Best Walks in Queenstown

Queenstown’s top hiking and walking trails

The Lord of the Rings put the already well-known South Island town of Queenstown, New Zealand, on the map, but Queenstown offers more than stunning Middle Earth scenery. From adrenaline-pumping activities such as jet boating, sky diving and bungy jumping to leisurely scenic hikes suitable for advanced hiking parties all the way to families, Queenstown has it all!

If you are new to Queenstown we recommend you acquaint yourself with the beautiful surroundings with a relaxing stroll around the shores of Lake Wakatipu via the Sunshine Bay Track or Frankton Arm Walkway. After this, the possibilities really are endless. If you’re looking to experience one of Queenstown’s multi-day Great Walks, head to Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, or try the Routeburn Track from Glenorchy. If you’re keen on a one-day walk, you’ll find breathtaking locations just a short distance from the city.

The best walks in Queenstown are:

Skyline Loop Track

View overlooking Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and the Remarkables from the top of Bob's Peak.
Image credit: Jane - Flickr

Take a scenic ride with breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu, on the Skyline Gondola up to Bob’s Peak. Follow the trail through bushland filled with native and exotic flora and fauna.

Duration: 30 minute loop
Start/ Finish: Skyline Queenstown
Difficulty: Easy

Ben Lomond Track

A walking track leads along the peak of a long mountain, with views of the surrounding mountains and lake.
Image credit: Wilderness Mag

The Ben Lomond hiking trail has received rave reviews as the best day hike in Queenstown. Hike amongst a canopy of Douglas Fir before crossing alpine tussock on your way to the summit. Enjoy breathtaking views of the Wakatipu Basin and the Southern Alps. However, if you’re travelling with kids, please note that this track is considered advanced.
The true beginning of this hike starts at the base of the Gondola via the Tiki Trail. This trail is quite steep with over 400 metres of vertical gain and can be a tough beginning for the day hike. If you are strapped for time (and want to save your knees on the way back down!) you can cut it out by taking the Gondola up if you wish. This should shave off about an hour and a half of total hiking time.

Duration: 6 to 8 hours return. Take the Skyline Gondola for a shorter, 5 to 6-hour return hike to the Ben Lomond Saddle/ summit.
Distance: 11km
Start/ Finish: Bottom or top of Skyline
Difficulty: Challenging

Queenstown Hill

A woman overlooks Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables from a vantage point up Queenstown Hill.
Image credit: My Queenstown Diary

Ascend 500 metres up the Queenstown Hill Walkway through a fragrant pine forest to the summit of Queenstown Hill. Take a rest and absorb the 360-degree views of The Remarkables, Cecil Peak, and Queenstown Bay.

Duration: 2-3 hours return
Distance: 3km
Start/ Finish: Belfast Terrace
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Bob’s Cove Track

Stunning views of landscape and Lake Wakatipu from Bob's Cove track.
Image credit: Backcountrycow

Take this short hike to experience remarkable panoramic views of Queenstown. The track descends through native bush before reaching the tranquil waters of Lake Wakatipu and Bob’s Cove. The track then ascends to a peak where you can take in stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lake. A great option if you’re looking to bring the kids along.

Duration: 20 minutes one way
Start/ Finish: Bob's Cove car park
Difficulty: Easy

Mt Crichton Loop Track

A tall waterfall surround by forest along the Mount Crichton loop track.
Image credit: Department of Conservation

This hike will guide you through a symphony of colourful beech trees, blooming mānuka trees, and picturesque waterfalls. Step back in time as you pass by an 80-year-old gold mining hut, a relic of a bygone era.

Duration: 2 to 3 hours loop
Start/ Finish: Mt Crichton car park on Glenorchy Road
Difficulty: Easy

Moke Lake Loop Track

Moke Lake with mountains in the background under a blue sky with scattered clouds.
Image credit: QueenstownNZ

Step out of the hustle and bustle of Queenstown and enjoy a short, hilly walk through grassland amidst looming mountains while overlooking the picturesque Moke Lake. Only a 20 minute drive out of Queenstown, but you’ll feel like you’re a world away! Why not camp here for the night under a luminous cosmic sky reflected in the water? This is an incredible spot for mirror lake photography and similarly astrophotography.

Duration: 2 to 3 hours loop
Start/ Finish: Moke Lake campsite
Difficulty: Easy

The Remarkables

A man swims in Lake Alta at Remarkables, with mountains in the background.
Image credit: Experience Queenstown

Tramp at high-altitude through a steep, rugged mountain range. Signposts and flags guide you to the summit where you can admire the view of the scenic glacial cirque and the glistening Lake Alta. If you are brave enough, take a bathing suit! You can walk up the Remarkables any time of the year, but we’d recommend waiting until summer unless you have snowshoes and poles.

Duration: 1 hour 30 min return
Start/ Finish: The Lake Alta Track starts behind the Remarkables ski field buildings
Difficulty: Moderate

Lake Hayes Walkway

Lake Hayes in Autumn, surrounded by golden trees with mountains in the background.
Image credit: ArrowtownNZ

Lake Hayes is a popular and picturesque place. The calm nature of the lake often produces stunning reflections of the surrounding mountains. At the north end, you’ll find a large grassed area and picnic point. A popular place to cool of in summer, as the temperature of the water is noticeably warmer than the surrounding Otago lakes.

Duration: 2 to 3 hours loop
Distance: 8km
Start/ Finish: Lake Hayes Pavilion and Show Grounds.
Difficulty: Easy

Tobin's Track

View overlooking Arrowtown from Tobin's Track
Image credit: QueenstownNZ

This steep trail offers awe-inspiring views over the historic mining settlement of Arrowtown and the wider Wakatipu Basin. On your way up you can view what’s left of Tobin’s old family cottage.

Duration: 1 hour return
Start/ Finish: Wilcox Green, Arrowtown. Take the bridge across Arrow River and follow the trail up the hill.
Difficulty: Moderate

Sawpit Gully

Beautiful mountains and tree covered hills from Sawpit Gully walking track.
Image credit: QueenstownNZ

The Sawpit Gully trail turns back the clock to the gold-mining era. Follow this steep, 7.9-kilometre hike and watch as the open, grassy countryside changes from beech forest to tussock-covered slopes. Walk in a counter-clockwise direction for an easier ascent. We would also recommend a decent pair of hiking shoes for this one, as the trail can get quite slippery in places.

Duration: 3 hours loop
Distance: 7.9km
Start/ Finish: Bush Creek Recreation Reserve, Arrowtown
Difficulty: Moderate

Ready to explore the best hiking trails Queenstown has to offer?

Strap on your boots and get ready to experience some amazing views and day hikes in Queenstown, New Zealand! Sign up for our Queenstown travel guide, and we’ll send you ideas for more things to do in the Otago region.

While you’re in the Adventure Capital of the World, come and Bungy-jump, paraglide or try your hands on the Skyline Luge. Browse more incredible Queenstown travel holiday ideas in our Skyline blog on our website.

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