Wanaka is one of New Zealand’s premier resort towns, known as the gateway to the Southern Alps and Mount Aspiring National Park. So staying in a motel in Wanaka is a perfect addition to any road trip!

Although the village is tiny, it attracts a fair share of tourists who visit to explore the mountain ranges and alpine lake region.

The perfect destination for a relaxed, nature-focused vacation, Wanaka is a small yet buzzing alpine town and hub of adventures for the Queenstown district. In fact, just a short hour’s drive from the city of Queenstown (and around five hours from Christchurch), it’s no wonder so many Kiwis choose this gorgeous spot for their local vacations.

As one of the country’s top outdoor destinations, you’ll find some exquisite options for accommodation. So choosing the right motel in Wanaka will turn your trip up like no tomorrow. Motels are the ideal type of accommodation for this town, hitting the perfect medium between a hotel and a self-catering home.

This article will run through the best motels in Wanaka, PERFECT for extended stays, romantic visits, digital nomads, and families. Whatever your reason for visiting, I can guarantee there is a motel suited to your needs.

Fairway Motel Apartments Wanaka

Fairway Motel & Apartments

  • > $$$
  • > 2 Guests
  • > Private kitchen and bathroom with spa tub
  • > Balcony overlooking the on-site pool
Bella Vista Motel Lake Wanaka

Bella Vista Motel Lake Wanaka

  • > $
  • > 2 Guests
  • > Fully serviced suites with heating and laundry services
  • > On the lakefront, a short walk from restaurants, cafes, and bars
Wanaka View Motel

Wanaka View Motel

  • > $$$$
  • > 2 Guests
  • > Balcony with lake and mountain views
  • > A 45-minute drive from the Cardrona and Treble Cone Ski Fields

Staying in a Motel in Wanaka

Wanaka offers some of the most exquisite natural landscapes to visit in New Zealand. From the pristine lake, the town is built onto the dramatic alpine mountains surrounding it. Wanaka is a crazy hub of outdoor activity, adrenaline, and serious relaxation. 

Motels have gained themselves an unfortunate reputation for quick visitors passing by on road trips. The word alone ignites thoughts of stuffy and basic accommodation – without much charm or attraction. While motels certainly are a more affordable option compared with hotels, these stereotypes couldn’t be further from the truth – especially in Wanaka.

Believe me, it’s worth it.
Photo: @themanwiththetinyguitar

Motels in Wanaka offer simple yet comfortable, spacious, and aesthetically pleasing accommodation for anyone from families to solo travelers. Typically, motels are a simpler version of a hotel, featuring fewer service benefits in exchange for a low nightly rate. Though they offer more privacy than hostels in Wanaka.

While they offer fewer amenities than a hotel, motels still provide guests clean linen and towels, complimentary toiletries, tea and coffee facilities, and heating and cooling. Additional extras include laundry facilities, tour desks, and, most importantly, a full self-catering kitchen.

Most of the best motels in Wanaka are conveniently located within the heart of the alpine town, or at least within walking distance of the lake and the many restaurants, cafes, and shops. What more could you need?

What to Look For in a Motel in Wanaka

Known for being a budget-friendly alternative to hotels, motels offer many convenient amenities and services for a surprisingly low cost per night.

If you’re staying in Wanaka with family, children, or a group of friends, you will be happy to learn that most motels in Wanaka have various options when it comes to room types and sizes. Choose from studio suites to one, two, and three-bedroom apartments, perfectly sized for bigger groups traveling together.

New Zealand is known for being incredibly inclusive regarding disability too. So if you are traveling with a wheelchair or require an accessible room, there are plenty of disability-friendly motels with accessible rooms in Wanaka. Though always double-check with the property that there are no sneaky steps or narrow entranceways that might cause any issues. 

Pembroke Park, Wanaka
What an icon.

Travelers visiting for an extended stay in Wanaka will benefit from a self-catering kitchen. Conveniently, most motels have full kitchens or, at the very least, basic kitchenettes suitable for preparing your own meals. Long-term visitors might also need those essential laundry facilities.

Public transport is sparse in Wanaka, and you’ll likely arrive in town with your own car or rental vehicle. In fact, if you plan to explore the surrounding ski resorts and lake region, I highly recommend renting a car. If this is the case, make sure to find a property with off-street parking included in the nightly rate. 

