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Top 5 Lunch Locations in Wanaka, NZ

Posted by Release Wanaka on February 26, 2019

Release Wanaka’s Top 5 – Lunch

It is lunchtime in Wanaka and the choice is overwhelming. Here are a few of our favourites for you to go and try. So grab some friends and head out for a long leisurely lunch, maybe it will lead to some pre-dinner drinks (our next blog!)

1/ Big Fig Wanaka 

“Slow food served fast” is how they describe this extremely popular restaurant in the centre of Wanaka. This funky restaurant has seating inside and out and serves the best coffee in town (ok, 'one' of the best coffee's!). “We have a changing menu of slow-cooked meat like lamb shawarma and pomegranate beef cheeks, sweet spicy tangy meatballs, free-range rotisserie chickens, yummy vegetarian and vegan tagines, gratins, pilafs, stuffed veggies, stews, and braises. Our salads are grainy and greenie, roasty and tasty, herb-filled and jammed with flavour.” - rumbling tummy alert!!

2/ Hook

Newly opened, Hook, is not just a restaurant but an experience. If you are a fan of Salmon then this is the place to go – Sashimi / Hot Smoked / Cold Smoked, they will prepare it however you like it. Grab a rod and head over to the purpose built lake to catch your lunch, “From Lake to Plate” in a matter of minutes. "Located in Wanaka, right at the heart of New Zealand’s Southern Lakes, Hook is a place where everyone is welcomed to enjoy Wanaka’s stunning alpine setting in comfort and with ease."      

Photo from     

3/ Cardrona Hotel

This has to be one of the best beer gardens in the area. Beautiful established gardens surround this historic hotel, providing a peaceful, spacious setting to relax and enjoy a local beer and lunch. There is plenty of room for the children to run around and the outdoor fire in the winter is real draw card. "Rumoured to be the most photographed building in New Zealand, the historic facade hides an award-winning restaurant, legendary beer garden and charming hotel rooms with an atmosphere second-to-none. "

Cardrona Hotel NZ

4/  Double Black

If you are out and about, maybe on your bike, then stop by Albert Town and visit the team at Double Black. Serving delicious food and awesome coffee, this is a popular spot for the locals. With dishes like the “Asian Pork Benny” and the “The Double Black Original Hash”, it is a place not to be missed on your culinary search around Wanaka. "The perfect pit stop! There are a number of walking and bike tracks near us. Located only a five minute walk from Wanaka's famous Mt Iron walking track - why not drop in for a refreshment or bite to eat? Ample parking also available!"

5/ Burrito Craft

One of the many food trucks in town, Burrito Craft offers a tasty meal that can be enjoyed by the lake. With the choice of Burritos or Tacos filled with your choice of meats or vegetables, this is the perfect lunch for a hit of Mexican flavour and a kick of chilli! You can phone your order ahead, grab it and head to one of the many idyllic spots around Wanaka. A flavourful take away lunch that the whole family can enjoy!

Photo from Lake Wanaka Tourism

This is just a small selection of some of the fantastic places to eat we have here in Wanaka, New Zealand. There are many, many more to sample and Release Wanaka guests have access to local advice and recommendations via our Wanaka based team. You can contact us here to become a Release Wanaka guest.

Top 5 Breakfast Locations in Wanaka, NZ

Posted by Release Wanaka on October 25, 2018

Release Wanaka’s Top 5 - Breakfast

Next on Release Wanaka’s Top 5 is ‘Breakfast’. A lot of people believe that this is the most important meal of the day and it can be the most delicious. Whether you are after savoury or sweet, breakfast menus around Wanaka offer some amazingly tasty meals to get you ready for your day exploring.

As decided by the Release Wanaka Team, in no particular order:

1/ Kai Whaka Pai – Set on the corner of Helwick and Ardmore Street in the centre of Wanaka sits a local legend. Kai has been serving locals and holiday makers for years and has a fantastic location across from the lake. Open at 7am it is a great place to kick start your morning with a hearty breakfast…..try the pancakes they are divine!

2/ Federal Diner – Down an alleyway in the centre of Wanaka (yes, it is related to Fedeli), lives Federal Diner. A cool café serving delicious food all day long. Breakfast starts at 7am for all you early risers and continues until 3pm. A favourite dish for us is the “Hawea Flat” -Spinach, Mushrooms, Roasted Tomato and Halloumi served on a Polenta Cake, Yum!

3/ Alchemy – For a big breakfast option head to Alchemy. They serve the ‘Full Breakfast Grill’ from 8am – 4pm as well as some healthy alternatives such as the ‘Black Rice Pudding with fruit’, Black rice with grilled banana, orange segments, ginger, lemon grass + coconut yoghurt served Hot or Cold. 

4/ Ritual – On the main street in Wanaka, Ritual Café is a real local favourite with a fantastic selection of food. A cabinet full of choices plus a breakfast menu and blackboard and it’s where Reece Witherspoon went to hang-out while she was filming "A Wrinkle in Time"!

