10 best walks to do in Queenstown
When it comes to getting active in Queenstown, you don’t need to stray very far from home. With an array of scenic walking and hiking trails at your doorstep, there is a realm of options on offer to suit any couple, family or individual. Whilst all are different in their own regard, they do all have one key thing in common; picturesque views! Read on to see our top walking recommendations in and around Queenstown for your next visit.
1. Queenstown Hill
Queenstown hill is known to be one of the most popular walks in town. The starting point is situated off a small car park on Belfast Terrace, only minutes outside of the town centre. The path begins by initially taking you through a forest and upon breaking through the canopy of the pines, you’re presented with striking 360-degree views of some of Queenstown’s finest landmarks.
Time/duration: 2-3 hours
2. Queenstown Gardens Lakefront loop
This family-friendly trail is an excellent short walk along the shoreline of Lake Whakatipu and the edge of the Queenstown Gardens. It’s brief and flat, making it the perfect outing for kids and prams. Along the way, you’ll come across stunning views of the lake and further down the trail, The Remarkables mountain range. Afterwards, why not continue with a stroll through the botanical gardens containing a selection of native and exotic plants and garden beds. Here you can also try Disc Golf, a popular year-round activity. Located in the town centre, the starting point is just a few minutes from the waterfront and shops.
Time/duration: 30 minutes
3. Kelvin Heights Sculpture Trail
The Kelvin Heights Sculpture trails doubles as both a walking and cycling track. It leads around the outside of the Queenstown Golf course and shoreline of Lake Whakatipu. On your journey, you will encounter several sculptures and art pieces created by local New Zealand artists and sculptors. You will be treated to picturesque views of the lake and surrounding mountains along the way. Make sure to watch out for rogue golf balls as you stroll along the course and take in the natural beauty of the area. A signposted trail leads off from the main track up to a Café, where on a sunny day you can enjoy a coffee on the terrace overlooking the 18th The loop is approximately 3.5km in length and the track also links up with the Kelvin Heights Peninsula Trail.
Time/duration: 1 hour
4. Sunshine Bay Track
Looking for a short walk from town? Try the Sunshine Bay Track. The trail runs along the edge of the lake through native bush and leads to Sunshine Bay which is a rocky landing and popular swimming spot amongst the locals in warmer months. The trail boasts lots of classic Queenstown viewpoints along the way plus benches where you can kick back and take in the panoramas. Sunshine Bay Beach is a great place for a picnic and is dog friendly so long as they are on a lead.
Time/duration: Varies – 1-2 hours depending on where you start from.
5. Mt Crichton Loop Track
Mt Crichton is a short half-day hike not far from Queenstown. The hike itself begins from the highway connecting Queenstown and Glenorchy. There is a car park near the Twelve Mile Delta campground turn off, about 20 minutes out of Queenstown. The track itself takes you to the Sam Summers Hut, utilised in the gold mining days back in the 1930s. Along the course of the track, you will pass through rivers and streams as well as a waterfall and the aforementioned hut. Like most other walks in Queenstown, you will also be immersed in beautiful views of the mountains throughout the duration, great to keep yourself and the kids entertained!
Time/duration: 2.5-3 hours
6. Ben Lomond Track
The Ben Lomond Track is a longer and more challenging hike making it perfect for keen hikers and trampers. It is more demanding than the other walks covered so far but still offers magnificent mountain and lake views the higher you go. With the option to do either the Ben Lomond Saddle (3-4 hours return) or the Ben Lomond Summit (6-8 hours return) there is something to suit everyone. There are different options around starting points so definitely take a look at these to determine which will be best for your fitness level and confidence in the alpine environment. Regardless of what you go for, you will be rewarded with panoramic views and a fantastic day out – just make sure to watch out for the friendly goats!
Time/duration: 3-4 hours return, or 6-8 hours return.
7. Lake Hayes Trail
Lake Hayes loop track is in our opinion one of the most scenic loop walks in the Queenstown-Lakes region. Located at Lake Hayes only 15 minutes out of Queenstown and about 5 minutes drive from Arrowtown, this combined walking and cycling track has it all! With many points around the lake you can start the walk from, the trail offers remarkable views of Lake Hayes and the surrounding mountains. There is also a boardwalk section of the trail through conservation land, home to diverse local wildlife. In summer Lake Hayes is a popular swimming spot but the walk is suitable year-round. The walk is approximately 8km in length.
