Welcome to this post about 20 of the best hikes and walks in Queenstown.

There’ll be the popular Queenstown walks like Queenstown Hill, and Ben Lomond, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give the Moonlight Track, or Wye Creek a go.

This post will give you a rundown on the best walks and hikes in Queenstown I’ve done. And yes, some of these are dog/family-friendly walks in Queenstown which I’ll mention below the table of contents.

Each walk/hike below will have a couple of photos, a short description of what you can expect along with the distance and difficulty.

And yes, it’s tricky determining the difference between a walk and a hike so I’ll provide the info and you can decide what’s what 🙂

QUEENSTOWN WALKS MAP

If you click on the image below will have Google Maps open in a new window.

queenstown walks map

20 QUEENSTOWN WALKS AND HIKES


1. Queenstown Hill walk
2. Ben Lomond Track
3. Mount Crichton Loop Track
4. Moke Lake Loop Track
5. Wye Creek Track to Lake Alta
6. Fernhill Loop Track
7. The Moonlight Track
8. Coronet Peak Hiking Trail
9. Tiki Trail
10. Jans Peak
11. Sunshine Bay Track
12. Frankton Track
13. Queenstown Gardens
14. Kelvin Heights Peninsula Track
15. Seven Mile Track
16. Bowens Peak
17. Lake Hayes Loop
18. Atleys Track
19. Devils Creek
20. Jacks Point Trail
21. Bobs Cove Track
22. Other Walks Near Queenstown

I’ll address a few common Queenstown hiking questions before we get started.

Best walks in Queenstown for kids?

I’ll go with:

  • Lake Hayes
  • Queenstown Gardens

The best hike in Queenstown?

Hands down the Ben Lomond Track which is one of the best hikes in the South Island. It’s a hike that lives up to the hype.

Best Queenstown walking tracks with dogs?

The Sunshine Bay Track.

Best walk for beginners?

If you want a walk/hike with a little elevation, but nothing crazy, go with Queenstown Hill. It’s steep, but you can turn around at any point…and you get great views.

Best sunset hike in Queenstown?

I’ve not been to many of the hikes for sunset…but I’m going to say Jan’s Peak is a good spot.

Is this every walk near Queenstown?

Nope! There’s a few I haven’t included in this post, yet 😉

1. QUEENSTOWN HILL WALK

queenstown hill views

queenstown hill viewpoint

behind the summit of queenstown hill one of the best queenstown walks

  • Difficulty: Easy – Medium
  • Distance: ~6km

The walk up Queenstown Hill is great for those of you who are in town for just a day and aren’t planning to go up the Gondola.

At no more than 2.5 hours return the views are good value for effort. You saw the photos, right? You can see why it’s one of my favourite views in Queenstown.

The trail is not totally smooth the further you (with minimal flat spots), so shoes will be better than jandals 😉

This is the perfect Queenstown hike if you’re looking for free things to do in Queenstown with kids.

READ THE FULL POST: THE QUEENSTOWN HILL WALK

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2. BEN LOMOND TRACK

the sunrise at ben lomond summit track

looking at the ben lomond summit

ben lomond track

  • Difficulty: ~15km return from the bottom of the Tiki Trail
  • Distance: Medium – Hard

People will often compare Isthmus Peak and Roys Peak. But the Ben Lomond Track has to be a contender for the walk in Otago with the best views.

If you’ve been dreaming about Queenstown hiking, make the effort to get up to the summit for sunrise. If you can handle the early wake-up call.

It’s not one of the easy hikes in Queenstown, but the great thing is even if you just get to the saddle, you’re rewarded with great views. But do everything you can to get to the summit!

This walk to the summit isn’t for those with any hiking experience, but it makes for an amazing hike.

The track is easy to follow, and is the best hike in Queenstown for mine.

Note: During the middle of the Queenstown winter you may need proper alpine equipment bewreen the saddle and summit.

