Wanaka Homestead Review – A Home Away from Home

An honest review about our recent stay at the Wanaka Homestead, a luxury family-run lodge in Wanaka, New Zealand.

An honest review about our recent stay at the Wanaka Homestead, a luxury family-run lodge in Wanaka, New Zealand.

After spending two full months travelling around New Zealand’s South Island, we’ve definitely settled on what our favourite destination is – Wanaka.

This picturesque town on the edge of Lake Wanaka is quite possibly the nation’s most perfect mountain town.

Only a one-hour drive from its party-hard neighbour Queenstown, Wanaka has all of the same qualities without the hectic crowds.

The peaks of the Southern Alps rise up all around, the lake glistens in the midday sun and the main streets are alive with trendy locals, soaking up the booming cafe, bar and restaurant scene in between adventure trips.

For those that love being active, there’s no shortage of incredible things to do in Wanaka.

From climbing mountains to kayaking on the lake and even practising landscape photography, you’re sure to find something to suit your style.

We’ve travelled to Wanaka four times now, and with each passing visit, we fall more and more in love with this Kiwi paradise.

Whether you’re looking to come for a few days or a few weeks, you’ll find plenty of beautiful places to rest your head at night.

From funky budget backpacker hostels to high-end luxury hotels, all travellers are catered for here.

If you’re like us however and prefer boutique over lavish, homely over flamboyant and personal over elitist, we have the perfect accommodation for you.

Wanaka Homestead Review
The lodge and one of the cottages at Wanaka Homestead.

Wanaka Homestead Review – Is This the Best Place in Wanaka?

On our most recent trip to town, we spent four nights at the fantastic Wanaka Homestead.

Located just a few hundred metres from the world-famous ‘Wanaka Tree’ (the same one you’ve seen all over Instagram), this beautiful luxury lodge is the epitome of being a ‘home away from home‘ guesthouse.

Wanaka Homestead has managed to fit in all the creature comforts of home into a small, luxury package, without losing any character or charm.

Here guests aren’t just a nameless customer. Everybody is welcomed as a friend, arms wide open and encouraged to soak into Wanaka life as if the town was your own.

There’s a lot to love about this place, and while we very rarely do accommodation write-ups, this place was so beautiful that we just had to put together this Wanaka Homestead review.

READ MORE: Don’t miss our guide to the best things to do in Queenstown!

Outside Area
The outdoor fireplace at Wanaka Homestead.

The Property

The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive at the Wanaka Homestead is that the property it’s built on is spacious, green and incredibly enjoyable.

Tucked away in a quiet neighbourhood towards the end of town that runs out to Treble Cone and Roy’s Peak, there’s ample space to run around on the grass, sit by the garden reading a book or enjoy a glass of wine in the sun.

There’s a secluded outdoor hot tub in the back corner of the property, separately fenced off for privacy and with manicured gardens surrounding it.

You’ll find a large fireplace as well to kick back in the evenings with the stars above.

Wanaka Homestead has a storage room to stash your adventure gear such as mountain bikes at night (or to dry your wet ski gear), and a laundry that’s free to use for all guests.

For those with their own vehicles, there’s ample parking on the property to keep your car as well.

Hot Tub
The outdoor hot tub, perfect for relaxing the muscles after a big day mountain biking or skiing.

The Lodge

The centre point of Wanaka Homestead is the purpose-built 5-bedroom luxury timber lodge, impeccably designed and homely in style.

From the moment you walk in you can picture the lodge being placed on a mountaintop in Canada, surrounded by snowy peaks with skiers carving down right to the door.

The large living area is the perfect place to relax at night with a drop of the Otago’s finest red, sitting by the roaring fireplace and with comfy couches to spread out on and chat with your fellow travellers.

There’s no curfew here (the only restriction being to keep the noise down as it gets late into the evening), so you can kick back and make yourself at home into the early hours.

The living area is also where breakfast is provided every morning. Fresh fruit, juice, muesli, cereal, toast and even a cooked breakie option are included in your stay.

You just need to let Karen know what time you want breakfast, and she’ll get it set up in the morning for you.

The table is communal, so you share breakfast with all of the other guests too. We personally love this, as it offers a great chance to make new friends and share travel tips.

Coffee and tea are of course available 24/7.

READ MORE: Don’t miss our ultimate guide to the best hiking in New Zealand

Moving upstairs you’ll find the five ensuite rooms available for guests to stay in.

We didn’t pop our head into any of the others, but our room was large and bright with views over the garden and towards the lake.

