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The Queenstown Hill walk is one of the best short hikes in Queenstown. This is our guide to the trail and includes all the information you need to know before you go!
The Queenstown Hill walk is one of the best short hikes around Queenstown. I mean, the name just says it all!
The hike takes you to the top of Queenstown Hill and the views are really too good to miss!
I have done so many amazing hikes in Queenstown, but Queenstown Hill is one of my favorite hikes to do.
The short and well-maintained track means it is accessible to almost all who visit Queenstown and therefore is a ‘must-do hike’ for anyone while in Queenstown.
For many, the argument that the views are similar to those on the Tiki Trail (where the gondola takes you) stops them from visiting. However, it is the extra views you get of Lake Wakatipu that make it more rewarding.
So, why not just do both?
If you’re already sold on the hike, then this guide will help with everything you need to know about the Queenstown Hill walk (from someone who’s done it many times!)
Queenstown Hill Walk Overview
Where is the Start of the Queenstown Hill Walking Trail?
The start of the Queenstown Hill walk begins from Belfast Street only 5 minutes from the town center.
To reach the hike by foot or car head down Highway 6 (main highway out of town) then turn left on to Beetham Street. From there, take your first right onto Hallenstien and then take your first left onto Edgar Street. Follow Edgar Street up until you reach a small intersection.
At the intersection you will need to turn left onto Kent Street, however, this street quickly becomes a fork in the road and you must stay right and enter Kerry Drive.
Once on Kerry Drive simply follow it all the way to the end to which it becomes Belfast Terrace. Only 1 minute up Belfast and the Queenstown Hill hiking trail will be on your left!
This may seem confusing, so it may be easier to just get a Queenstown Hill map. You can just use Maps.me or Google Maps to find the start of the Queenstown Hill walking track.
Parking at Queenstown Hill
If you’re driving, there is a small parking lot at the start of the trail! This parking lot only has room for around 5 or 6 cars, however, there is also street parking available.
I would personally recommend not driving unless you are hiking up for sunrise. The reason is that most parking spots will be full and you may have a lot of trouble finding space.
How long is the Queenstown Hill Walk?
The Queenstown Hill walk is 2.5km/1.6mi to the summit with an elevation climb of 600m/1968ft.
To the lookout, it is only 2km/1.2mi and a 500m/1640ft climb in elevation. The hike takes around 2 hours to complete but I would allow longer for taking in the amazing views! From Queenstown, I would allow 4 hours to walk to the trail, hike to the top, enjoy the views, and then return.
How difficult is the Queenstown Hill walk?
The Queenstown Hill hike is a fairly easy hike. Although the trail heads straight up, the path is well maintained and easy to walk on. The switchbacks make the incline not overly steep. If you are concerned, just know that there are plenty of spots to rest along the way!
Hiking Queenstown Hill in Winter
During the winter months during ski season in Queenstown, snowfall can cover the higher parts of the hike once you pass the tree line. From this area to the summit you can experience icy conditions. It is important to wear appropriate footwear in winter.
I recommend waterproof hiking boots. That being said, the majority of the hike is completed in thick forest and is not subjected to snow.
What to Bring to Walk Queenstown Hill
The Queenstown Hill walk is only a short hike and as such, does not require much preparation. During the summer months, I would recommend taking plenty of water, around 1L per person should be fine. Wearing sneakers is best and bringing along a hat and sunscreen is also a great idea.
As mentioned, in winter it really is great to wear full waterproof hiking boots as well as an extra sweater so you can stand the cold when you reach the top!
Dangers & Safety on Queenstown Hill
As far as the trail goes, it is all pretty safe for all ages. One thing to mention is the poisonous mushrooms around the area. One, in particular, has a beautiful red bulb. These may look pretty but they are poisonous to both humans and dogs (you can take dogs on the trail.)
Hiking for sunrise or sunset is the best time to enjoy the best views, but with this comes a few extra cautions. Bringing an adequate flashlight or phone light is highly recommended.
Also, be prepared for the colder temperatures if you’re hiking in the winter (especially at sunrise or sunset) because when that sun does go down it is freezing and there is slippery ice around (as I found out the hard way!)
Related Read: See everything inbetween Christchurch and Queenstown on this road trip itinterary.
5 Must Do Activities while you’re in Queenstown
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 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
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:
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 fo the best places to stay in Queenstown for location, price, and amenities! Surprisingly, rooms start at only $150 NZD per night here.
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.
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 Booking.com. 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!
Thanks for reading!
The Queenstown Hill walking track is one of the best free day hikes around Queenstown. The views mixed with the accessibility make it a great option for everyone. Please do yourself a favor and visit this beautiful place and check out the stunning views for yourself! If you enjoyed this walking track you might also like our other guide on The Ben Lomond Trail!
If you have any questions or comments at all please leave them below in the comments section and we will get back to you!