8 Must-Do Day Hikes in Queenstown
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Hiking around Queenstown is a great free activity to do during your visit. In this post, we list 8 amazing hikes in Queenstown that almost any visitor can do including all relevant information you need to know before you get on the trail!
There are so many amazing hikes in Queenstown that it can be hard to choose which ones to do during your visit. Of course, in a perfect world, it would be amazing if you could explore all of the Queenstown hiking tracks; however, that would leave little time for anything else!
Our list of the best day hikes in Queenstown is based around the most beautiful and accessible hikes. All of these hikes range from only an hour-long all the way to full-day hikes.
This broad range means you can choose the perfect hike (or hikes) for you and your friends and family during your stay in Queenstown.
Here are the 8 best short day hikes in Queenstown:
1. Queenstown Hill Hike
|Start:||The trail starts at the end of Brecon Street|
|Time:||2 hours return|
|Difficulty:||Easy to moderate|
I am kicking off this list with one of the best hikes in Queenstown. Queenstown Hill is one of those trails that is both short and easy but rewards you with amazing views.
If you only have a few hours to spare for one hike in Queenstown, then I recommend you choose to hike Queenstown Hill.
The trail up to the top is really well maintained and switchbacks up the side of Queenstown Hill through the stunning pine forest that covers it. Once you reach the top, the pine forest quickly disappears and you get stunning panoramic views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and the Remarkables Mountain Range.
The trail is rather popular and does get busy in the summer months. A great way to avoid the crowds though is to hike up just before sunrise and enjoy those spectacular views with an early morning glow.
If you would like more information check out our blog post all about the Queenstown Hill Walk. It includes much more in-depth information.
While you’re in town, be sure to check out these top-rated tours in Queenstown…
2. Tiki Trail Queenstown
|Start:||The Tiki Trail starts from the bottom of the gondola|
|Time:||2 hours return|
The next hike on our list is the Tiki Trail – another short hike that starts right in Queenstown. The Tiki Trail is commonly known as the “Queenstown gondola walking track” as it zigzags up the same hill as the Gondola goes to Bob’s Peak.
The trail itself is not overly stunning but it is the iconic view from the top at Bob’s Peak that makes it so worth hiking up. The view is similar to Queenstown Hill, however, you can see more of the city with the Remarkables as the perfect backdrop!
My personal recommendation is to hike Queenstown Hill and sav eyour legs by taking the gondola up to Bob’s Peak. It’s a really cheap gondola ride and you can pair it with the Luge – a super fun gravity-fed go-cart ride that’s honestly a must-do!
You should pre-book your Gondola and Luge rides in advance and save time and money!
3. Ben Lomond Trail
|Start:||Top of Tikki Trail (Bob’s Peak)|
|Time:||From the bottom of Tikki Trail to the summit – 7 to 9 hours|
The Ben Lomond Trail is the longest hike on this list but also offers the best views in my opinion. From the summit, you get a 360-degree view of the area and a great view of the Southern Alps.
The Ben Lomond trail is my favorite hike in Queenstown!
The trail officially starts from the top of the Tiki Trail (Bob’s Peak). To get the start, you must either take the gondola to the top or walk-up. The option to either walk or take the gondola makes this hike a little more accessible even to those who don’t hike much. Once at the top of the Tiki Trail, you can begin your climb up Ben Lomond to the summit.
Another great thing about the Ben Lomond trail is you don’t have to hike the entire way to the summit to get amazing views and instead you can choose to only hike to the saddle.
Getting to the Ben Lomond Saddle takes much less time than the summit; in fact, if you take the gondola up and down it’s only a 3-hour return hike to the saddle.
The Ben Lomond trail is well worth doing and comes highly recommended by us. If you would like more information before committing to this hike check out our blog on the Ben Lomond hike.
Be sure to book your Milford Sound adventure in advance to a avoid missing out
4. Bob’s Cove Track
|Start:||20 minutes from Queenstown towards Glenorchy|
|Time:||1.5 hours return|
The Bobs cove trail starts out of Queenstown at Bob’s Cove. This trail is a very beautiful and easy trail that climbs through low bushland before making its way up to the lookout.
At the lookout, you’re welcomed with stunning views of Lake Wakatipu. This trail is much less crowded than many of the other hiking trails in Queenstown which makes it great for those after some true serenity.
To get to Bob’s Cove, simply drive out of Queenstown towards the town of Glenorchy along Lake Wakatipu. The carpark is signposted on your left-hand side.
The Bob’s Cove Track is not my first pick for hikes in Queenstown but is still really beautiful and well worth checking out if you have the time. One unique thing about Bob’s Cove is there are a few lords of the rings film locations nearby.
