Hiking in Queenstown: List of Essentials and 10 Must-try Trails for Hiking in Queenstown

They say “The best views are always from the top”, and Queenstown seems to provide ample opportunities to witness this beautiful phenomenal truth. With its wide spectrum of nature trails that offer more than just scenic beauty, you get to really heal yourself, discover and rediscover your being and experience a most calming peace. Hiking is such an enriching activity that by the time you complete your walk through the trail and to the top, something new is forged within. “Memories are nurtured when nature reveals.” And to experience this bliss with a tinge of exhilaration, come visit Queenstown, season-no-bar! With a temperate maritime climate round the year, there is hardly any ‘bad time’ to go “tramping” as the New Zealanders say (local lingo for ‘hiking’). But to be a tad bit cautious, you can carry clothing according to the cooler or warmer months. Spring months(September-November), however, are the most popular choice. It is because these months see not only longer durations of sunlight and comfortable day temperatures but also provide a treat to the eye in the form of beautiful cascading waterfalls and the new spring-blooms.
Now, some people are slightly apprehensive about their ability to go hiking for long durations. While some basic level physical fitness is required, Queenstown provides you with avenues that range from shorter hikes of merely half an hour to long hikes ranging few kilometres and a couple of hours. So basically, in a few cases, your enthusiasm is all you need!
Before we get started with the Trails, let’s look at some essentials that we must pack before starting the hike:

List of Essentials for Hiking in Queenstown

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  • Quick-dry fabrics: There is nothing worse than being weighed down by wet jeans or soggy socks or dripping jackets. Always carry a light good raincoat. It’s best to be rain-ready.
  • Good quality Hiking shoes/boots: Since the trails can be long and slippery, it’s advisable to wear comfortable and durable shoes with good sole and ankle support.
  • Merino-wool socks: To avoid blisters while staying warm in cold and cool in high temperatures.
  • A pair of crocs/slippers: Sometimes you may be required to cross a stream or rivulet and you do not want your shoes to be soaking wet.
  • Water Supplies/Energy Drinks/Juices: Staying hydrated is a must.
  • Make sure your camera batteries are all charged: You do not want to miss any click because there will really be some jaw-dropping ‘wow’ moments to capture!
So let’s get started! Here is a list of 10 must-try Hiking Trails:

10 Must-try Trails for Hiking in Queenstown

1. Queenstown Gardens Trail (Easy-3.1 KM)

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Along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, is located this short hiking track that gives you amazing views as it bends along its path, allowing a sneak-peak of the Queenstown Harbour and beach. It also provides a glimpse of The Remarkable range, which are usually hidden from the city view. The track is wide and flat and people can even bring their dogs(on leash) on this hike. Benches are provided along the way where families can halt for rest. The only drawback is that it does not have wheelchair access.

2. Lake Dispute Walkway Trail (Easy-5.8 KM)

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It's a simple walk uphill and one can easily take kids on this easy trail for a short trek. It is lined with beautiful flowers along the nature trail and at one point on the loop around the Lake Dispute, it gives you a connecting way to the Mt. Crichton Loop Track.

3. Bob’s Cove Track (Easy-10.8KM)

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Bobs Cove is named after Bob Fortune, who commanded a lake-boat for William G. Rees, the founder of Queenstown. Captain Bob would often take shelter from local storms in the cove, which is how it got its name. It’s a nice secluded place to relax and unwind from the busy city life. In case you feel too lazy to hike all the way, mountain biking is also an option here!

4. Tiki Trail (Moderate-2.1 KM)

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This is a kind of an uneventful track but one that surely prepares you for the demanding Ben Lomond Hike. This track follows the route beside the Skyline Gondola Station and passes through beech and fir forests. You will encounter some biking and dirt tracks while on it so just be a tad careful to not obstruct those. The way is lined with tree-log benches in the beginning and the rest of the trail is fairly regular but the view from the top is spectacular enough to quench your fatigue.

5. Lake Alta Track (Moderate-3.5 KM)

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It's a 40-minute hike to the picturesque glacial Lake Alta---Lord of the Rings fans, you know this place as the “Dimrill Dale”. That’s right, this is where they shot your favourite movie! But even if you are not a LOTR fan, this place has so much to offer. It’s a well-marked trail with some breath-taking views that will brush away all the weariness from the climb. The way down is much easier and quicker, just watch your step and avoid tripping!

6. Moke Lake Secret Viewpoint (Moderate-3.2 KM)

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This is an unmarked trail which leads you up to a panoramic view of the uniquely-shaped Moke Lake. It is surprisingly close to Queenstown city, yet manages to remain a quiet and uncrowded getaway. Only one tip before you come here—Strictly avoid a rainy day as it gets incredibly slippery and unsafe to climb. Only choose a dry sunny summer day to enjoy the best of this beautiful excursion.

7. Mt. Crichton Loop Track (Moderate-6 KM)

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The track passes through native beech and manuka forest and visits a historic miner’s hut. It is a very popular activity among the locales to walk this loop along the Twelve Mile Creek, lined by red beech in the gullies. It is a very well-maintained track, with not much of an incline and marked by several halt-areas with shade for hikers to rest.

8. Routeburn Track (Moderate-16 KM, Oneway)

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This track links the Mount Aspiring National Park with Fiordland National Park. This is not a loop track and can be walked in either direction; one track end is at the Routeburn Shelter (near Glenorchy) and the other is at The Divide (closer to Te Anau). It is recommended that this track is avoided between May - September when there is a high risk of avalanches.

9. Ben Lomond Track (Hard-13 KM)

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This is a challenging hike that requires an advanced level of fitness but all the difficulty is beautifully rewarded with some exceptional and stunning scenic views overlooking the mountain ranges like Cecil, Walter Peaks and the Remarkables. On a clear day, one may even spot Mt. Tititea and Earnslaw.

10. Wye Creek Track (Hard-16.6 KM)

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It's a hard but rewarding climb, laden with enchanting waterfalls all along the way and you might even get the thrill of crossing small streams and walking on unmarked trails, carving out your own path. Once you reach the top of the saddle, you can enjoy the view of Lake Alta in its frozen glory and The Remarkables ski field. Since the descent is steep and icy, be careful on your way down.
 Get ready for some mind-blowing life experiences in this Hiker’s Paradise! New Zealand will surely leave you with an album full of memories that is sure enough to call you back to this Adventure Haven again and again.

This post was published by Vidushi Nigam

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