5/ The Dripping Bowl – If you are after a healthy alternative to the usual breakfast items then head to The Dripping Bowl on Brownston Street, one of the many food trucks that have appeared in Wanaka. The Dripping Bowl serves super healthy porridge and smoothie bowls with all the trimmings.

The team at Release Wanaka have you to need to go out and explore the breakfast culture of Wanaka, New Zealand. 

If on the other hand you would rather stay in your Release Wanaka Luxury Holiday Rental Home, then we can organise for breakfast to be delivered to you OR a private chef to pop by and create whatever you feel like, ask our Wanaka Fixer for more information.

Top 5 Coffee Spots in Wanaka, NZ

Posted by Release Wanaka on October 04, 2018

With so many amazing cafes and restaurants in Wanaka serving delicious food and even more delicious coffee and drinks, we thought we would start to put some Release Wanaka Top 5’s together over the next few months for Coffee, Breakfast, Morning Tea, Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Cocktails and Dinner!

Keep an eye out in the coming weeks for more Top 5’s but firstly – COFFEE!

As decided by the Release Wanaka Team, in no particular order:

1/ Fedeli – Tucked away down an alleyway in the centre on Wanaka, sits this fantastic café offering rich, tasty coffee in funky surroundings. Sit in peace in the sheltered courtyard or grab a “Keep Cup” (which they sell) and head down to the lakefront to enjoy the view.

Release Wanaka's Top 5 Coffee SpotsPhoto from The Fed Group 

2/ The Little Black Caravan – In a small industrial area on the outskirts of Wanaka, sits a cute little caravan selling organic, fair trade coffee. Sit and relax on site listening to some great tunes or get a takeaway (they too, sell “Keep Cups”) and pick a spot to indulge in the delicious coffee.

3/ Alchemy – Across the road from the lake with plenty of seating inside and out, Alchemy offers a relaxed setting to enjoy a great cup of coffee. There are sofas to chill out on and read the newspaper and an open fire for those cold, wintery days.

Alchemy coffee spot in Wanaka Photo from Alchemy 

4/ Relishes – A long-standing restaurant in Wanaka, Relishes always produces a good, strong coffee. Located in the centre of town, it is a quick, easy coffee fix with parking out front and across the road from the lake.

5/ Urban Grind – A great place to go in a group or as a family as there is plenty of space. The coffee is great and if you order a Mocha you will get a huge piece of chocolate on the side, coffee and chocolate craving knocked on the head in one!

This is our Top 5 spots to grab a coffee in Wanaka, New Zealand. Who would you have on your list?

For more information about coffee or any other hot or cold beverage, contact our team who can point you in the right, caffeine, indulgent direction!

The 'Food Truck' culture hits Wanaka

Posted by Release Wanaka on November 07, 2017

We have all experienced food from a truck at some point in our lives, whether it’s ice cream or a gourmet wrap. It can be a risky choice and there is always a chance of a wrong decision but if you get it right then it can be a culinary experience you will never forget. Wanaka has now joined that ever growing ‘Food Truck’ culture with an array of trucks serving international cuisine.  

Check out these permanent Wanaka food trucks for great food and drinks which are quick and tasty.

1/ The Good Spot

The Good Spot is a funky coffee and food caravan situated on the Good Corner, in an ideal outside setting. Our focus is to serve good quality coffee and food with a touch of style and flair. We like to think outside the square and up-cycle where we can, as can be seen by the creation of the caravan and the evolving garden and seating area around it.”

2/ Francescas Pizza

A food truck stemming from the infamous 'Francesca’s Italian Kitchen', it serves delicious wood fired pizza and garlic bread with a weekly changing special - “Fran’s Special”! Based on Brownston Street, Wanaka, Francesca’s Pizza was one of the first food trucks to hit town and a real favourite with the locals.

3/ Charlie Brown

“Delicious French sweet crepes and gluten free savoury galette made with organic buckwheat flour.” This funky little retro van looks the part with great signage and lighting. Try the “Pomme D’Amour” - “oo la la, tres bon!!”

Image from

4/ The Dripping Bowl

The Dripping Bowl - “We are a small food truck located in the heart of Wanaka. We make fresh homemade Soups served with The Peoples Bread co. sourdough and beautiful toppings such as roasted seeds and Raglan coconut yogurt. We are primarily focused on supporting local farmers and producers. We don’t use any stocks, thickeners or preservatives, and all of our Soups are gluten free!”

5/ Burrito Craft

Choose your filling and heat level and sit back and enjoy a taste of Mexico. With a selection of delicious Burritos and yummy Tacos, Burrito Craft has definitely stamped their mark on the Wanaka food truck scene. 

