Get real local flavor at Cinema Paradiso Ardmore Street (& 03/443
1505; www.paradiso.net.nz), Wanaka's only movie theater. It is quite possibly the wackiest place you'll ever experience. Seats take the form of old sofas and cushions in the aisles, and a Morris Minor car has been installed for a drive-in feel. You'll get a personalized, off-the-wall introduction from the owner, and there's a 30-minute intermission for quick cafe meals—and yes, they will hold the movie until you're finished eating. Showtimes are at 6 and 8:30pm daily; admission is NZ$12 (US$6.60) for adults, NZ$8 (US$4.40) for children.
[email protected]) conducts half- and full-day excursions down the Upper Clutha. This is not white-water rafting, and the trip is suitable for anyone from ages 8 to 80. A half-day trip costs NZ$115 (US$63) for adults and NZ$75 (US$41) for children.
FISHING Opportunities abound in the Wanaka area, with plenty of guides operating on the rivers and lakes. Lakeland Adventures (® 03/443-7495; www. lakelandadventures.co.nz) charges NZ$230 (US$127) for guided trout fishing for three people. Southern Lakes Fishing Safaris (® and fax 03/443-9121; www. southernlakesfishing.co.nz) specializes in fly-fishing for all levels of experience. FLYING Aspiring Air (® 0800/100-943 in NZ, or 03/443-7943; www. nz-flights.com) has a variety of scenic flights in the Mount Aspiring area. A 20-minute flight costs around NZ$90 (US$50) for adults, NZ$60 (US$33) for children.
HORSE TREKKING By far the best outfitter is Backcountry Saddle Expeditions ^jp , 25km (151/2 miles) south of Wanaka on Highway 89 (® 03/443-8151; www.nz-reservations.com), which has 2-hour treks for around NZ$60 (US$33). It offers better horses and a more adventurous experience than Gone Horse Trekking, 4km (2^2 miles) from Wanaka along Highway 89 (® 03/443-7777), which is suitable for novice riders and charges around NZ$50 (US$28) for adults, NZ$45 (US$25) for children.
JET-BOATING The best jet-boating is with Wilkin River Jets State
Highway 6, Makarora (® and fax 03/443-8351; www.wilkinriverjets.co.nz), which is between Fox Glacier and Wanaka. Locals say it's better than the much-lauded Dart River experience at Glenorchy, near Queenstown. Priced around NZ$60 (US$33), it's also cheaper and offers a mix of thrill riding and the softer approach, so you get a good feel for this remote region.
KAYAKING Alpine River Guides, 11 Mount Iron Dr. (® 03/443-9023;
www.alpinekayaks.co.nz), has half- and full-day trips on three rivers, ranging in difficulty from beginner to experienced. Trips last 8 hours and run daily from October to April. Costs start at NZ$85 (US$47) and include equipment, lessons, and lunch. You can rent kayaks for a lake paddle from Lakeland Adventures (® 03/443-7495), for NZ$10 to $20 (US$5.50-$11) per hour.
MOUNTAIN BIKING The Department of Conservation's leaflet on bike trails in the Wanaka area is available from its office at Ardmore Street and Ballantyne Road (® 03/443-7660). Mountain bikes can be rented from Racer's Edge/ Mountain Bikes Unlimited, 99 Ardmore St. (® 03/443-7882; www.racersedge. co.nz), for NZ$40 (US$22) per day. Alpine & Heli Mountain Biking (® 03/ 443-8943; www.mountainbiking.co.nz) conducts guided half- or full-day, overnight, and heli-biking trips. The half-day trips cost around NZ$140 (US$77) and are designed for the not-so-fit biker who likes the idea of a 90% downhill ride. Good bikes are also available from Lakeland Adventures, next door to the information center (® 03/443-7495), for NZ$8 (US$4.40) per hour, and there are excellent biking tracks around the lake.
SKIING Cardrona Ski Field is 40 minutes from Wanaka on Highway 89. The more challenging Treble Cone Ski Field is also 40 minutes away. In addition, you'll find cross-country skiing and heli-skiing in the Harris Mountains. And for Nordic skiing, head to the Waiorau Nordic Field, in the Cardrona Valley. For further information on all ski fields in this area, see chapter 3.
WALKING Walking opportunities in Mount Aspiring National Park vary from easy strolls through lowland forest to tramps on mountain tracks that may take several days. Brochures and information can be obtained from the Department of Conservation office. Edgewater Adventures, 59A Brownston St. (& and fax 03/ 443-8422; www.adventure.net.nz), has a wide range of guided half- and multi-day treks priced from NZ$45 (US$25). At Diamond Lake, 20 minutes from town, you'll find the Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain Track, which takes 11/l hours from the car park to the summit. For a more remote walk, call Siberia Experience (gtfXg (& 0800/345-666 in NZ, or 03/443-8666; www.siberia experience.co.nz), offering a combo of scenic flight, jet boat, and a 3-hour walk in remote beech forests. Their guided experiences are unique and one of the best in the region. Just make sure you take plenty of insect repellent to keep the notoriously greedy sand flies at bay!
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