Surrounded by mountain ranges and perched beside a lake, Queenstown is heaven for those who love the outdoors, especially walkers and hikers. If getting out into nature is high on your wish list, here are a few day walks around Queenstown – easily accessible with your Queenstown car hire from Hertz Queenstown – to explore on foot amongst some of the most spectacular scenery in the South Island.
This three-hour walk departs from Belfast St in the heart of Queenstown. You’ll climb 500m through pine forest to the summit, and enjoy sweeping views from the top. Parts of the track go over private land; you’ll also pass the famous Basket of Dreams sculpture.
This is a good half day walk, 4 or more hours at the least, taking in views of the lake and mountains en route. The walk to Ben Lomond Saddles is about 4 hours both ways, or if you’re fit, continue on to the top of Ben Lomond summit (6-8 hours return). You’ll start by walking through either beech forest on the One Mile Creek walk, or Douglas firs via the Skyline Access Road. Carrying on to Ben Lomond, the ascent is steep and challenging but the reward is panoramic views – all the way to Mount Earnslaw and Mount Aspiring on clear days.
On a sunny day you can’t beat this lakeside amble. As you stroll along you’ll come across many great picnic and swimming spots along the way. The Kelvin Peninsula Walkway links to the Lakeside trail that carries on all the way around to Jacks Point. Takes about an hour from the Kawarau Bridge to Jardine Park, plus another 2 hours if you continue to Jacks Point.
This trail starts at the bottom of the iconic Queenstown Skyline Gondola. It zigzags up the slope through forest, climbing until you reach Skyline Rd. You can then follow the road to find other trails throughout the forest. At certain points you’ll even be able to see mountain bikers, paragliders and ziptrekkers along the way – a bit of a novelty.