Calling all hiking and outdoor lovers, we have news for you, wellness travel is much more than just spas and yoga retreats. It’s about reconnecting with yourself and with the great outdoors too.
With a plethora of short walks, day walks, and multi-day hikes here in Queenstown you are truly are spoilt for choice. Embrace our diverse landscapes and incredible natural scenery during your next outdoor pursuit. Think lakes, mountains, rivers, and the chance to be completely present in your natural surroundings. Sounds inviting, doesn’t it?
Queenstown has an abundance of walking trails, which means there is something for everyone, especially those who are keen to get away from the usual routine and immerse themselves in nature.
Queenstown Hill is one of the town’s most popular day hikes. Starting from the main CBD or just a short drive to the track entrance, Queenstown Hill provides the right amount of physical activity and unparalleled views to match. A three-hour return walk to the summit showcases the best of what Queenstown has to offer. 360-degree panoramic views of Lake Whakatipu, Ben Lomond, and the showstopping Remarkable’s mountain range. The majority of the ascent is under the cover of a pine forest, listen for the native birdsong and wind making its way through the tall pines as it leads you to the summit. With the Southern Alps stretching as far as the eye can see, hiking for sunset will not disappoint.
Ben Lomond will greet you from the moment you arrive in town. Not for the faint-hearted, this demanding climb is a full day mission with a spectacular reward. The Ben Lomond hike provides not only an inspiring climb but with a 1438m elevation gain the 360-degree views make everything worth it. On a clear day, the surrounding mountain ranges, Cecil and Walter Peak, The Remarkables, and sometimes Mount Aspiring in the distance will greet you. Be sure to pack your lunch and enjoy at one of the best picnic spots in the area, but don’t let the cheeky Kea that you’re likely to encounter steal it! Found only on the South Island of New Zealand our native alpine parrot frequent high in the mountains, most hikers spot one or two on the summit.
Ben Lomond is arguably one of the most rewarding day hikes in the area that is so easily accessible. The start of this track lies just 5 minutes from Queenstown CBD. The full hike takes 6-8 hours and a well-deserved refreshing beverage in one of the locals is the ultimate reward.
Lake Hayes, shot by @travelmausblog
The Lake Hayes Loop Track circles one of the region’s most picturesque lakes. Its tranquil waters reflect the willow trees and mountains perfectly. Stroll, run, walk or cycle around this beautiful lake with panoramic views of our most famed peaks. This trail sits comfortably under the 3-hour, with a total distance of 8kms, which makes it a perfect half-day activity to really get you connected to nature. During your leisurely walk you will pass through the Lake Hayes wetlands, keep your eye out for the unique endemic birdlife including Paradise Shelduck’s, Grey Ducks and the Marsh Crake.
Re-connect with yourself in the unique, ever-changing landscape on the Sawpit Gully trail in Arrowtown. The track will have you filling your camera memory, especially in autumn due to the explosion of colours on the hills. There aren’t many towns more photogenic than Arrowtown in autumn due to the abundance of deciduous trees in the area. The leaves on the tree’s frame idyllic scenes everywhere you go and the Sawpit Gully trail is no exception. The 2-3 loop leaves from the historic Chinese Settlement and winds around following the Arrow River back down to base.
Routeburn Track, shot by @trueadventures
Did you know that three (of ten) New Zealand Great Walks are on our doorstep? One being the Routeburn Track, an incredibly scenic 32km that crosses two national parks starting at the head of Lake Wakatipu in Glenorchy and finishing near Te Anau. The walk is usually tackled over the course of three days/two nights but can be enjoyed as a (fast-paced) day walk too. Queenstown has guided options and plenty of track transport available making tackling this Great Walk even easier.
It’s all about experiencing nature at your own pace here in Queenstown, so take it slow, unplug from the real world and take the time for yourself. There is no better way to explore deep into Queenstown's mind-blowing landscapes than to lace up your boots and head into the wilderness.