With so many amenities and services, it can get confusing to prioritize the most important ones. Check out Booking.com for Wanaka’s broadest variety of motels and unique accommodations. This platform makes it easy to filter any amenities or services and find exactly the type of motel for your needs.

The Top 10 Motels in Wanaka

Are you ready to take a closer look at 10 of the sickest motels in Wanaka?! Whether you’re on a serious south island road trip or you need a weekend away, I’ve compiled this list featuring a variety of motels suitable for different types of travelers. 

Overall Best Value Motel in Wanaka – Archway Motels

Superior Access Studio Wanaka
  • $$
  • Wood-fired hot tubs
  • 4 Guests
  • Town center location

You won’t find a motel more intertwined with nature than this one. Set a short walk from Lake Wanaka and trekking trails galore, Archway Motels features free-standing chalets with hot tub decks overlooking the mountains.

Places to Visit Nearby:

  • Eely Point Reserve
  • Wanaka Recreational Center
  • Wanaka Lakefront

With nature in every direction you look, Archway Motels is surrounded by some of New Zealand’s best hikes and mountain trails. It’s also spitting distance of the town’s restaurants and cafes. The motel features cozy chalets, each with a full kitchen and modern living space. 

Some of the best rooms even feature a wooden deck or balcony with a private wood-burning fireplace overlooking mountain and valley views. This accessible studio has three beds and space for four guests and is designed with a rustic wooden feel. It has an easy-access ramp and is conveniently located on the ground floor.

Best Budget Motel in Wanaka – Bella Vista Motel Lake Wanaka

Bella Vista Motel Lake Wanaka
  • $
  • Free off-street parking
  • 2 Guests
  • Lakeside

Bella Vista Motels are a chain brand that has made strides in the best places to stay in New Zealand. As one of the best motels in Wanaka on a budget, the chain offers affordable, comfortable, and spacious accommodation in a quiet street just steps from the center of Wanaka town and the lake shore. 

This compact studio room has tea and coffee-making facilities, a mini-fridge, a private office desk, and a simple seating area. It also features a balcony with glass sliding doors overlooking the surrounding mountains.

Best Motel for Couples in Wanaka – Fairway Motel & Apartments

  • $$$
  • Private kitchen
  • 2 Guests
  • Outdoor swimming pool

Treat yourself to a relaxing stay at the Fairway Motel and Apartments, which offers self-contained accommodation just a ten-minute walk from Wanaka. The rooms have been recently refurbished with warm neutral tones and fresh linens and feature a well-equipped kitchenette, dining area, and TV. 

Guests can also use shared facilities, including an outdoor pool and BBQ deck, laundry services, and bike storage. If you’re looking for adventure travel, visiting to ski the local mountains, there is space to store your skis in a heated ski drying room, and guests can even request a car wash at the property.

Best Motel for a Group of Friends in Wanaka – Alpine Motel

Alpine Motel Wanaka
  • $$
  • Private terrace
  • 5 Guests
  • BBQ area and gardens

If you’re visiting the town with a group of friends, the Alpine Motel is ideally located just a 5-minute walk from Wanaka town center and the beaches of Lake Wanaka. One of the best motels in Wanaka, Alpine Motel offers self-catering accommodation with a well-fitted kitchen, living room, and dining area. 

On a sunny day, get the BBQ lit and enjoy an outdoor meal in the garden with your friends. Not only is this spot suitable for you and your mates, but it also has a children’s playground and is wheelchair friendly.

Over-the-Top Luxury Motel in Wanaka – Wanaka View Motel

  • $$$$
  • Lake and mountain views
  • 2 Guests
  • Close to ski resorts

Easily one of the more luxurious properties on the list, Wanaka View Motel is a newly built property with contemporary interiors and modern furnishing. The rooms are stylish and sunny, with tons of natural light and views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. 

It’s just a few steps from the top restaurants, cafes, and bars along the lakefront, with many rooms boasting lake views. If you’re into skiing and snowboarding, you’ll be just a short 45-minute drive from the famous Cardrona and Treble Cone Ski Fields.

Best Motel for Families Visiting Wanaka – Wanaka Heights Motel

  • $$
  • Private balcony
  • 5 Guests
  • Free parking

Wanaka Heights Motel offers simple, spacious, and clean accommodation in the heart of the town center. It’s one of the best motels in Wanaka for families on a budget, featuring family-sized rooms suitable for up to 5 guests.

