8 Must-Do Day Hikes in Queenstown
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!
8 Must-Do Day Hikes in Queenstown
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 days 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: 1.5 hours return
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. A great thing about this hike in Queenstown is you can start it right from your hotel!
If you would like more information check out our blog post all about the Queenstown Hill Walk. It includes much more in-depth information.
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 Skyline Gondola.
The Tiki Trail is another popular hike in Queenstown but is another trail I highly recommend. The trail itself is not overly stunning but it is the iconic view from the top 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!
Aside from wandering through beautiful pine forest, this hike is also a great way to save money on the Gondola. Once up the top, you are free to join in on activities such as the Luge, paragliding, stargazing or check out the restaurant and bar and just relax!
3. Ben Lomond Trail
Start: Top of the Tikki Trail
Time: From the bottom of Tikki Trail to summit – 7 to 9 hours return.
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. To get the start, you must either take the gondola 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.
4. Bob’s Cove Track
Start: Bobs cove trail carpark
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!
5. Moke Lake Loop Track
Start: Moke Lake campsite
Time: 2 – 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!
For more information check out our blog post on Moke Lake.
6. “Secret” Moke Lake Viewpoint hike
Start: Near the Moke Lake Campsite
Time: 1.5hours 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
Time: 1.5 hours
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 coupld 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!
8. Mt Chrichton Loop Track
Start: Mt Crichton Loop carpark
Time: 2 hours
The Mount Crichton Loop Track is a unique hike that is about history as much as its abut 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
Hiking in Queenstown is one of the best and most rewarding activities you can do in this amazing place! It immerses you in nature and lets you explore the landscape that made Queenstown such a top tourist destination. I personally love the short but spectacular hikes in and around Queenstown and I hope you will too!
Other than hiking, some other great things to do around Queenstown are:
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March 1, 2019