Wakatipu Day Walks: Our Top Picks
Queenstown By foot
In every direction, Queenstown offers pristine landscapes with stunning walking or hiking options. In fact, we think Queenstown has some of the best hiking options in the region. Here are four of our favourite Queenstown walks, ranging from an easy stroll to an uphill slog.
FRANKTON TRACK OR KELVIN PENINSULA TRAIL
- Relaxed lakeside stroll
- Grade: Easy
- Time: Frankton – 1 – 1½ hours (if walking from Frankton Beach to town)
- Kelvin Heights – 1 – 1½ hours (if walking from Kawarau Bridge to Jardine Park)
After a long car or plane journey, a lakeside walk is the perfect way to stretch the legs. And Spinnaker Bay Apartments are situated on the Frankton Track which is the perfect place to start this idyllic lakeside walk. Once you hit the path, keep the water on your right shoulder for the Kelvin Heights Peninsula trail which winds all the way around Frankton Arm to Kelvin Heights Peninsular. This is an easy 1-2 hour walk. Stop for coffee at the Boat Shed, a beer at the Frankton Arm Tavern, an afternoon vino at the Wakatipu Grill or tea and scones at the Queenstown Golf Course. In the other direction, it's just a short but pretty spectacular stroll into town with beautiful gardens, playgrounds and picnic areas.
Frankton Track is perfect for joggers looking for an early morning running track.
QUEENSTOWN HILL TIME WALK
- Uphill walk with rewarding views over Queenstown
- Grade: Medium – high fitness required
- Time: 1½ - 2 hours return to car park
Starting at Belfast Street above central Queenstown, this hill walk is a great way to get the heart rate going with spectacular views down south towards Kingstown and out past Walter Peak to Mt Nicholas as your reward!. Uphill most of the way, this walk takes you through pine forest then into the cleared hilltop of Queenstown Hill. The views at the top are 360 degrees of jaw-dropping beauty. Take some time to rest at The Basket of Dreams sculpture and soak up the beauty of the lake and mountain views before you. Guaranteed to get the heart pumping, but well worth the effort when you reach the top. In winter, hike early for the sun rise, and in winter - later in the evening for he sun set!
ARROW RIVER WALK & TOBIN’S TRACK
- Start off easy with a riverside walk, and then head up Tobin’s Track for an uphill push.
- Grade: Easy, then medium level fitness required for Tobin’s Track
- Time: 1 – 1½ hours (including Tobin’s Track)
A great reason to visit the historic town of Arrowtown is the beautiful riverside walking track, especially during Autumn when the trees come alive with shades of rust, orange and yellow!. Start at the car park below Ramshaw Lane and follow the picturesque river trail lined with Willow, Sycamore and Larch trees. Cross to the east bank of the Arrow River at the Tobin’s Track signs and head uphill for a brisk 30 minute walk to the Crown Terrace. The top of the track offers stunning views over the Wakatipu Basin.
BOB’S PEAK / BEN LOMOND
- A full day hike to the summit of Ben Lomond is a challenging hike, but well worth the effort.
- Grade: High level of fitness required. Be prepared for snow above the bush line April to November
- Time: 3 – 4 hours return to Ben Lomond Saddle / 6 – 8 hours return to Ben Lomond Summit
If you’re looking for a challenging hike, then the Ben Lomond Trail won’t disappoint, especially for sunrise! This walk begins in the lush beech forest at One Mile Creek, before heading towards Bob’s Peak. At 800m you come into the open alpine tussock of the Ben Lomond saddle. Continue on past the saddle until you reach the Ben Lomond summit at 1,748m. Enjoy a well-earned rest at the summit and take in the dizzying lake and mountain views. Always check the weather conditions before setting off.
If you’re looking for an easier version of this walk, head to Bob’s Peak. Start at One Mile Creek, and follow the Skyline access road to the top of Skyline Gondola. Here you can reward yourself with some food and drink at Skyline restaurant and enjoy the best views of central Queenstown. Alternatively, you can take the gondola up to Skyline and hike the remainder, although this is still considered an alpine environment so please pack appropriate supplies!
There are many more walks in and around Queenstown, too many to mention here. If you prefer pedal power, there’s an excellent network of cycle trails on the Queenstown Trail. Queenstown is an outdoors destination and with a huge range of walks to suit all levels of ability and timeframes, there’s no excuse for not getting out for a walk or two while you’re here.
Full information on local Queenstown walks is available here or pop in and have a chat with us at the front desk.