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ULTIMATE Guide to Hiking Mount Crichton Loop Track in 2024!

ULTIMATE Guide to Hiking Mount Crichton Loop Track in 2024!

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The Mount Crichton Loop Track is one of the shortest day hikes near Queenstown. This means that it is accessible by almost anyone and great for those with limited time. Here’s everything you need to know about the Mount Crichton Loop Track.

Queenstown is surrounded by hiking trails that help visitors explore its natural beauty. The Mount Crichton Loop Track is just one of these trails and considering its rather short distance, this hike is rather neat.

Along the trail, you can find stunning waterfalls, spectacular viewpoints, and interesting history. If you are after a short and easy hike to enjoy a beautiful day around Queenstown the Mount Crichton Loop track is a great choice!

Here’s everything you need to know about the Mount Crichton Loop track!

Where is the start of the Mount Crichton Loop Track?

Mt Crichton loop track
One of the viewpoints along the way!

The Mount Crichton Loop Track starts from the main highway that connects Queenstown and Glenorchy. The parking lot for the trail is just past the entrance to the Twelve Mile Delta campground turn off on the left-hand side of the road (if you’re driving from Queenstown).

The drive only takes around 15 to 20 minutes and you can easily locate it on Google Maps.

How hard is the Mount Crichton Loop Track?

Mount Crichton Loop track
The main sign at the start of the trail!

The trail is very easy and is also well maintained. Not only is the trail short but it also doesn’t incline much. There are also plenty of places to stop with shade, and given enough time, almost anyone could do it!

On the signs posted it says the loop takes 2.5 hours, however, Bailey and I completed the trail in 1 hour 45 minutes with taking a couple of short stops for photos!

Highlights on the Mount Crichton Loop Track Trail

Sam Summers waterfall on the mt crichton loop track
The Sam Summers waterfall!

Although this trail is in no way Queenstown’s finest, it still does boast some pretty beautiful scenery. These include a stunning viewpoint that overlooks the Remarkables mountain range, a picturesque waterfall located at the Sam Summers Hut, and of course, the Sam Summers Hut itself!

The Sam Summers Hut is an old hut used by Sam and his family back in the gold mining days. It is still original and is over 80 years old!

For some of the trails, you also follow rivers and cross small streams and the water is beautiful! Be sure to check out the small mining tunnel, you’ll see signs posted along the way. These signs also provide some great info about life back then!

What to bring

For this hike, any shoes will do as the trail is maintained really well, in fact, I actually hiked the Mount Crichton Loop track in flip flops! As for water and food, I would still recommend bringing a small bottle per person and maybe a snack each. Other than that. the rest is up to you!

The Mount Crichton Loop Track is a great short hike that most people would enjoy. In no way is it one of the greatest hikes to do on New Zealand’s south island, but if you feel like surrounding yourself with nature and getting some sun then I highly recommend giving the trail a go!

Other easy hikes around Queenstown

Looking over at the Remarkables Mountain Range from Queenstown Hill, Queenstown
Literally no other hikers around! It was amazing hiking Queenstown Hill for sunrise!

Queenstown Hill – One of the most incredible short hikes in Queenstown that you will want to do over and over again. It should only take 2hrs to trek the 2.5 km/1.6 mi to the summit but in our experience, we allow up to 4hrs because there are so many great views.

Bob’s Cove Track – It’s debatable if this hike can really be considered as such because it is so easy and only takes around 30 minutes to complete! Almost anyone can do this loop. You’ll see turquoise waters and tropical esque greenery from the top. Bring your swimsuit for a dip at the beach area.

Lake Alta – Another short return hike to do, especially if you’re a Lord of the Rings fan (it was a filming location!). At the end of the 3.5 kilometer/2.2 miles Lake Alta Track you’ll reach an impressive alpine lake. This hike is mainly straight uphill on the way there so you’ll get the hard part out of the way once you reach the top. There is also this epic guided hiking tour you can do to Lake Alta. This tour includes transport and a knowledgeable guide – perfect for beginner hikers.

Routeburn Nature Trail – You can hike one of 6 sections of this trail in one day depending on which length and level of difficulty you want to go for. The Routeburn Road Trailhead to Routeburn Flats Hut is one of the easiest parts to hike. The 11km/9.3 mi return trail is mostly flat and still provides river, alp, and forest views. You can also join a guided full-day tour to hike the Routeburn Nature Trail. This specific tour comes highly recommended and includes transport from Queenstown.

5 Must-Do Activities While You’re in Queenstown

girl on a milford sound cruise in new zealand
Me, on a Milford Sound cruise.

Full-Day Milford Sound Experience – This award-winning Queenstown cruise takes place in one of the most scenic places in New Zealand, Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park. This tour takes you along a scenic drive stopping at many of the best lakes, valleys, and tunnels before ending the experience on a 2-hour cruise through the fjords and waterfalls in Milford Sound. It will be a full day, to say the least, but it will be an unforgettable experience. Lunch is provided.