READ THE FULL POST: THE BEN LOMOND TRACK

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3. MOUNT CRICHTON LOOP TRACK

view of lake dispute and lake wakatipu on the mount crichton loop track

mount crichton loop track scenes

sluiced canyon mount crichton loop track

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: ~7.8km

The Mount Crichton Loop is one of the walks in Queenstown that’s a hidden gem. It’s not talked about nearly as much as Moke Lake or Queenstown Hill but offers lots of variety which can be seen in a couple of hours.

With the history thanks to the Sam Summers Hut, you’ll also get to see views of the mountains, Lake Wakatipu, Lake Dispute, waterfalls, rivers, and some other crazy natural formations.

If you’re travelling by campervan and/or camping, it’s right by the 12 Mile Delta Campsite which is convenient.

READ THE FULL POST: WALKING MOUNT CRICHTON

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4. MOKE LAKE LOOP TRACK

walking moke lake queenstown

moke lake walk

moke lake trail

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 6 – 7km

There’s also a campsite next to Moke Lake. So if you’re staying here, you’re all but obligated to do the walk around Moke Lake…one of the many gorgeous lakes in Queenstown.

There’s a little bit of elevation making it one of the best walks in Queenstown for all levels. Given it’s outside of the immediate Queenstown area, no one will accidentally discover this walk so it’s rarely overcrowded.

The best part? After your walk, you can swim in the lake or bask in the afternoon sun. I’d stick to only doing that in the summer though 😉

READ THE FULL POST: THE MOKE LAKE LOOP WALK

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5. WYE CREEK TRACK TO LAKE ALTA

up the saddle on the wye creek track

lake wakatipu

views on the wye creek of lake wakatipu

  • Difficulty:Medium – Hard
  • Distance: 15 – 16km

Wow. Wow. Wow. This was one incredible hike in October. From Queenstown, it looked like there was minimal snow left on The Remarkables.

Don’t let that fool you though. Make sure to speak to the staff at the DOC visitor centre in Queenstown before you embark on this hike. We encountered a lot more snow and ice than expected.

But it’s insanely awesome if you can do it. I feel like there are three distinct parts to the hike.

Part one took you up through the bush line, then you moved above the tree line through the tussocks, and then you made it to the alpine territory. The contrast was amazing, as were all the waterfalls!

And have a solid plan transport wise for getting to/from the hike.

READ THE FULL POST: THE JOURNEY FROM THE WYE CREEK TRACK TO LAKE ALTA

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6. FERNHILL LOOP TRACK

the fernhill loop track

great view of the fernhill loop track walk

start of the fernhill loop track

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Distance: 7 – 8km

This is my least favourite of the Queenstown walks as I always get lost. As do other people doing the Fernhill Loop for the first time. There are some locals who like the Fernhill Loop…and I can see why…it helps they know where they’re going.

The loop is pretty steep on both routes up and down, with mountain bike tracks crossing through some sections.

With that said, there are some nice parts. Once you get up above the tree line, you get some nice views. And along the One Mile Track, there are some cool relics and waterfall action.

Despite this, I wouldn’t put this at the top of your must-do walks in Queenstown.

READ THE FULL POST: THE FERNHILL LOOP TRACK

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7. THE MOONLIGHT TRACK VIA THE TIKI TRAIL

moonlight track views

walking the moonlight track in queenstown

moonlight track queenstown via the tiki trail

  • Difficulty: Medium.
  • Distance: 18 – 20km

The Moonlight Track can be completed from two start points. Moke Lake, and the Tiki Trail.

The Tiki Trail is the most convenient as it’s in Queenstown. And given the track finishes in Arthur’s Point, you can easily bus (or walk even further) back to the city afterward.

The Moonlight Track goes up to Ben Lomond Saddle, but rather than going up to the peak, it continues over the other side of the saddle across private land.

You get to see the valleys through the mountains, and in the right light, the wrinkles on the mountains are awesome.

The final stretch takes you up above the Shotover River where you might hear the jetboat roaring, or someone screaming from the bungee.

This is an awesome walk, but it’s inferior to the Ben Lomond Track. So make this a walk to do if you’re spending a week or more in Queenstown.

