plan your walk

Short Walks in Queenstown

Looking for a shorter walk from Queenstown or walks you can do around the area to stretch your legs before a full hike?

Queenstown is a gateway to two of New Zealand's National Parks as well as many outstanding tracks and features surrounding it.  Just a short distance into nature reveals dramatic waterfalls, teeming birdlife and lush foliage.

Ultimate Hikes offers full day walks on the Routeburn Track in Mt Aspiring National Park, and we can also transport you from Queenstown to the start of the Milford Track in the Fiordland National Park.  These are fully guided and inclusive of lunch and transport - and provide a hassle-free introduction to the wonders of our Park environment.

But you don't necessarily need ours or anyone else's help in experiencing the world-renowned Central Otago Landscape.  Walking and biking tracks link up throughout the Queenstown region for a walk of half an hour or longer that you can start directly from your accommodation or within a short drive.

Queenstown walking tracks

Whether it's a leisurely stroll around the lakefront for stunning views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables Mountain Range or a heart racing hike up Ben Lomond for 360 degree views, there's a walk to suit all ages and fitness levels.  And it's a great way to see the region and get acqainted with New Zealand's back yard.

Some of our favourites are:

Queenstown Hill - it's a steep climb from the town centre through a pine forest but you are  rewarded with a great view and know you have earned your pint or pinot.  This one is Zoe's favourite.

Lake Hayes track - Chris loves this - it's equally good for walking or biking.  A round trip from any starting point but if you're driving it's best to park at Lake Hayes Pavilion or the Reserve at the end of the lake.  Mirror views are superb from any angle on a still day and you are close to both Akarua and Amisfield wine tasting rooms, so make sure you leave time to visit one or both!

Arrowtown walking tracks

If you're visiting or staying in picturesque Arrowtown there are a number of well signposted tracks starting from the river track below the historic main street.  Our favourite is Saw-Pit Gully - a 2.5 hour loop track that takes you out behind the hills of Arrowtown with gorgeous views of lake hayes and Millbrook between the hills - this has some steep bits and is out of cell-phone range for much of it, but well worth the time.  If you prefer a more leisurely walk a walking track takes you along the Arrow river where you can cross over and either do a loop walk or tackle the blood pumping Tobins Track to the top of the Crown Terrace with a great view out over Arrowtown.

Check out the link to a booklet below for details on these and other hikes in and around Queenstown.

Be prepared

Wherever you decide to walk you should be prepared for inclement weather so always take a jacket and wear comfortable walking shoes.  A bottle of water is a must as well as plenty of sunscreen and a hat when the sun's out.  For hiking into the surrounding mountains for more than 3 hours, a more detailed equipment list is recommended including a first aid kit, food, water and warm clothing - click here to see ours

Cell phone coverage can be patchy in the hills, so always tell someone where you are going and when you intend to return.

Regardless of whether you want  to hike with a guide or on your own add a walk into your Queenstown itinerary at any time of the year - Destination Queenstown's website gives a range of operators for outdoor activities, and the Department of Conservation has put out a great  booklet detailing the walks in Queenstown and the greater Wakatipu region.