Travel

Why Wanaka is the perfect destination for a weekend escape

FQ fashion editor Danielle Clausen took a trip south to Wanaka to shoot for the latest issue of Fashion Quarterly and discovered plenty of ways to unwind.

With two giant suitcases of samples and a shoot crew in tow, I headed to Wanaka for a three night stay in late autumn. While in town to shoot for our upcoming print issues of Fashion Quarterly and Miss FQ, it would be rude not to take in some local culture, right? No matter how many photographs you see on the ‘gram of Lake Wanaka and the surrounding landscapes, there’s nothing quite like the calming effects of the sweeping views in person.

From comfort food to some of the best gin I’ve ever tasted, here’s a round up of my favourite spots I discovered along the way.

Wanaka weekend escape

PLAY

Cardrona Distillery, 2125 Cardrona Valley Road
Who knew that gin was vodka infused with botanicals? Cardrona Distillery’s ‘The Source’ gin gets its crisp and punchy taste thanks to the distillery’s unique location in the Cardrona Valley – think local alpine water and foraged rosehip from the region. A behind the scenes tour of the distillery revealed a boutique operation of copper machinery like something out of a Willy Wonka film where they also brew vodka, liqueur and have a shed full of ageing whiskey barrels. (Not a bad day in the office, right?)

47 Frocks, 47 Helwick Street
An inspiring cross-section of New Zealand brands and beyond, something in 47 Frocks is sure to take your fancy. It’s nice to see established designers like Kate Sylvester hanging alongside newcomers such as shirting label Harris Tapper.


EAT

Kika, 2 Dunmore Street
We were treated to an onslaught of decadent sharing plates filled with seasonal produce at Kika; comfort food at its finest. The fried chicken and the “Tom Selleck” (a gelato stick made of banoffee pie, earl grey tea and caramelised white chocolate) are two standouts on the menu.

Big Fig, 105 Ardmore Street
A cabinet bursting with home-style slow-cooked meats and hearty salads, Big Fig was a satisfying lunch spot with Middle Eastern offerings. Although, I did regret not getting a stuffed Gözleme pita bread to go.


Wanaka weekend escape


RELAX

Outlet track, Outlet Road
Weaving alongside the Clutha River, the views on this track are so picturesque you almost don’t believe your eyes. An hour-long stroll is the perfect way to de-stress – did I mention it’s flat the whole way? The golden poplar trees and sapphire blue water are just begging to be ‘grammed.

Beacon Point, Beacon Point Road
Tucked slightly away from the bustling Lake Wanaka waterfront, Beacon Point serves up mountain views like no other.

Words: Danielle Clausen
Photos: Supplied

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