About Wanaka

Living in Wanaka

The township of Wanaka offers a unique lifestyle for those that call it home. People that live here come from all parts of New Zealand as well as around the world making it a wonderful, vibrant community to live in.

With the pristine lakes and mountains on Wanaka’s doorstop there are many leisure activities for all to enjoy as well as many  events to be part of such as Challenge Wanaka, Warbirds over Wanaka, The Festival of Colour, Rippon Open Air Music Festival, Contact Epic and the Wanaka A & P Show to name just a few.

The township has plenty of shops, cafes, restaurants and bars offering fine cuisine and award-winning local wines. Wanaka is known for its innovative way of thinking and this is reflected in the diverse nature of businesses that choose to set-up here.

Revealing Lake Wanaka

Lake Wanaka Tourism have put together a series of local personalities who share their stories about what makes Lake Wanaka a special place.… why people come here, keep coming back and stay. Getting beneath the surface to discover the heart of Lake Wanaka.  To view click here

Working in Wanaka

Wanaka’s main industry is tourism with many of the jobs in the hospitality, tourism and service industries.  It is home to a large number of owner operators, particularly in the activity and accommodation sectors as well as entrepreneurs who choose to base their businesses out of the spectacular setting of Lake Wanaka while doing business around the world. In 2015  there was 2,223 businesses that filed GST returns in Wanaka, compared to 2,127 in 2014.

For more information on employment in Wanaka click here.

Good places to look for jobs in Wanaka are:

The Upper Clutha Messenger – print and online publication out weekly –Click here
Radio Wanaka Job Board – also found online here
Seek – Click here
Trade Me – Click here

Download the Wanaka App from the Android and Apple Stores – this provides an essential guide to Wanaka life at your fingertips.

Population Statistics

Population and dwelling statistics taken from the 2013 New Zealand Census. NB the 2018 Census will take place on 6 March 2018 and stats updated following this.

  • Wanaka has 22.9 percent of Queenstown-Lakes District’s population
  • 6,471 people usually live in Wanaka. This is an increase of 1,431 people or 28.4 percent, since the 2006 Census.

Number of dwellings counted

  • There are 2,781 occupied dwellings and 1,752 unoccupied dwellings in Wanaka.
  • For Queenstown-Lakes District as a whole, there are 11,511 occupied dwellings and 4,467 unoccupied dwellings.
  • There are 84 dwellings under construction in Wanaka, and 237 under construction in Queenstown-Lakes District.
 Wanaka    Otago Region  
 Male  3,138  98,700
 Female   3,333  103,767
 Total 6,471  202,467

For full details of Wanaka’s Census statistics visit the website.

The next Census will be conducted in 2018.


Lake Wanaka and the surrounding area has three primary schools and one high school. For more information read more here.