High Five… New Zealand’s South Island!

I was lucky enough to visit New Zealand’s South Island for the first time recently, and to say I was blown away would be an understatement as I cruised around the South Island on a whistle-stop, week-long tour. The place never stopped amazing me; from the beautiful scenery and vast landscapes to adrenaline fuelled adventure sports, awesome bars, restaurants and nightlife, and the friendly, laid-back people who call this fantastic place home ... Don’t leave Wanaka without taking a cruise to the Mou Waho Island Nature Reserve, a unique island at the centre of the lake with some fantastic views of Wanaka. Then wind down at the famous Cinema Paradiso, where freshly baked cookies, homemade ice cream and an ice cold beer await as you watch the latest movies from a comfy sofa or old Morris Minor. Pure happiness.


Review - Les Fraser - Aberdeen April 2013

Having just returned from yet another wonderful holiday in wonderful Wanaka I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed my visits to the Cinema Paradiso in between bouts of tramping.

My heart sank when I first arrived in town and saw your old building lying empty but soon found out that you had got yourself a new place which I really like and was pleased to see that it has lost none of the charm of it’s predecessor while having much more space for dining etc which is good.

Great films, friendly staff and brilliant food and drinks! A wonderful cinema!

MANDY LIM sneaks a peek at five movie theatres with a difference. - SilverKris May 2012

"A film, in itself, can quite often leave you with a sense of awe and wonderment. Some cinemas, however, up the ante for the audience by creating a unique atmosphere or simply by providing a movie-going experience like no other.

Paradiso: Cinema, Cafe, Bar — Wanaka, New Zealand

The little alpine town of Wanaka on New Zealand’s South Island may be famed for its natural beauty, but step into Paradiso and you’ll discover why it’s gradually becoming the town’s biggest attraction. Let the aroma of freshly baked cookies and pizza lead you in, or indulge in homemade ice cream – passionfruit is a hot favourite – and locally brewed beers, all of which are available before, during or after the movie. But here’s the clincher: you get to pick your seat of choice from comfy couches, plane seats or the much-coveted photo opportunity – the Cinema Paradiso car (above right). In the end, whether you’re watching the latest box office hit or an art film almost doesn’t matter in this cinema where film takes a back seat."

Cinema Paradiso – The best little cinema in the World
Posted on February 7th, 2012

The small Southern alpine town of Wanaka is world famous for its natural beauty, hiking, skiing, fishing and laid-back vibe, however the town is also home to Cinema Paradiso,  ‘the best little cinema in the world’.

Cinema Paradiso is not your average run-of-the-mill cinema, the moment you step through the doors into the café/entrance area you are aware this cinema is different. The seducing smell of freshly baked cookies and homemade pizzas hit you as soon as you enter Cinema Paradiso.

The small café bakes all its own food, the cookies and pizzas are particularly good, and Cinema Paradiso also serves locally brewed beers (Brewski and Cardona from the Wanaka Brewery). All of which are available during the interval of the film.

So while Cinema Paradiso also serves as a wicked little café the true brilliance of the ‘best little cinema in the world’ lies behind the swing doors. Queues form early as locals and returning visitors know what awaits them.

Pick your seat: a couch, plane seat or the Cinema Paradiso car. As the doors swing open, the queue rushes forward, everyone wants to find their favourite spot, be it a couch at the front, the airline seats at the back or the car located to the side. First-time visitors may be tempted to head straight for the car and with good reason; it’s a great photo opportunity.

Once everyone has found their seat, maybe even trying out a few different options, there is nothing to do but sit back and enjoy the show, Cinema Paradiso, where the film takes a back seat." My Postcard from New Zealand. Feb 2012