This outdoorsy town sports awesome single-track mountain biking, many waterfalls, hike to great view of glaciers, great bouldering, and super fun canyonering. What's not to like?
This spot made the top 6 because we loved the track designed specifically for mountain biking with awesome banked curves, the canyon adventure, and a beautiful walk in a valley up to Rob Roy glacier. Canyoning included rapelling through waterfalls, sliding freely into pools, ziplining, and an optional jump off a cliff. Swimming in the lake or river was also a highlight. We didn't climb while there, but heard that the bouldering was excellent. We could have stayed in Wanaka for weeks and kept finding more things to do.
And, don't forget the waterfalls.
The town of Wanaka is pretty small and located on Lake Wanaka. Within a on hour drive are many adventures and hikes. The well-known highlight of the town is a movie theater in which the seats are non-matching couches and where you can drink a beer or eat as you enjoy the show. It's a good place for a rainy evening or to chill out after the day's adventures. Beware that because of the town's popularity, much of the town is off-limits to "freedom camping" so you'll need to use one of the many designated camping grounds. We liked the one in Albert town because it was on the river, except for the night we stayed out late at the movie and got locked out of the camping ground.
As it's a pretty touristy place, there is plenty of information online about Wanaka. We specifically enjoyed Dean's Bank mountain bike trail, Deep Canyon guides for canyoning, and hiking Rob Roy trail.