I did the walk around Lake Wanaka from Waterfall Creek to Glendhu Bay in just over 3 hours at a distance of 10 km. I found the track quite good with a few steep parts here and there. The day was really sunny, this made the little lakefront beaches sparkle. I also enjoyed the wide views out to Mt Aspiring National park, even with a little snow on the mountains. Walking the track from Wanaka to Glendhu Bay rather than the other way, will give you better views I think. The sign say’s it’ll only take 2 hours and 30 mins but at a steady pace and taking photos it took me just over 3 hours. After the Wanaka flood in Dec 2019 the lake washed out bits of the track making biking a challenge in the soft sand. Still a great ride though and I’m sure all the drift wood will wash away over time.
If you bike the track it’ll probably take you around 1 hour (from Waterfall Creek) depending if you’ve got electric or not. It’s pretty tough going if you don’t have an e-bike. You can hire a small e-bike, medium e-bike or large electric mountain bike and collect from Wanaka town at 10am.
Start by bike: Starting from Wanaka marina at 10am, pick up your e-bike and ride along the lakefront, then onto Waterfall Creek track then on to Glendhu Bay. Then take a relaxing 25 min boat ride back to Wanaka at 1.30pm.
Start by boat: If you prefer you can reverse the ride and start with the boat trip and return by bike.
I noticed the early bird jet boat ride was out on the lake, great time to do this fun tour. There were also a few keen kayaks, it was such a great day for them. Plus a lot of boats on Lake Wanaka, take a self drive hire boat to get to all those secluded lakefront beaches or take a jet ski instead of walking!
Plenty of parking at the start of the walk. I didn’t take our friends dogs this time but I have done before, they love this walk, especially chasing the rabbits! So long as they are well behaved you don’t need to have them on a lead. But you must pick up all your poo.
At the top of the second small climb is the better of the two look outs. Take a couple of minutes and enjoy the view. This is the best point to look down on to Ruby Island.
If I’m walking the dogs, this is usually as far as I’d go but today I’m walking all the way to Glendhu Bay. Take a sharp left off the track up to the seat, sit awhile and take in the massive views over Lake Wanaka.
There really isn’t much to see at Slaughthouse Creek, just a bridge over the stream. But you can walk down to the Wanaka lake edge and dip your toes in the freezing water. However, if you walk a bit further you’ll be rewarded with much nicer beaches.
When I got to this sign, I’m like, if I go down to the lake will I need to double back or carry on and how far is it? I went to the lake thinking it would continue and meet up with the track, but it doesn’t. However, I’m really glad I did the detour, the lake beachfront was stunning and it only took me 5 mins to get there.
As I rounded the corner and headed down into Damper Bay I was rewarded with an excellent view of the lakefront beach. The track continues behind the beach with not many opportunities to get on it. But wait until you round the next corner for something even better! Damper Bay is 5.7 km along the 10 km track.
Just around the corner are more lovely beaches, much nicer than Damper Bay. I stopped, had a bite to eat, drank some water and paddled in the clear lake water for awhile before heading off. The sand was nice and soft here.
Not quite as much to see on this part of the walk back to the car park at Glendhu Bay. You can see all the drift wood all over the track after the Dec 2019 flood when Lake Wanaka got really high. I’m sure next time I walk this it’ll all be gone! Once you reach the car park you can continue on for another 1.7 km to the Glendhu Bay campground. I did this walk on 31 Dec 2019 and the place was packed and it’s a massive campground too! Loads of people enjoying the lake with their boats and jet ski’s.