Numerous short walks start in downtown Queenstown, including a scenic leg-stretch around Queenstown Gardens on the small peninsula overlooking Lake Wakatipu. Another easily accessible highlight is the more strenuous climb up Queenstown Hill, with a pay-off of panoramic views of the lake, Cecil Peak, the Remarkables and more.
Many more short but memorable walks can be found within a half-hour drive, including the amble around Arrowtown’s Chinese Settlement reimaging life during the gold rush, and the undulating path around Lake Hayes ringed by mountain vistas. Wine lovers can explore ruggedly handsome Gibbston on foot, visiting cellar door tasting rooms and recharging with a vineyard lunch.
On the way to Glenorchy is the turn-off to Moke Lake, a hidden gem nestled among tussocky peaks. A loop track here circumnavigates the serene lake, with options to extend the outing by heading south towards Lake Wakatipu or further into the backcountry via the Moonlight Track.