Time/duration: 2-3 hours
8. Arrow River Trail
This trail, located in Arrowtown, is a very easy-going walk past an impressive waterfall –the Sawpit Gully stream intersects with the Arrow River. Crossing over bridges along the way, large willow trees provide great coverage from the hot summer sun and the 4km scenic loop track is great for kids.
Time/duration: 1 hour
9. Bob’s Cove Track & Nature Walk
Bob’s Cove Track is a short walk through native bush and historic sites to a popular swimming and fishing spot known as Bob’s Cove. A great option for kids as the duration of the walk is about 20 minutes each way. There is plenty of birdlife along the way to admire and close-up views over Lake Whakatipu toward the end. The glistening, crystal clear water on a summer’s day is an incredible sight and a prime photo opportunity to wow anyone!
Time/duration: 20 minutes each way
10. Roys Peak Track
Roys Peak is another long day hike suitable for serious walkers and trampers. Situated just out of Wanaka, the climb will take you through farmland to the summit with striking views over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding mountains. A very popular day hike, it is about 16km in length and very steep. The track is quite tussocky which is different to a lot of the other walks in the Queenstown area. If you’re eager to catch a sunrise, you’ll need to leave around 3.00 am – just make sure you are prepared to climb in the dark. We don’t recommend this walk for young children.
Time/duration: 5-7 hours round trip
Where to stay:
Queenstown town centre – Chambers City Centre Penthouse
Surrounded by some of the most popular cafés, restaurants and bars that Queenstown has on offer, Chambers City Centre Penthouse is conveniently located in the heart of town, only a minute’s stroll from the waterfront and surrounds. This luxurious property boasts iconic views of Queenstown and has the bonus of a beautiful lake view balcony to soak up the sunsets. Generous living spaces include a fantastic, well-equipped kitchen and large dining table. The three bedroom, two bathroom penthouse apartment sleeps up to six guests. For more information, click here.
Kelvin Heights – Sunny Lakeview Villa
Basking in year-round sun, enjoy any season in this unique residence. Close to the Kelvin Heights Sculpture Trail, Jack’s Point and Kelvin Peninsula trails, this property is expertly located amongst several local trails to get out and explore! Vine-wrapped windows and balconies, sun-drenched outdoor living spaces and pops of cheerful colour everywhere create the perfect ambience and offer ample spaces to curl up with a good book or admire the views. A spa pool takes it to a new level of luxury. Inside, the open plan kitchen/dining/living area is perfectly laid out to draw your eyes to the magnificent lake and mountain outlooks. An open fire and heat pump will keep you warm in cooler months, and a second living area serves as a rumpus/media room, providing a great place to watch a movie or for children to play. This four bedroom, two bathroom residence sleeps up to eight guests with the airport, shopping centre and golf course less than a 10 minute drive away. For more information, click here.
Lake Hayes – Lake Hayes Cottage
The Lake Hayes Cottages are iconic, peaceful and privately located with stunning views, luxurious interiors, and a curated art collection. Just a short stroll from the popular Lake Hayes trail, The Cottages sit within one of New Zealand's most beautiful settings. We have five private exclusive cottages each with private parking and gardens. No expense has been spared to deliver the ultimate luxury escape, with rooms of spectacular opulence and stunning views of the surroundings. A reflection of the premium location. The pinot pit, designed as a quatrefoil to take in the 360-degree views, is the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of local wine with fellow cottage guests by the fire. Learn more about the cottages here.
Arrowtown – Sicilian Luxury Retreat
Exemplifying everything a holiday in Queenstown stands for, this incredible home sits proudly elevated above the azure waters of Lake Hayes. A country-style residence with modern style and comfort seamlessly integrated, every luxury is catered for. The ultimate holiday home for the discerning visitor, the magnificent private property encompasses a four bedroom, 4.5 bathroom house, plus there’s a separable two bedroom loft apartment. Bring family and friends to take advantage of this unique position at the heart of nature’s playground. Situated in one of Queenstown’s most prestigious and sun-soaked locales, this is a vacation destination of a grand scale. Situated close to Arrowtown home is located perfectly to many of the Lake Hayes and Arrowtown walking trails on offer. Sleeping up to 12 making it perfect for larger groups and families. Learn more about the property here.