6/ Buddhas Corner

Offering a selection of indian curries and dumplings Buddhas Corner has some tasty choices. Cooked fresh while you wait you can expect authentic cuisine and generous portions. The “Naughty Naan” is a popular choice.

There are also a selection of mobile food trucks which are perfect for events. For more information about places to eat in Wanaka, ask our "WanakaFixer" at [email protected]

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?'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!

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 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."

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 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]

Foodie Friday - How to do 'luxury' in Lake Wanaka

Posted by Release Wanaka on September 08, 2015

We’ve all dreamed of holidays like the rich and famous. Idyllic days of heli skiing in winter, boating in summer, private wine tours, chartered flights into the glorious wilderness of Mt Aspiring National Park or Fiordland or Milford Sound – yes, I’m quite sure we can all see ourselves there wearing our Prada sunglasses and Karen Walker Halifax coat. But what if I told you it’s actually possible? What if you could have it in the most beautiful place in the world?

Well it is totally doable in the Lake Wanaka region!

Release Wanaka have a stunning portfolio of properties available and if you pull a few friends together – you too can live it up lush from $230.00 per night!

One such gorgeous property is The Managers House located on the Hawkesbury Wine Estate. The design of the house is exquisite – every detail attended to with architectural attentiveness – from the in ground lap pool to the cosy TV loft to the hidden pantry and cupboard space of deceptive volume. Utterly impeccable, but it’s the special touches, the value-add inclusions which makes The Managers House stand out.

The house is situated on a vineyard that produces what might be the most divine Pinot Noir I have tasted yet. I am partial to a good Pinot, heavy with berry fruits with a velvety finish, and Akitu answers every wine prerequisite on my list. Opening the bottle was like unleashing the renaissance.

And like all the Release properties, The Managers House comes with your own private chef if required. Oh, yes, absolutely required!

Leungo Lippe comes with a broad and impressive epicurean vintage. From Marco Pierre White in London to Botswana Butchery in Wanaka, Leungo is the man behind BoaBoa Food Company private catering and his three course Saturday night meal was so scrumptious, we may as well have been in a 5 star restaurant – minus the other guests!  Cauliflower soup with prawns, beef fillet with Asian greens and a crème brulee topped with fresh berries silenced the table. No one was talking – everyone was eating!

Perfect for families or a couple of couples, The Managers House is a stunning example of luscious living – and the views are absolutely amazing!

Article reposted from

Wanaka's Food Revolution

Posted by Release Wanaka on August 27, 2013

There's a culinary revolution happening in Wanaka. Whether it's French, Italian, fusion, tapas, fast or slow food you're after, this movement seems to have found its stride. We did our due diligence and recently visited a few of the new eateries on the block, again.

BoaBoa Food Company

BoaBoa is the latest creation of Leungo Lippe, the guy we have to thank for award winning eatery, Botswana Butchery. Leungo's burger combinations, whether meat, veggies or fish are so original and delicious that I now find myself eating there at least once a week. If burgers aren't your thing, fear not, wraps, fish and chips, fried chicken, smoothies, fresh juices and seasonal salads are among the other goodies you'll find on the menu.

BoaBoa is open 7 days a week from 10am-10pm. 137 Ardmore Street / 03 443 1234

Francesca's Italian Kitchen

The younger, albeit bigger, sister to the iconic Francesca’s mobile wood fired pizza trailer is Francesca's Italian Kitchen. FIK is one of the newest eateries to be gracing our bellies and our wallets, with no main priced over $25. Between the handmade gnocchi, truffle infused potato skins, fine Italian wines and Peroni on tap, you're sure to leave with a full belly and a satisfied smile.

Francesca’s is open 7 days a week from 12pm-3pm for lunch and 5pm-late for dinner. Bookings are essential for dinner. 93 Ardmore Street / 03 443 5599

Urban Grind

If you happen to find yourself at Urban Grind on a Monday morning, you'll likely run in to a few of the Release Wanaka folks. It's our treat to ourselves at the start of the week. We nestle into a sunny spot in the courtyard or, on cold days, by the roaring fire and drink coffee until we're buzzing. To refuel, we order either the Spanish or Turkish Baked Eggs and then we're set up for a great rest of the week. UG is also well known in town for their delectable hot chocolate.

Urban Grind is open 7 days a week, 8.30am-midnight. 47 Helwick Street / 03 443 5152

Bistro Gentil

The views of Lake Wanaka from Bistro Gentil are nearly as good as the food, and the view is breathtaking. I thought it impossible to top the starter of Quiche du Bistro, which features caramelized onion and leek, a wild watercress emulsion and goat's cheese cream. Then I had my main of Agneau Deux Façons, a slow cooked Cardrona lamb rump and braised lamb shoulder – tout à fait délicieux! (absolutely delicious!) With your appetite satiated, take a glass of Gallic wine to the lawn and give Pétanque (French bowls) a try.

Bistro Gentil is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11am-late. 76a Golf Course Road / 03 443 2299