THAT Wanaka Tree.

It’s not often a humble tree can be afforded landmark status, but ‘That Wanaka Tree’ is something much more than your average plant.

Sitting on the edge of lake Wanaka, this little willow tree is now so famous it has it’s own instagram account and hashtag – #thatwanakatree. It sounds crazy, but it really is the most perfectly positioned and photogenic tree! One of my favourite bloggers is Wanaka-based Liz Carlson of and I’ve been obsessed with getting my own perfectly instagrammable shot ever since I first read about the tree on her blog.


visiting that wanaka tree blog pinterest pin

Need more convincing that this is New Zealand’s most famous tree? Give it a search on google maps and you’ll find it’s exact location pinpointed. We could route from our location to where the tree was (which was good as it’s quite a big lake…).

After driving to Wanaka I made Mikey take us down to the tree before we’d even found somewhere to camp for the night because, priorities. It felt like I was off to meet a celebrity, like I’d have to bat my eyelashes at it’s branches or something.

As we saw it on the horizon I started to squeak quite loudly. Even from a distance it looked bloody gorgeous!


So was all the excitement worth it?

See for yourself.


WOAHHHHH. Amirite?

And shouldn’t a blogger find a better way to describe that first sighting than ‘woahhhh’? Probably, but that’s about all I had when I saw the tree with the perfect background of mountains covered in snow, turning pink from the low winter sun.


It was even pretty enough to get me out of bed before dawn, and I am not exaggerating when I say I ran down the frozen lake shore in a panic. I was worried I’d lose the light before I set up my shots. Lucky Mikey was happy to be left to pack up the camper on his own. Or maybe he was just glad to be away from the excited squeaking? Who knows…


I was surprised to have the tree to myself on such a beautiful morning. After hearing tales of visiting photographers fighting over the best tripod spot it was something of a relief. Instead of a scrum it was just me, and the birds who had chosen these famous branches as their roost for the night.


Yes That Wanaka Tree, you lived up to the hype. Swoon.



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  • Reply NZ Muse

    Gorgeous! The lighting in these is sublime.

    September 24, 2015 at 8:36 pm
    • Reply Cheskie

      Thank you 🙂 It was very hard to take a bad picture I must say…!

      September 27, 2015 at 6:58 pm

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