The town of Wanaka is a proper town and not simply a resort town. There are 3 mountains in the area to ride. Treble Cone is 20km away and Cardona is about the same distance - both about half an hour's drive. Snow Park is a small mountain that basically only has a park. There is also a cross-country ski area called Snow Farm next to Cardrona.В 

There is a bus service up to each mountain in the morning, but a car makes things so much easier. You might be able to pick up a fairly cheap ($500 or less) car if you're looking in the local paper, or you ask around. Otherwise, tons of people hitch up the hill. There are basically queues that form down at the T-junction at Lake Wanaka.

The town is big enough to have several shops, but you'll still bump into people you know wherever you go, unlike Queenstown. Wanaka still has the small town feel to it. The town gets busy during school holidays but is quiet apart from that.