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ULTIMATE Guide to the Queenstown Hill Walk – Everything you NEED to Know!

ULTIMATE Guide to the Queenstown Hill Walk – Everything you NEED to Know!

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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?

A woman watches a sunrise from the top of Queenstown Hill in Queenstown
Bailey watching a cold sunrise from the top of Queenstown Hill

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 views of the top of Queenstown Hill
Looking away from Queenstown! You really get 360-degree views from the top!

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

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

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

Antoher Path at the top of Queenstown Hill
There are other hiking trails at the top of Queenstown Hill that head off towards Frankton!

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.

Other Activities to do While You’re in Queenstown

Bailey stands at the front of the TSS Earnslaw on our way back from Queenstown best bike tour
Riding the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Farm!

Aside from hiking, there are lots of other amazing and inexpensive things to do in and around Queenstown. I’ve included a few below along with some activities that cost a bit more, but are completely worth it!

  • Ride the gondola – The gondola in Queenstown is an iconic activity that takes you up the side of a mountain to Bob’s Peak high above Queenstown. The view is insane, especially if you stay for sunset. And at the top of the gondola, you’ll also find the Luge, a unique go-cart-like experience that’s powered by gravity. I recommend buying combo tickets for the gondola AND the Luge!
  • Visit a sheep farm  – New Zealand has more sheep than people, so you must visit a sheep farm while here! But hey, why not do it in style? This Walter Peak Farm Tour includes a cruise in a vintage steamship to this picturesque seaside farm. Once there, you’ll enjoy a tasty meal of high-end barbequed meats or seafood- buffet style. Cap things off with the choice of desserts and cheeses. Afterward, you’ll watch a sheep shearing demonstration or a sheepdog show.
  • Take a scenic food and wine tour The Queenstown area is a foodie heaven, with incredible wine and cuisine that you just have to try. And on this day tour, you’ll sip wine from New Zealand’s largest wine cave, be served a gourmet lunch, and indulge in local cheeses – all with an epic view to boot!

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 Resort & Spa

Queenstown is filled with amazing things to do but also awesome places to stay! One thing about Queenstown, though, is that if you don’t book in advance, you’ll miss out on the best places (and the best prices!). So to help you out, we’ve compiled this list of our top hotels in Queenstown for all budget types.

Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa – $$$

Bailey and I spent our anniversary at the Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa and really loved our stay. It’s located a little out of town but they run a free shuttle every 30 minutes. The place has an indoor pool, full spa, and an onsite bar/restaurant where we watched the sunset over the lake. The rooms are beautiful in classic Hilton-style with comfy king-sized beds and bathtubs. Suites even come with fireplaces.

To me, it’s great value starting at $225 NZD per night. You’ll find the best deals when you book in advance on Booking.com.

Melbourne Lodge – $$

The Melbourne Lodge is a gorgeous hotel just a 5-minute walk to downtown. But 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, saving you time. It has everything from budget rooms to self-contained apartments. From their guest lounge and deck, you also get a view of the bay and gondola.

Rooms here can be as little as $130 NZD per night! Check out prices and book your stay online here.

The Flaming Kiwi Backpackers – $

The Flaming Kiwi Backpackers was the first place I ever stayed in Queenstown. It’s a great budget backpacker hostel with a very social vibe. The beds are comfy and come with a privacy curtain, and there’s also a shared lounge, kitchen, barbecue, laundry facilities, and free onsite parking. The building is kind of old but is kept quite clean. Dorm beds here start at $55 NZD per night.

You can book The Flaming Kiwi Backpackers on Booking.com or through Hostelworld.

For even more options, check out our guide on where to stay in Queenstown. We break down the best areas and provide hotel recommendations for each.

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!

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 with Discover Cars in advance to compare car models and prices. We’ve used this website all over the world and if you want more details, read our honest review of Discover Cars for more details!

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! What a good deal!

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!

short hikes from Queenstown
Bailey and I watching the sunrise over the city we love!

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!

We have so much local knowledge on Queenstown and New Zealand to help plan your trip here! If you liked this article check out the ones below:

The Most Scenic Bike Ride in Queenstown

Jet Boating in Queenstown – Everything you need to know!

33 Unique and Amazing Things to do in New Zealand

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Anonymous

Friday 3rd of July 2020

Are there any toilets? Asking for children

destinationlesstravel

Friday 3rd of July 2020

Hey,

Unfortunately, there are not.

Thanks Daniel

Instagram Proxy

Wednesday 18th of September 2019

Very interesting subject , thankyou for putting up.

destinationlesstravel

Wednesday 18th of September 2019

Thank you