Walks in Queenstown during winter can be a truly breathtaking experience, but they also require caution and preparation. Be sure you're well-equipped with appropriate gear, including sturdy footwear, warm clothing, and extra layers. Check the forecast before you go and be prepared to turn back if trail condition or weather deteriorates.
Don your scarf, hat, gloves and jacket plus some sturdy walking shoes and take your pick from five of the best.
Tobin’s Track in Arrowtown was originally built by Thomas Tobin as an access track to Wanaka. These days, take the track for a short climb up to the Crown Terrace and be rewarded with spectacular elevated views of the Whakatipu basin and surrounding snow-capped mountains.
- Length: 4.5km
- Time: 1 hour return (30 minutes each way)
- Start/finish point: Tobin's Track entrance is at the bottom of Ford Street. A car park is located on the reserve. Take the bridge across the Arrow River and follow the track up the hill.
- Difficulty: Medium
When you visit Lake Hayes, you’ll instantly see why it’s called ‘the most photographed lake in New Zealand’. Reflecting the majestic mountains, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak, Coronet Peak as well as the Northern end of the Remarkables, this two-hour loop track offers a million and one photo opportunities on the trail that follows its shores.
- Length: 8km
- Time: 2-3 hours return
- Start/finish point: The loop track has multiple access points including the North Lake Hayes picnic area, the Lake Hayes Pavilion and show grounds on SH6 and Bendemeer Bay.
- Difficulty: Easy
This short walk (starting approximately a 20-minute drive from central Queenstown) at Bob's Cove passes through native bush to reach a stunning cove on Lake Whakatipu - it's a great option for kids and you’ll be rewarded with views of snow-covered Mt Nicholas. If you feel like taking it to the next level, follow the track up past the lime kiln to gain elevated views of the Cove, Lake Whakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range.
- Length: 2km
- Time: 40 minutes return (20 minutes each way)
- Start/finish point: The track starts at a car park on the Glenorchy–Queenstown Road, 14 km from Queenstown.
- Difficulty: Easy/medium
A wander through the Queenstown Gardens is a must-do in any season but is particularly beautiful in winter. Along the short loop around the gardens, you'll be treated to uninterrupted views of Mt Nicholas, Cecil Peak, and Walter Peak. If you continue around towards Frankton, the impressive Remarkables mountain range comes into full view.
- Length: 3.1km
- Time: 1.5 hour return
- Start/finish point: Queenstown Bay Beach
- Difficulty: Easy
Moke Lake Loop Track
Moke Lake is nestled in between Ben Lomond and Williamson Spur, meaning you’ll be surrounded by 360 degrees of snow-capped mountains. This popular loop walk undulates through grassland has a short boardwalk at the southern end protecting a small wetland – watch your step on the wood here if it’s a cold, icy day. Check with the Department of Conservation (Level 1, 50 Stanley Street) about road conditions during winter.
- Length: 6.5km
- Time: 2-3 hours
- Start/finish point: Moke Lake Reserve, Moke Lake Road
- Difficulty: Medium/hard
Winter walks offer an incredible opportunity to take in the breathtaking snowy views that surround Queenstown. From Lake Hayes to Bob's Cove, each trail provides a unique perspective of our stunning winter landscape. Whether you're an experienced walker or looking for a leisurely stroll, these walks cater to all fitness levels and abilities.
Plan your Queenstown winter adventure
There are even more ideas for winter adventures in our guide to winter in Queenstown. As you explore Queenstown this winter, share your Queenstown winter adventures with us on Instagram and #QueenstownLive.