Units are fitted with a self-catering kitchen, a smart TV, an ensuite bathroom, and luxurious extras, including heated blankets and balconies overlooking views of the surrounding mountains. Ideal for kids, it’s just a 10-minute drive from the super fun Puzzling World and 35 minutes from the local ski resorts.

Best Motel in Wanaka for Backpackers – Wanaka Bakpaka

  • $
  • Dorms and private rooms
  • 1 Guest
  • BBQ area

If you’re backpacking through New Zealand, it is safe to assume that you enjoy a social atmosphere and would prefer to save as much money as possible on accommodation. Wanaka Bakpaka is one of New Zealand’s top hostels, with spacious dorms and private rooms for a super low price per night.

The hostel is buzzing with activity through winter and summer. They offer a bunch of shared living spaces where guests can socialize with one another, relax, and cook in good company. You could spend an evening barbequing under the stars or relax in the living room with a good book.

Motel in Wanaka with the Best Views – The Moorings Motel and Apartments

The Moorings Motel and Apartments Wanaka
  • $$$
  • Balcony mountain views
  • 2 Guests
  • Close to Wanaka town center

This town is certainly not short on views, but if you’re looking for the best motel in Wanaka with EPIC views, you’ve come to the right place. Located in the heart of the village, rooms at The Moorings Motel feature sunny balconies with views of the lake and mountains.

Wake up and open your curtains to marvel at the snowcapped alpine mountains from the comfort of your bed before heading out to explore them on foot. Rooms feature underfloor heating and kitchenette facilities. Barbeque facilities and a ski storage room are also available to use throughout your stay.

Best Motel for a Weekend Trip to Wanaka – West Meadows of Wanaka

West Meadows of Wanaka
  • $$
  • Free town transfer 
  • 2 Guests
  • Private kitchenette

Perfectly organized with neutral interiors, warm lighting, and fresh white linen, West Meadows of Wanaka perfectly balances affordability and luxury. Located a short walk from the town center, the motel offers a complimentary shuttle transfer into town at your request. 

Ski bums can use the ski and bike storage space and venture into the Cardrona and Treble Cone Ski Fields, which are under an hour away by car. The accommodation has a range of room sizes, including family-sized suites and facilities for disabled guests.

Best Motel in Wanaka for Honeymooners – Golfcourse Road Chalets and Lodge

Golfcourse Road Chalets and Lodge
  • $$$
  • Onsite golf course
  • 2 Guests
  • Private washrooms

Set on the pristine lawns of a golf course just outside Wanaka, Golfcourse Road Chalets and Lodge offer attractive accommodations with lake, mountain, and golf green views. Each chalet is entirely private and self-contained, with a full kitchen, living space, and cosy loft bedroom.

The heated chalets feature marble bathrooms with complimentary toiletries, bathrobes, and slippers for a luxurious touch. One of the most unique accommodations in Wanaka, some rooms even have a spa tub in the ensuite bathroom. Who said sexy, romantic getaway? 😉

Don’t Forget Your Wanaka Travel Insurance

Traveling without insurance is not a risk worth taking. So get good travel insurance as soon as you book your trip!

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

FAQs About Wanaka’s Motels

Quick-fire round! Here are some common questions about Wanaka accommodation.

Final Thoughts on Motels in Wanaka

You might have noticed that these accommodations don’t resemble the quintessential, rundown American roadside motel. Instead, the best motels in Wanaka are conveniently located, beautifully decorated, and feature a wide range of impressive amenities and facilities. They’re much more luxurious than expected, with mesmerising mountain views and godsend services like free parking and shuttle buses.

Motels are basically a simpler version of a hotel, offering similar amenities for a fraction of the price. As one of the most unique accommodations in Wanaka, you could find yourself staying in a fully serviced self-catering apartment overlooking the lake, all within your budget.

If you’re visiting New Zealand from overseas, ensure you are covered by travel insurance for the duration of your trip. Although this town is incredibly safe, there is always a small chance you might encounter issues with lost luggage, delayed flights, or an injury while abroad. You know what they say: it’s better to be safe than sorry!

wanaka busking choosing your pitch
Roadside stopover.
Photo: @themanwiththetinyguitar

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!