Central Otago and the Queenstown Lakes District, which includes Wānaka, is one of the most famous wine growing regions in New Zealand. I’d love to write more about it, but I’m one of those unsophisticated people who can’t stand wine. I do, however, enjoy a good viewpoint, and the Rippon Vineyard certainly excels in that regard.
I ventured to Rippon Vineyard solely for the views, and they didn’t disappoint. If you visit in summer the vines will be at their bright green best and you might also see some lavender in the foreground. You can see lots more lavender at the Wānaka Lavender Farm, but you may not need to after seeing it at Rippon Vineyard.
The views over Lake Wānaka are pretty special and it seems to be socially acceptable to go there and enjoy them without doing wine tasting or parting with any of your money. They really should put a café there though – these views could be exploited to a far greater degree.
You can walk along the ridge to get some different angles, but there isn’t too much else to do there. It is a peaceful place though and it’s probably the best elevated viewpoint that you can easily walk to from downtown Wānaka. All of these things make it one of the best things to do in Wānaka, and I haven’t even talked about the wine yet.
READ MORE: Check out our guide to the best things to do in Wānaka
Wine Tasting at Rippon Vineyard
I opted not to do a wine tasting at Rippon Vineyard – it would have been wasted on me anyway. Gia did though, and I roped her into writing about it for this post.
After savouring the stunning views over Lake Wānaka, we went inside the Cellar Door of Rippon Vineyard to join an informal wine tasting. Four to six different wines from their current vintages are introduced one by one – from the Central Otago region’s pride, the pinot noir to Rippon’s very own Osteiner. I enjoy sweet white wines, so I really loved their Riesling and Gewürztraminer.
Whether you are a wine enthusiast or just wanting to see what these tastings are all about, a wine tasting offers a great way to get a bit more knowledge on the wine produced in the region and the outstanding craftsmanship involved in every bottle. Wine tastings are free of charge and open hourly from 11 am to 5 pm. While you can buy a bottle and enjoy it at the vineyard, do note that food is not available at the cellar door.
It should take you around 30 or 40 minutes to walk from the centre of town to Rippon Vineyard. You could also take a short detour to #thatwanakatree, New Zealand’s most famous tree (on social media at least). Of course, you can also drive there if you have your own wheels (which is the best way of getting around New Zealand).
Other Viewpoints in Wānaka
You could head up to Mount Iron if you want an easy walk, but most of the other viewpoints in and around Wānaka require some serious hiking. Roys Peak and Isthmus Peak are the best, but also check out Rocky Mountain. There are also some great views on the road to Haast (via Hawea) and on the way to Rob Roy Glacier.
READ MORE: 10 of the Best Walks in Wānaka
Are you planning a trip to Wānaka? Check out our three – seven day itinerary!
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