READ THE FULL POST: THE MOONLIGHT TRACK VIA THE TIKI TRAIL

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8. THE CORONET PEAK HIKING TRAIL

coronet peak walk summit views

a view towards arrowtown and brow peak from coronet peak

  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Distance: ~4.5km return

In the summer and autumn, Coronet Peak becomes another one of the fun Queenstown walking tracks open to everyone (it’s free).

It’s only about 4.5km or so out and back. But it’s all up and then all down. That said, once you get to the summit you get to see all over Queenstown, Arrowtown, and the Southern Alps.

It really is epic at the summit.

READ THE FULL POST: THE CORONET PEAK HIKING TRAIL

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9. THE TIKI TRAIL

tiki trail queenstown clearing

tiki trail descent

  • Difficulty: Easy – Medium
  • Distance: 4km return

The Tiki Trail is a grunty trail that people will go up for two main reasons (in addition to a starting point for the Ben Lomond Track):

  • A cheap way to get to Bob’s Peak (vs the gondola).
  • As a reintroduction to hiking up steep climbs in preparation for larger hikes/wear in new shoes.

The Tiki Trail goes up the hill next to the gondola you can see from most places in town. It’s about 2km to get to the top of the hill, with over 400 metres of elevation in that time. And the terrain has some technicality to it too.

That said, you’ll see people of all ages and fitness levels on the Tiki Trail. You’re in the forest most of the time, but do get a couple of sweet views out over the lake.

READ THE FULL POST: THE TIKI TRAIL

10. JAN’S PEAK

queenstown views from Jan's peak

ridgeline above queenstown with a mountain in the distance

  • Difficulty: Medium (from the bottom of the gondola)
  • Distance: ~7km

Hiking to Jan’s Peak is awesome!

When you reach the peak, you’ll likely have it to yourself and have the chance to see Queenstown from a unique viewpoint along with views along Gorge Road.

When you’re hiking up to Ben Lomond, as long as you have a little bit of energy left I’d recommend you come back via Jans Peak which has some of my favourite sections of rail in all of Queenstown.

You get to see the takeoff area for the paragliders too.

And when you get back down to town, see if you can spot where you were 😉

READ THE FULL POST: JANS PEAK

11. SUNSHINE BAY TRACK

the sunshine bay walk

sunshine bay

  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Distance:2km each way (more if you’re walking from town rather than the trailhead)

The Sunshine Bay Track is a great out and back track accessible from town and has some variety along the way before you reach the beach which is a lot quieter than Queenstown Bay Beach.

You get some nice views out over the lake, towards the mountains, and towards Queenstown and in between you’ll walk through some native bush. There’s also a waterfall that’s well hidden if you’re not looking for it.

The Sunshine Bay Track is one of the only hiking trails in Queenstown I’ve seen a New Zealand Pigeon (Kereru) too! You may spot tui too.

READ THE FULL POST: THE SUNSHINE BAY TRACK

12. FRANKTON TRACK

frankton arm walkway

frankton track queenstown

  • Difficulty:Easy
  • Distance: ~7.3km each way

The Frankton Track is a popular commuter route for people going between Queenstown and Frankton.

With a wide, well-maintained trail following the lake, it’s actually a really nice trail for people who want some fresh air, a coffee, and a catch-up.

There’s a couple of nice places where you take a break and eat, and you can’t ever argue about the views.

It’s a track I have done countless times, so probably don’t appreciate it enough.

READ THE FULL POST: THE MOONLIGHT TRACK VIA THE TIKI TRAIL

13. QUEENSTOWN GARDENS

queenstown gardens walk

queenstown gardens walkway

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: Varies

The Queenstown Gardens are a beautiful little spot with plenty of activities to keep you busy if need be.

If people are planning to take a walk here, the majority of the time that’s going to be following the track around the outside gardens starting from Queenstown Bay Beach.

But do take some time to walk the tracks on the interior of the gardens too. There are some nice spots for a picnic in the afternoon sun as well (avoid this in the middle of winter).

READ THE FULL POST: VISITING THE QUEENSTOWN GARDENS

14. KELVIN HEIGHTS PENINSULA TRACK

Kelvin Heights golf course

cove on the Kelvin Peninsula Track

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: ~3km loop

The Kelvin Heights Peninsula Track is a fun walking trail between Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown Golf Course. It’s got very little elevation change, but there’s a good amount of variety in the trail.

