountain bike. Lake Hawea is located on the edge of Wanaka, right next to the Southern Alps in the South Island of New Zealand. The Epic ride is a 125 km journey of discovery about the land, about your bike and about yourself."

10/ NZ Film Festival: 30th June - 9th July

"The NZ Mountain Film Festival is an NZ made event. It began in 2002 and is now internationally recognised as one of the world’s premier mountain film festival events. It is NZ’s original mountain film festival with it’s own international adventure filmmaking competition and highly regarded NZ-made division. Filmmakers receive cash for various awards and the films featured often go on to do well in other similar festivals like the Banff Mountain Film Festival, Sundance Mountain Film Festival, Kendal Mountain Film Festival and Vancouver Mountain Film Festival."

Contact Release Wanaka if you would like anymore information about these events. We can organise anything for you from accommodation and tickets to pre-show dinners and post event massages!

Release Wanaka's Top 5 Wanaka Activities

Posted by Release Wanaka on January 16, 2017

With an overwhelming number of things to see and do in Wanaka, Release Wanaka has put together their Top 5 Activities to make decision making that little bit easier.

1. Heli - SUP

"Begin your adventure with a spectacular 40 minute helicopter flight, getting you up close and personal with Tititea (Mt Aspiring), and remote glaciers along the way.

Once at our secluded mountain lake, 1000m high above sea level, explore the pristine area, fully guided by a qualified and experienced SUP instructor, before relaxing on the shoreline with a decadent gourmet picnic.

Be spoilt once again with more scenic helicopter flying over the stunning landscape below as you return to Wanaka.

This is the perfect outing for those seeking something truly special – be it an unforgettable day out with a group of friends or a romantic get away with someone special."

2. Heli - Bike

"How about landing at 6500 feet on one of New Zealand's highest mountain bike trails. Enjoy a scenic helicopter flight over looking three giant lakes below with breathtaking aerial views of Mt Cook (NZ's highest mountain) and Mt Aspiring towering through the giant snow capped Southern Alps. This is a New Zealand adventure at it's best!

Oh and did we mention this trip also finishes at the area's oldest historic pub!"

3. Wild Wire

"A Must Do Wanaka Activity. Our via ferrata tours are perfect for anyone who loves waterfalls and beautiful places. Our tours are also suitable for beginners and families. We start in Wanaka and you will climb alongside Twin Falls, one of Wanaka’s most iconic waterfalls on our via ferrata tour. If you can climb a ladder, you can do it!"

4. Oxbow - Jet Sprint

"Learn how it feels to fly on water. Literally. This speed demon is the only custom built 4-seater Jet Sprint boat in New Zealand, and guarantees to make a ‘screamer’ out of everyone it has the pleasure of meeting.

"Accelerating at an incredible 0 to 100km in only 2.5 seconds your expert jet sprint boat driver will negotiate you around Oxbow’s very own Aqua-Track before you’ve had a moment to catch your breath. This ride is guaranteed to get you wet!"

5. Drift Fishing

"Drift fishing is a great way to get a long true, natural drift of your fly and to access areas that would be impossible on foot and of course you can fish both sides of the river with ease! A lot easier than bush bashing or boulder hopping your way up a river!

Depending on time of year or time of day or even different sections of the same river on the same day, we could fish various styles.

Nymphs and indicators is a popular way if the fish are deep, dries and droppers, even stripping a streamers like a large woolly bugger can be very effective or our summer favourite which is to drift large terrestrials such as cicadas or blowfly type patterns.

This is an awesome way to fish. Long drag free drifts, watching your fly gently bounce along in the current and waiting for that large snout to appear!"

There you have it, an insiders guide to activities in Wanaka! For more information about these activities, or any other Wanaka activities you may have come across during your Google searches, contact us here.

Challenge Wanaka 2017

Posted by Release Wanaka on January 10, 2017

The countdown is well and truly on for Challenge Wanaka. On February 18th an inspirational crowd of athletes will take to the streets and surrounds of Wanaka to take part in one of the major Wanaka events of the year. Labelled "the world’s most scenic iron distance triathlon", Challenge Wanaka has grown tenfold since it began in 2007.

"Challenge Wanaka features one of the world’s toughest and most honest long distance triathlon courses set against the stunning alpine backdrop of New Zealand’s Southern Alps and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area. It is New Zealand’s largest triathlon festival, featuring events for all ages and abilities involving over 2,000 participants, attracting 10,000 spectators and a global audience of millions.

Part of the legendary Challenge Family global series of long distance triathlons, renowned the world over for their memorable events, Challenge Wanaka is the race of a lifetime for athletes wanting to compete and holiday in paradise. Watch over 1,500 top professional and amateur athletes from all over the globe compete on the world’s most scenic iron distance course in the 3.8km swim in crystal clear waters, the 180km bike taking in two alpine lakes and the 42.2km run which is 75% off-road along the water’s edge.

The festival includes the Puzzling World Junior Challenge for budding triathletes aged six to fifteen. There’s also the 'Swim the Course' during the week before the two highlight events.

The week culminates with the flagship Challenge Wanaka race on Saturday 18 February 2017 which features both full and half distance races. Thousands of spectators line the route and finish chute cheering on these inspirational contenders as they compete in the most arduous of the triathlon disciplines. The finish line is in the heart of the Lake Wanaka township and, in true ‘Challenge’ style, there’s a fun finish line party with music and fireworks to welcome the athletes home late into the night." www.challenge-wanaka.com

If you are taking part and need accommodation or you would like to come and support and experience an amazing event then check out Release Wanaka's website. We have a selection of luxury holiday homes available, perfect for unwinding after a day of pounding the roads (...not just for the athletes but the supporters too). For more information about availability, please contact us via our website here.

2017 Bucket List

Posted by Release Wanaka on January 02, 2017

Happy New Year... here's to a luxurious 2017!

Is Wanaka, NZ on your bucket list this year? It should be.

Located at an altitude of 300 metres, Wanaka is fast becoming one of the world’s great playgrounds. Visitors can venture into the hills and mountains surrounding Wanaka for skiing, heli-skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking and climbing. Or just enjoy the views!

There are many world-class attractions, sporting activities and adventure opportunities within easy reach of the Wanaka township. Take a scenic cruise on Lake Wanaka, taste world-renowned local Pinot Noir wines or try your luck fishing the many rivers and streams.

Something else for your bucket list should be to stay at Release Wanaka - The Dacha.

The Dacha is one of New Zealand's finest residences and epitomises the elegance of modern architecture. Absolute luxury with commanding lake and mountain views.

Local Otago schist stonework has been featured throughout the property, soaring ceilings are timber-lined delivering warmth and contrast. The main residence has three superb ensuited bedrooms and two generous bunkrooms that offer guests flexibility, depending on their preferred bedding requirements.

The spacious living and entertaining areas all have jaw-dropping views and flow seamlessly onto the balconies and beautifully landscaped private gardens. The Dacha (translates to 'second home' in Russian) is for those who aspire to experience Wanaka and its inspiring landscapes in a private residence that is itself, a stunning work-of-art.

See Release Wanaka - The Dacha.