5. Moke Lake Loop Track
|Start:||Moke Lake Campsite|
|Time:||2 to 3 hours|
Moke Lake is a small lake located around a 15 minutes drive from Queenstown towards Glenorchy. At Moke Lake, there is a short and easy trail that leads around the perimeter of the lake.
The views around the lake are beautiful, however, the lakes most memorizing view is seen on a calm day as the reflection of the mountains is seemingly printed on the still water.
The Moke Lake track is less crowded than other hikes around Queenstown and is a popular place among locals. Another cool thing about the lake is that you camp there for a small fee in a tent or campervan and sleep under the stars.
At night time Moke Lake is one of the best places near Queenstown to view the stars and on a calm night, they actually reflect off the water! It’s also a great place to view the aurora!
This Queenstown Scenic Instagram Tour visits Moke lake as well as many other amazing viewpoints around Queenstown.
6. “Secret” Moke Lake Viewpoint hike
|Start:||Near the Moke Lake Campsite|
|Time:||1.5 hours return|
This next hike is not an official trail and actually just a hike I found when exploring Moke Lake. The “secret” Moke Lake viewpoint is really well worth checking out for those feeling adventures. The trail itself is very faint and extremely steep but once at the top, the views are stunning.
This place is popular among a few local photographers and is a great vantage point to watch the sunset, or if you’re up for it, the stars! The trail takes around 45 minutes to an hour to climb. On the way down you need to take your time as it is very steep!
If you want to find this trail you will need to read our blog post on the secret Moke Lake viewpoint as it maps out how to find it and includes more info on what to expect!
7. Lake Alta
|Start:||Remarkables Ski Field|
The hike up to Lake Alta is a very special hike in Queenstown and a great way to get out and explore some of the true mountainous areas of Queenstown without days of hiking.
The reason this trail is so accessible is that you can drive all the way up to the Remarkables ski field and then start the trail.
From the carpark, it’s only a short couple hours of hiking up and back to Lake Alta (but you are actually already 1900m above sea level!) It’s not just the beautiful lake that’s impressive and you can, in fact, head off and explore many other areas of the Remarkables Mountain range.
Some of the views from up here are really out of this world! Even if you don’t decide to go hiking it’s well worth driving up for the impressive views!
Check out these scenic flights and skydives near the Remarkables for the BEST views in Queenstown
8. Mt Crichton Loop Track
|Start:||Mt Crichton Loop Carpark on the Queenstown to Glenorchy |
The Mount Crichton Loop Track is a unique hike that is about history as much as it’s about stunning views. Along the trail, you pass by the old Sam Summers hut. This small gold mining hut is over 80 years old and is actually and unserviced DOC hut that sleeps, 4 people. At the hut, there is a stunning waterfall and lots of information about the history of the area.
On the other end of the trail, there is a viewpoint the overlooks Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables. On a clear day, this is a beautiful and easy hike suited to all ages and fitness levels.
The Mt Crichton Loop Track starts a little out of Queenstown near the 12 Mile Delta Campground. To get there head out of Queenstown towards Glenorchy. You will find the carpark 20km out on your left-hand side.
For more information, check out our blog all about the Mt Crichton Loop Track
Other Awesome Things to do around Queenstown
Other than hiking there are lots of other amazing things to do in and around Queenstown. Some of my favorites are:
Wine tours – Wine tours in Queenstown explore the famous Gibbston Valley wine region. This stunning region produces some of the best Pinot Noir in the world! Book your Queenstown wine tour with our recommended tour company here!
Jet Boating on the Shotover River – Shotover Jet is the original jet boat operator in Queenstown and their tour is simply the best out of the 4 choices in Queenstown. We loved the experience and highly recommend it! You can book the tour here in advance to save you time and hassle!
Trip to Doubtful Sound – You’ve heard of Milford Sound but probably not Doubtful Sound! The reason? It’s still an up and coming destination but it’s very unique and the experience in Doubtful Sound is much more personal! Check out this huge range of tours with reviews to Doubtful Sound (my personal favorite was the overnight cruise!)
Milford Sound tour – You can’t come to Queenstown and not visit Milford Sound period. It’s my second favorite place (Mount Cook takes the cake) in New Zealand. You can check out a huge range of tours here with reviews and prices!
- Lord of the Rings Tour – Our experience and why we loved it.
- Queenstown Wine Tasting Tour – What to expect and review.
- Eat some amazing food – Our list of the best foods to try in Queenstown.
- Canyoning in Queenstown – One of the best tours we have done in Queenstown, See just how it was here!
- Glenorchy Animal Farm – A review of the experience and why you really should do it!
Be sure to check out our blog about WHERE TO STAY IN QUEENSTOWN. There are so many choices in this one town so we’ve narrowed it down to the best choices for you!
January 19, 2020