You’ve got the section next to the beach, the part through the forest (when I run this section I feel like I’m dancing), and then the stretch next to the picturesque golf course.

And to fill out a few hours here, you can chill out at John Wilson Cove, and the cafe on the golf course.

15. SEVEN MILE TRACK

seven mile point track queenstown

seven mile track

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 3km each way

The Seven Mile Track is a great little track many overlook given the hot competition of stunning walks in Queenstown nearby.

The Seven Mile Track has some good views of the lake and into Wilson Bay while taking you through a forested section too. If you want some beach privacy, there’s a good chance you’ll get that on one of the little sections of beach on this trail.

As this walk is in the same area as the Seven Mile Mountain Bike Park, I recommend doing this track if you’re with someone who would prefer to be out on the MTB trails while you walk. That’s a win.

READ THE FULL POST: THE SEVEN MILE TRACK

16. BOWENS PEAK

view from bowens peak towards ben lomond summit

  • Difficulty: Medium – Hard
  • Distance: ~14-15km

Bowen’s Peak is a rarely scaled peak because most people are heading up to Ben Lomond, for good reason.

But if you’re one who likes to zig, when others zag you might prefer going up to Bowen’s Peak (or you can do both).

Bowen’s Peak isn’t as high or as dramatic as Ben Lomond so I’d still say go with Ben Lomond if you can only do one…but the view towards Ben Lomond from there is epic!

The trail is pretty tricky to find, and follow (you turn off at a junction a little before reaching the saddle, so I often find myself just hiking straight towards the summit, and jumping on the trail if/when I find it from time to time.

17. LAKE HAYES

lake hayes walk

lake hayes walking track

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 7 – 8km

The Lake Hayes is stunning loop track between Queenstown and Arrowtown.

There are various points you can start the walk, but I’d suggest starting at the northern end of the loop where you can relax and play afterward.

The loop is well maintained, though the southern end can be underwater after heavy rain.

Other than that, the track is well maintained and the views are always awesome. This is a good spot for sunset too!

READ THE FULL POST: THE LAKE HAYES WALK

18. ATLEYS TRACK

tracks near skippers canyon

atleys track

Details coming soon.

19. DEVILS CREEK TRACK

devils creek track

heading to mount dewar looking towards coronet peak

Details coming soon.

20. JACKS POINT TRAIL

jacks point trail is one of several beautiful lake wakatipu walks

Details coming soon.

21. THE BOB’S COVE TRACK

bob's cove viewpoint

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: Less than 4km

Bob’s Cove is a stunning place, and if you get the chance to visit, make sure you follow the Bob’s Cove Track to the viewpoint.

From this viewpoint, you get some epic, and unique views and the colour of the water hits different. Especially on a sunny day.

This is a great walk for families and/or groups of friends as there’s the beach you can hang out at, and/or jump off the jetty into the frigid Lake Wakatipu.

This is a walk every Queenstown local will speak about glowingly.

READ THE FULL POST: THE BOB’S COVE TRACK

22. SOME OF THE BEST DAY HIKES NEAR QUEENSTOWN

ARROWTOWN WALKS

the spur leading to brow peak

Heading up towards Brow Peak from Arrowtown

WANAKA WALKS

looking towards mount alpha from mount roy

Close to Mount Alpha on the Wanaka Skyline Track

GLENORCHY WALKS

the earnslaw burn track near glenorchy

As seen on the Earnslaw Burn Track

Other MORE WALKS NEARBY

at the top of mount horn cromwell looking at the clutha river

A good view on the Mount Horn Track in Cromwell

  • Mount Horn in Cromwell: Medium – Hard & 18 – 20km
  • The Meg Hut Hike near Cardrona: Medium & 14km return.

    • I’d love to hear your thoughts. What do you think are the best day walks in Queenstown?

      If you’ve got any questions about hiking/walking in Queenstown, I’m happy to help. Leave a comment below or email jub@churnewzealand.com