The bed was amazingly comfortable, with lots of blankets to keep us warm in the middle of winter.

The private bathroom was fairly standard but spotlessly clean.

There was also a heater in the room, but we didn’t need to use it as the house was kept pretty warm anyway, even when the temperatures dropped below zero outside.

The lodge itself is wonderful and epitomises the way boutique accommodation in a ski town should be.

Room Wanaka Homestead
Our room at the Wanaka Homestead.

The Cottages

In addition to the main lodge, Wanaka Homestead also has two cottages that are available to rent.

These are fully-furnished, self-contained 2- and 3-bedroom units, with all the creature comforts you could ever need for a short-term stay in Wanaka.

With stocked kitchens, living areas and being separate to the main lodge, they are the perfect accommodation for groups of friends or a family looking to all stay together.

We didn’t have a look at these either during our stay as they were occupied, but the photos look great.

Living Area
This is the living area where you have breakfast and socialise.

The Location

As mentioned, Wanaka Homestead is in a quiet part of town, located just a few hundred metres from the famous Wanaka Tree.

It’s a short 15-minute walk to downtown, but don’t let that put you off staying here. We personally thought being just outside of town was awesome.

The walk into town is very pleasant, following the lake and through leafy parks.

If you want to get in quicker, Wanaka Homestead has a number of bicycles guests can use to zip into town as well.

A lot of restaurants in town do home delivery, so if you want to have a meal back at the lodge there are no issues either.

That Wanaka Tree
That Wanaka Tree, just a 2-minute walk from the Homestead.

Sustainable Practices

In this day and age choosing an eco-friendly accommodation is not only important, it’s just the right thing to do.

New Zealand, for the most part, is one of the world leaders when it comes to sustainability, and the town of Wanaka was actually the first place in the country to ban single-use plastics.

At the Wanaka Homestead, they are doing their part to help minimise their own footprint as well.

They use renewable energy to help power their property, all of the soaps, shampoos and conditioners in the bathrooms are bought in bulk and filled up in reusable bottles and they encourage guests to watch their water use.

They also do their best to locally source all of their breakfast foods, which is a lovely touch.

Who Is Wanaka Homestead Not for?

While we personally loved the Wanaka Homestead, it’s definitely not for everybody.

First of all, it is a boutique, family-run guesthouse. And while it is quite luxurious, it is not a 5-star hotel.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to remain anonymous when you stay in a hotel, you might be better off looking for somewhere else in Wanaka.

There’s nothing wrong with this frame of mind, as some people have their own agenda when they go on vacation and would prefer to simply breeze in and out of a hotel whenever they feel like.

You can do this at Wanaka Homestead too, but you’d be missing out on the point of being here.

To clarify, Karen, Alan and Kaalene are not overbearing in the slightest, and they know when a guest would prefer their quiet time rather than have a chat.

But the reason you stay here is that you like having those social interactions when you travel.

They have worked hard to build a wonderful, family atmosphere at the guesthouse, and they do like getting to know the guests as well.

If you’re going to stay here, open your heart and mind, and really get to know the owners, manager and the guests. It’s a great community.

Reception Building
The reception building.

Final Thoughts on Our Wanaka Homestead Review

With our own personal travel style and what we look for in accommodation, Wanaka Homestead was everything we could ever want.

We prefer our guesthouses and hotels to be boutique and personal, where you feel like your at home the moment you walk in the door.

There was more to Wanaka Homestead than just being a great place to rest your head at night though. It was the family feel that won us over.

Karen, Alan and Kaalene were also beyond friendly, and they made our stay even more enjoyable. We’d joke around and share stories, and they did everything they could to make us comfortable.

We’ll definitely stay here again on our next visit to Wanaka

DISCLAIMER: Our stay at Wanaka Homestead was made in partnership with Tourism New Zealand and Lake Wanaka Tourism. The accommodation did not provide our stay for free in exchange for this review though. All thoughts, opinions, and glasses of wine sipped by the fire are, as always, our own.

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Alesha and Jarryd

Hey! We are Alesha and Jarryd, the award-winning writers and professional photographers behind this blog. We have been travelling the world together since 2008, with a passion for adventure travel and sustainable tourism. Through our stories and images we promote exciting off-the-beaten-path destinations and fascinating cultures as we go. As one of the world's leading travel journalists, our content and adventures have been featured by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, CNN, BBC, Forbes, Business Insider, Washington Post, Yahoo!, BuzzFeed, Channel 7, Channel 10, ABC, The Guardian, and plenty other publications. Follow our journey in real time on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Hi, We’re Alesha and Jarryd!

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