Our favourite things to do when we stay at Clee Cottage

Clee Cottage is beautiful through all seasons.

Because it nestles in more than half an acre of established grounds it is a private and tranquil spot and although extensive renovations have been carried out the original Cottage retains much of its old character and charm.

With its two living rooms and well set-up kitchen it invites people to settle in.

But when in the mood to venture out there is plenty to do including walking, biketrails, skiing, golf, fishing and more…

Clee Cottage in autumn

Wanaka, in autumn, is a sight to behold. Due to a lack of nutrients in the soil the Virginia creeper on the cottage and the established trees surrounding it take on spectacular colour.

Photographers have a field day and there is a good reason why Clee Cottage has been the subject of more than one artist’s palette.

It also features in a number of books.

Walks and biketrails.

Wanaka’s many trails all have one thing in common – spectacular scenery.  Right across the road from Clee Cottage at Bremner Bay a left turn takes you along the lake edge to town and then on past the Rippon Vineyard all the way along the Millenium Track to beautiful Glendhu Bay.  If you make it that far, be sure to check out the dramatic sight of Mototapu Gorge.  If, however, you choose to turn right along the lakefront at Bremner Bay, you will at first pass by stunning  homes before signs of habitation drop away and there’s a gentle walk or ride all the way to the mouth of the Clutha River and well beyond.  As you go you will pass by wild lupins and roses and beautiful sights in all directions.   Other outstanding walks are those in the Matukituki Valley up to the Aspiring Hut and Rob Roy Glacier. Closer to town the ascent of Mt Roy, though a bit of a slog uphill, rewards with panoramic views as does the less arduous ascent of Mt Iron.


View from Treble Cone skifield, Wanaka, New Zealand
Shona and James at Treble Cone with Wanaka in the background.

Treble Cone, with its standout views of Lake Wanaka and the Southern Alps is our personal favourite.  A half hour drive from town, its expansive slopes are served by a high speed six-seater chairlift, as well as a four-seater higher up and a friendly learners’ poma down below. The popular Cardrona skifield, which is a half hour drive in the opposite direction, has a new $10million express six seater “chondola” in McDougall’s basin.

At the end of a day’s skiing Clee Cottage has a fantastic hearth complete with wrought iron rack for drying out sodden gear.


The Central Otago region is acclaimed as a golfing destination. Wanaka boasts its own 18-hole course with commanding lake and mountain views where visitors are welcome and club hire is available. Just a little further afield at Queenstown is the famous Jack’s Point championship course and at nearby Arrowtown is a cluster of several other very well known courses – the exclusive Hills course which has hosted the New Zealand Open, the 27-hole Millbrook Resort golf course and lastly, but not to be ignored, the Arrowtown golf course where rocky schist outcrops can do funny things to golf balls.


Lake Wanaka has self-sustaining populations of both salmon and trout and the region is famous for its dry fly and sight fishing. Some say it’s the best in the world. Local guides share knowledge of special spots and their personal  tips for success.  These vary according to the time of year. Some of the top spots are accessible from shore but many can only be reached by boat.

Wanaka and its environs offers wonderful Vineyard visits, Restaurants,  Bars and Shopping . The Warbirds and Wheels Museum is unique to the town as is Puzzling World with its great maze and illusions rooms– but ultimately it is the lure of the stunning outdoors that makes the area so special. Just about every outdoor activity you can think of is on Clee Cottage’s doorstep – but be sure to spend some time just soaking up the peace of the Cottage and its grounds.