Lake Wanaka, South New Zealand. Wild mountains, rugged rocks and tussock clad hills, crystal turquoise lakes and a unique climate make this a year round destination for the active – trampers, cyclists and skiers can all be found getting their thrill on in the beautiful clear lake, whizzing down the award winning Cardrona ski slopes, or walking the trails. But this stunning location also makes it ideal for a stunning event.
Here’s your guide to a wedding at Wanaka.
Stay at Wanaka Alpine Lodge, a 4.5 star boutique bed and breakfast just outside of Wanaka town. Experience large luxury rooms with heated beds, soft furnishings and personal verandas opening out onto rolling hills, and hot tubs in which to lay back and watch swirling stars, it’s a relaxing space to just be. Owners Ian and Yvette will share a bottle of local Pinot with you, or leave you be, as you wish. Ian’s pet red Rewaco 1800cc three-seater cruising trike is a big attraction for grooms looking to take some time out from preparations.
You can get married at the lodge, or be transported elsewhere. Travel with Funny French Cars, a range of old and elegant classic Citroen vehicles adding style and pizzazz to your day, as well as being an experience in themselves. Or get up in the air in Tiger Moth or Waco from Classic Flights as your mode, flying through wispy clouds over Lake Wanaka, through the Matukituki Valley and Glendhu bay, and along the Clutha River, over a background of snow dusted mountains, auburn hills, and a sunshine haze sheer off the mountains surrounding the turquoise lake.
The classic wear of war heroes flying helmet, flying goggles and silk scarf may not work quite so well with your hair and make up, both of which can be attended to by Road To Beauty, who, as the name suggests, will travel to wherever you are to make you beautiful. Give them a good canvas to work on by prepping with a massage for relaxation and a facial for rejuvenation at Oakridge Day Spa. A highlight is relaxing in their hot tubs – soaking in 38 degrees water whilst the mountains around you are tickling ice and temperatures below freezing is a lovely experience.
Food and wine are of course crucial, and given that the area is one of the warmest, the coldest, and the dryest regions in the world, the climate and the soil in the area is unique, meaning that so is everything growing here. Tiffany is a culinary master, using local ingredients and spinning alternative elegant takes on your favourites, as well as inspirational menus.
Central Otago is famed for its Pinot Noir, and indeed the varietal is 70% of all the vines grown here. Alpine ranges, glacial layers, and a sometimes tropical warmth make for depth of colour, natural stability and profound intensity. A complex red that thrives on the unique terroir, the Pinot’s tannins are evident and forthright but not cloying and overpowering, and at Georgetown Winery in Cromwell their vintage changes every year according to the environment. For white wine fans, head a little further down the road at Wild Earth. Their Pinot Gris in particular is gorgeous, fruity but not sweet, crisp but without the acidity, and their tasting platter paired with wine a superb choice for pre wedding ‘research.’ Aurum wines offer one of the few sparkling varieties in the region, their family history in the Burgandy and Otago regions giving them a certain pedigree.
Of course, no wedding is complete without photographic memories, and Alpine Images are not only brilliantly talented, but brilliant fun, and will ensure the snaps recreate at least some of the magic of your wedding in Wanaka.
The rest of your life; well, that’s up to you.
All photos by Anna Allan, Alpine Images.
Ms Gingham says: This looks absolutely divine to me! I would take one of everything!
About Francesca: Francesca Baker is a freelance writer currently wandering the world with her eyes wide open and scribbling about. Partial to music, reading, culture, walking, cycling, wine, crazy events, smiling, and life, you can read her musings here and follow her on twitter.