Queenstown New Zealand is a place like no other, it is best known as the adventure capital of the world. For a small town it has so much charisma and holds a special place in my heart . Situated in the South-West of New Zealand’s South Island, it looks over Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains of The Remarkables (LOTR MORDOR), Cecil’s Peak and Walters Peak. In this blog I will share 4 amazing day hikes from Queenstown, which I loved doing when I lived there. These hike/walks are all easily accessible from the centre of Queenstown so no car is needed.
These trails range from easy to semi challenging. As a small human of 4’10 with little legs I have managed to complete all these hikes several times with a slow pace and a good playlist. I suggest packing a lunch and plenty of water to enjoy along the beautiful trails.
Things to consider packing in your backpack before you begin:
- Anti Bac
- Sun cream
- Powerbank and cable
- Plenty of water
Let’s start with one of my favourite day hikes from Queenstown!
Distance: 1.5km each way
Duration: 2 – 3 hours round trip
Difficulty: Moderate (depends which way up you go, some parts are steep)
Starting Point: Car Park just off Belfast Terrace
This is a relatively easy hike from Queenstown that leads you to gorgeous panoramic views of the mountains, Lake Wakatipu, and the town centre. Keep in mind the distance from Fergburger to Belfast Terrace is a 20 minute walk or a 5 minute drive (not included in the above duration). Depending on your fitness level this trail is mostly moderate. The path is well maintained and easy to follow. There are two main trails, one with 6 information boards for you to ponder over whilst taking a break and one that seems quicker but a little steeper.
From memory I believe left is the shorter but steeper route and right is the longer but steadier incline. What I love about this walk isn’t just the spectacular views but the journey itself. There is a section full of rock piles and if you look hard enough there is a little fairy house with notes in from previous walkers.
At the top (before the real top) you will see the “basket of dreams” the artist Caroline Robinson envisioned this piece for a place to rest and enjoy the views, inspiration and reflection . A lot of tourists make the mistake of thinking this is the end but actually there is a little bit of track left to get to the top. Once up there you will be treated to panoramic views of the mountains, Lake Wakatipu and the town centre.
Distance: 2.1km each way
Duration: 2 – 2.5 hours (round trip)
Difficulty: Moderate (short but steep)
Starting point: Gondola Station at Brecon Street
This hike is all forest with glimpses of Lake Wakatipu between the trees. The walk is steep in parts but manageable. This walk intertwines with some mountain bike trails so watch out for crazy cyclists! Again I think there is a little tree house you can explore near the beginning of the trek. Once you reach Bob’s peak you are welcomed with views of the beautiful mountains, the lake and the town.
While some would argue it is the same views as Queenstown hill, I think you get a different perspective when you are up there. The biggest difference with the Tiki Trail to most hikes is the entertainment that awaits at the top. You can bungy jump from Bob’s peak, take the Gondola down if you are feeling tired or go luging! There is also a café and restaurant up there to. It is quite a surreal experience going from pure wilderness to pavements and people! If you haven’t been luging I highly recommend it!
The Tiki Trail is also a warm up act to the next hike!
Distance: 14km from Queenstown | 11km from top Gondola return
Duration: To the Saddle 3-4 hours | to the summit 6 – 8 hours return trip
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
Starting point: Gondola Station at Brecon Street or Bob’s Peak top of Gondola
So if you are up for a challenge and found the Tiki Trail way too easy, then you are in luck! This is one of the harder day hikes in Queenstown. Beyond Bob’s peak is the start of Ben Lomond. Along the whole journey you are surrounded by spectacular views and rolling hills.
Don’t be fooled, what you think is the top, actually isn’t! The journey to the saddle is a steady incline and very moderate. However when you pass that you are met with a steep rocky incline, which I remember describing as more of a climb than a hike. Referring back to my short legs, it took a lot of effort to get to the top and the temperature dropped considerably.
If you are going between April to November, be prepared for snow. Make sure you respect the weather and do not continue if the trail becomes too dangerous. On clear days, you will get to see Mount Earnslaw and Mount Aspiring. The views are spectacular and well worth the trek. I cheated on the journey back and got the gondola from Bob’s peak to Queenstown (missing the Tiki trail down).
Queenstown Gardens to Frankton Marina
Distance: 12km return
Duration: 1 – 2 hours return
Starting point: Queenstown Gardens
This trek is more of a casual walk/stroll than an actual hike. You can either do the loop trails in the gardens which takes 30 minutes or head around to Frankton Marina. Walking along the coast of Lake Wakatipu. The gardens is such a beautiful part of Queenstown,. Across the bay you can see Cecil and Walters Peak along with Kelvin Peninsula. After the walk why not have a picnic and play some frisbee golf! The walk is very easy and doesn’t require to much preparation.
And that my friends, are my favourite day hikes in Queenstown!
OTHER QUEENSTOWN DAY HIKES
These hikes require a car to the starting point but are truly beautiful loop trails.
- Moke Lake loop track: Length 4.5km | 2-3 hour return | Difficulty: Easy | Starting at Moke Lake campsite.
- Mount Crichton loop track: Length 7.3km | 3-4 hour return | Difficulty: Moderate | Starting at Mount Crichton car park.
- Glenorchy walkway loop track: Length: 5km | 1-2 hours return | Difficulty: Easy | Starting Glenorchy town.
- Lake Alta Length: 1.9km | 1 – 2 hours return | Difficulty: Hard | Starting at Remarkables ski fields.
These walk’s can be done by bus or walking.
- Lake Johnson Length: 25 minutes from Frankton bus stop | Difficulty: Easy
- Sunshine Bay Length: 4km return | 1 – 3 hours return there is a side track that leads to Two Mile creek falls | Difficulty: Easy | Starting point: Queenstown town centre.
Queenstown is one of my favourite places, after living there a year I can safely say it is worth the journey. There is so much beauty to see and adventures to be had! If you need to know more about this incredible place I called home, click here to see my top things to do in Queenstown!