New Zealand is in the Pacific Ocean. Approximately the size of the United Kingdom but with a small population of just over 4 million. It’s long curved shape adds to the mix of climates, landscapes and changeable weather. It’s well know for outdoor adventures, luxury lodges, fine food and wine. The people are friendly and there is no shortage of clean, green space. Many travellers who fall in love with the place never leave. Those who do manage to drag themselves aboard the flight home are sure to be planning their return as soon as possible.
Hidden away on the edge of Mt Aspiring National Park in the South Island is the small town of Wanaka. Often referred to as ‘where heaven meets earth’ it has lakes, mountains, waterfalls and snow all within moments of each other. During our entire stay we were in a bubble, not only physically wrapped in by snow capped mountains but we found our days pass with so much enjoyment that we weren't sure whether it was Friday, Sunday or Wednesday. The delicious food and world class wine definitely also assist with the break away from the day to day.
The Wanaka landscape is the most incredible backdrop for a luxury alpine wedding. It is the perfect destination for those who wish to plan a gathering with adventure and activity. The area is a wonderful showcase of New Zealand and we think there is everything that you need to create a beautiful wedding for everyone to remember for years to come.
Visas and passports
You will need a valid passport to travel to New Zealand and it is best to check the latest visa requirements for your nationality as it does vary. If you are flying within New Zealand you don’t NEED your passport but you are required to have ID and could be asked to show your visa so we recommend you have it with you. http://www.immigration.govt.nz/migrant/stream/visit/
The only currency used is NZ dollars. Most places will take credit cards without a minimum spend. You will see EFTPOS is widely accepted, this a NZ debit card payment. Withdrawing currency from the bank machines may incur charges. You should check with your bank before leaving for any maximum limits on how much you can withdraw on any one day and inform them you are travelling. We suggest you pay for as much of your wedding as you can before you come to avoid any hassles. If you are paying from an overseas account there will most likely be transaction fees.
The weather outside
We recommend September for snowy mountains, sunny days and evenings by the fire.
Spring (September, October, November)
Summer (December,January, February)
Autumn (March, April, May)
Winter (June, July, August)
Let’s get connected
Internet and WIFI should be supplied by your accommodation, sometimes there are additional charges. The capability is fine for emails and Spotify but not good for loading big files, like photos.
Network coverage/reception in Wanaka is good quality when you have it. Once on the roads out of town there are times when you have no signal.
Sim Cards are available from phone shops in Queenstown or Wanaka.
The main providers are Spark and Vodafone. You will need your passport to buy one.
NZ Dialling code: +64
Wanaka area code: 03
Medical and vaccinations
We always recommend following the advice of your travel agent for your entire trip and taking out suitable insurance. There is excellent health care across New Zealand and a local Medical Centre and pharmacy in Wanaka. Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. At the time we went there were no recommended vaccinations.
Aspiring Medical Centre
Wanaka Lakes Health Centre,
23 Cardrona Valley Rd, Wanaka 9305
Phone: 03-443 0725
23 Cardrona Valley Rd, Wanaka 9305
Phone: 03-443 5290
It’s good to know
- Wanaka is host to sporting events all year round, it’s best to check dates before booking.
- New Zealand customs has some strict rules around bio-security to protect its pristine environment. Be careful what food and animal products you pack to bring with you and check the rules.
- If you ask us they have the work life balance just right in Wanaka, people are laid back so don’t stress if they are a few minutes late or you find them chilled out.
- Google Maps doesn’t work that well in Wanaka and signals drop in and out.
- New Zealand is well known for its ‘four seasons in one day’ weather and off the grid experiences, always check with the local information sites before heading off on any adventures and pack suitable clothing, hats, sunscreen etc.
- Sandflies are a small biting fly (like a mosquito) that can be present at certain times of the year. It’s worth packing your choice of repellent but we can recommend ‘Goodbye Sandfly’ available from camping shops in New Zealand, it’s all natural.
Allow three months to organise your marriage licence for New Zealand and work with your Celebrant on making sure you are properly prepared. You can order your Marriage license online at http://www.dia.govt.nz
This is valid for 3 months, and takes 3 working days to process. You are legally required to state two locations, for wet and fine weather. When sending your application by post or email you enter on the form the day you will go to Queenstown to collect the documentation from the Queenstown District Court. When you arrive in Queenstown carry out the following:-
- One of you is required to sign the BDM 58 in front of the Registrar
- The license fee is paid by you to the Registrar (Approx NZ$125.00)
- You will then be given the Particulars of Marriage documents that you sign on the day of your Marriage along with the license authorization for your Celebrant.
- Always check that your names and all the information is spelt correctly.
Choosing the right wedding attire
Most wedding dress styles would work in Wanaka but you may want to choose more carefully if you plan to use a helicopter transfer. A slim fitting skirt will allow you to be graceful and composed and mean that there is room for the Groom to sit next to you. If you are going up into the snow some cosy boots under your dress are perfect and why not add a fabulous cape or jacket to your wedding look.
For the Groom and the gent’s in your wedding party you can allow them to choose freely. It does get quite hot in the summer but many will still wear a 2 piece suit. You may want to suggest they put their jackets on at the last minute if your ceremony is outside to avoid over heating when the sun is strong.
For your guest we would suggest that hats and sunglasses are a good idea for outdoor ceremonies during summer and make sure they have layers for cooler days. Check there is suncream available or provided as the average burn time in summer 15 mins.
Dry Cleaners and Alterations
The nearest dry-cleaners is in Queenstown, Central Dry Cleaning Limited and they do offer a same day service. We suggest you call before you go there check.
Phone: 03 441 1066
We have some alteration specialists in our Wanaka wedding guide.
Shops, Restaurants, Bars
There are lovely little shops in Wanaka, but it will depend on what you need. There are outdoor activity shops, pharmacies, food stores, cafes, bars and restaurants and a couple of homeware stores. If you want to make any group bookings for your guests for the rehearsal dinner or next day brunch we recommend arranging this in advance.