Dinner at Walter Peak High Country Farm and Cruise – This laid-back dinner plus cruise is perfect for a day off from physical activity. You’ll ride on the 1912 vintage steamer, the TSS “Earnslaw” to Walter Peak High Country Farm where you’ll enjoy high-end barbequed meats or seafood- buffet style. Cap things off with the choice of desserts and cheeses. After you’ll have the option to stay behind or watch a sheepdog show and sheepshearing demonstration. Truly one of the most exceptional Queenstown tours!

Scenic Gourmet Food and Wine Tour – Sip wine from New Zealand’s largest wine cave, be served a gourmet lunch, and indulge in local cheeses. While enjoying wines from the best regions on the island you will also pass by scenic locations and learn about the Otago Gold Rush. This half-day wine tour in Queenstown has a badge of excellence for being one of the best and most popular Queenstown activities.

Shotover River Canyon Swing – Calling all thrill-seekers! You can jump solo or go tandem on this 60-meter (200-foot) freefall over the Shotover River Canyon. The heart-thumping jump transitions into a graceful swing rocking back and forth above the most epic views. You can expect to allow 2.5hrs for this activity.

Small-Group Zipline Adventure – If you’re not into freefall activities this zipline over Lake Wakatipu and the snow-capped Southern Alps is a great meet-in-the-middle option that can still push you out of your comfort zone if you so choose. You can pick from one of three height options that you feel most comfortable with. The professional guides make sure to provide you with the safest possible experience.

Where to Stay in Queenstown, New Zealand

the outside of the Hilton on the lake in Queenstown
Want to stay near the lake with mountain views? Yes, please! Photo Credit: Hilton Queenstown

Queenstown is filled with amazing things to do but also awesome places to stay! One thing about Queenstown though, if you don’t book in advance you will miss out on the best places (and the cheapest ones at that!) Here’s our list of recommended hotels in Queenstown:

The Flaming Kiwi Backpackers – $

This was the first place I ever stayed in Queenstown. It’s a great budget backpacker hostel with a very social vibe. The building is kind of old but it’s great value and even has onsite parking for free! A dorm bed here will cost you around $28 NZD per night!

Melbourne Lodge – $$

Another beautiful hotel that is located in the heart of Queenstown. What I love about this place is it sits on the end of Queenstown near the airport meaning that you never have to drive through town to visit the ski fields or many major attractions. It’ll save you time and all-round it’s a fantastic place to stay! Rooms here can be as little as $130 NZD per night!

Rydges – $$

I haven’t actually stayed at the Rydges but my brother has. He recommends it as one of the best places to stay in Queenstown for location, price, and amenities! Surprisingly, rooms start at only $150 NZD per night here.

Novotel Queenstown Lakeside – $$$

If you want to be close to town then you can’t pass on the Novatel. It’s literally right in the town center near the bustling beach and walking streets. Great hotel, great location, and all-around a great place to stay! Rooms start at $225 NZD.

Hilton Queenstown Spa & Resort – $$$

Bailey and I spent our anniversary at the Hilton and really loved our stay. It’s located a little out of town but they run a free shuttle every 30 minutes. The rooms are beautiful in classic Hilton-style and to me, it’s great value starting at $225 NZD per night.

If you want more information on the different areas to stay in Queenstown and more options for hotels, then check out our blog about where to stay in Queenstown!

Note: When booking hotels we always use The reason? They are almost always cheaper (we have booked over 250 hotels with them) and if you find a better price they’ll match it guaranteed – even if it’s a special on their own website!

Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand

Bailey takes a selfie with a JUCY campervan
Ready to hit the road!
Bailey stands infront of a JUCY campervan in New Zealand
JUCY is another favorite!

The first step to planning your New Zealand road trip is choosing your set of wheels! Most people rent a campervan or motorhome to get around, but you can also just rent a normal car and stay in hotels (as opposed to camping.)

You can search for rental cars online here in advance to compare car models and prices.

You can also do this with motorhomes and campervans on a website called Motorhome Republic. It shows all of the available campervans and motorhomes for your specific New Zealand road trip dates. You can compare prices and company reviews here too!

JUCY is our personal favorite campervan rental company in NZ. We love JUCY because they have such a range of both cars and campervans available, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something to suit your budget and travel style.

We’ve actually secured an exclusive discount code for our readers with JUCY. Just click here to browse their availability and use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off! You must act quickly, though, as this code is only valid for bookings made before June 30, 2024, with travel dates before December 21, 2024!

You can check prices, availability and book with JUCY online here.

Star RV is another company we personally recommend but specifically for motorhomes! They offer larger motorhomes (as opposed to budget campervans) at really reasonable rates.

Star RV has actually given us a discount code for our readers too! Use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off your motorhome rental! Note, this code is only valid for bookings made before June 21, 2024 with travel dates before Dec 21, 2024. Click here to browse availability, prices, and book with our discount code!

Thanks for reading!

walking along the mt critchon loop track

We want to help you make the most of your time spent in Queenstown. You can check out all our Queenstown blogs right here!

Or read more on other popular spots like Milford Sound, Mount Cook or the Catlins, here are some specific posts on these areas:

Waterfalls in the Catlins

Traveling from Queenstown to Milford Sound

Best photo locations in Mt Cook

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Mount Crichton Loop Track