Five Stunning Queenstown Tracks

Douglas Paul
Jun 4, 2024

Queenstown is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with stunning walking and cycling tracks. There's something for everyone, from leisurely lakeside strolls to more challenging mountain hikes. Here are some of the best tracks to check out on your next visit to Queenstown.

Sawpit Gully Track

Located in Arrowtown, just a 20-minute drive from Queenstown, the Sawpit Gully Track is a fabulous 3-hour loop that takes you through historic gold mining sites and spectacular mountain scenery. The track starts at the west end of the car park and follows a steep climb to a saddle between German Hill and Brow Peak (also a section of Te Araroa). Along the way, you'll be treated to excellent views of the Remarkables mountain range.

The track then drops into Sawpit Gully, passing by the ruins of an old stone hut before entering a series of small waterfalls. This part of the track can be narrow and rough in places, but the surrounding native bush provides a sense of adventure. At the gully's end, you'll reach the Arrow Gorge, where you can complete the loop with a 20-minute walk along the gorge.

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Lake Hayes Walkway

The Lake Hayes Walkway is an easy 2-hour 20-minute loop around the stunning Lake Hayes, just a 15-minute drive from Queenstown. The 10.2 km track is mostly flat and offers open views of the lake and surrounding mountains, including the Remarkables.

The walkway is a shared trail for both walkers and cyclists, so be mindful of others on the narrow sections. Along the way, you'll pass by picturesque farmland and may even spot some friendly sheep. The lake is known for its mirror-like reflections, especially in the early morning, making it a popular spot for photographers.

Interestingly, the lake's European name has a somewhat scandalous history. It was originally named Hay Lake after an Australian explorer but later evolved to Lake Hayes after an American named "Bully" Hayes, who had a notorious reputation as a South Seas pirate. He was murdered on his ship in 1877.

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Seven Mile Point

Seven Mile Point is a scenic viewpoint and reserve located along the Glenorchy Queenstown Road, just a 7 km drive from Queenstown. You'll have panoramic views over Lake Wakatipu from the lookout, with Walter Peak directly to the south and Cecil Peak to the southeast. It's also one of the best spots to see The Remarkables mountain range.

If you're feeling more adventurous, you can walk or cycle along the Seven Mile Point Track. This track takes you around the coast and through native forest to Wilson Bay. It is about 90 minutes each way and ends at a pretty lakeside beach.

No matter which track you choose, you'll be blown away by the natural beauty of Queenstown and its surroundings. So lace up your hiking boots or hop on your bike and get ready.

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Mt Crichton Track

The Mt Crichton Track is an easy loop that takes about 2.5 hours to complete and mostly passes through a beautiful native beech forest. The track is a 15-minute drive from Queenstown along the Glenorchy Queenstown Road.

Along the east side of the track, you'll come across remnants of the area's gold mining past, including piles of tailings and a cliff face created by water blasting. You'll also find Sam Summers Hut, a charming stone hut built in the 1930s by gold prospector Sam Summers and his brothers. The hut is surrounded by lush forest and a nearby waterfall, making it an incredibly picturesque spot.

The track is connected to the Lake Dispute Walkway, which also connects with a shared track to scenic Moke Lake if you're up for a longer hike or cycle.

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Bobs Cove Track

The Bobs Cove Track is a short but sweet walk, taking only about 20 minutes each way. It is a 15-minute drive from Queenstown along the Glenorchy Queenstown Road and is split into two sections.

The first part takes you through a native forest filled with clematis flowers in the spring and red rata in the summer. You'll then reach the sheltered cove on Lake Wakatipu, where you can see the remains of an old limestone kiln from the 1800s. The cove is a popular swimming spot in the warmer months.

The second part of the walk involves a short but steep hike to Picnic Point, a limestone promontory 67 meters above the lake. You'll be rewarded from the top with stunning views over the cove, south to Cecil Peak, and east along the lake to the Remarkables. For a longer walk or cycle, head along the link track to 12 Mile Delta.

This area has a fascinating geological history. The limestone originates from an ancient shallow sea that once covered the region. Seashell fossils can still be found along the lakeshore today.

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