Wanaka is the perfect place to explore by bike, with seemingly endless well maintained tracks and stunning scenery everywhere. I hired one for the day (Racer’s Edge is a good option) and covered 60km around Wanaka, through Albert Town, over to Lake Hawea and onto Gladstone and back.
Lake Wanaka is crystal clear, and offers some great reflections from pools of water by the lake, along with the famous tree in the lake, one of the most photographed sights in New Zealand.
Continuing around Lake Wanaka to the east takes you to Albert Town, on the lush Clutha River, home to colourful plants and an historic cemetery by the campground. The Hawea River Track runs from Albert Town to the shores of Lake Hawea, a much quieter version of Wanaka, like Glenorchy to Queenstown. The track runs by a couple of man made water sports spots.
At the mouth of the Hawea River is a hydroelectric dam, a war memorial, and some lovely wild flowers.
Further along Lake Hawea are stony but scenic and super quiet beaches, along with a slightly less alive tree in a lake.
The Gladstone Track (running from Lake Hawea to Gladstone) forms part of the 3,000km Te Araora trail running the length of New Zealand, but is probably more fun on a bike than walking.
It takes you to Johns Creek in Gladstone, one of my favourite places in the area, home to one of the largest patches of lupines I’ve seen.