Queenstown is surrounded by screensaver-worthy peaks, so why focus only on the most famous runs?

Take the less traveled trails and you will fully enjoy the experience of nature: an undiluted experience by clicking cameras and countless pairs of legs clad in sportswear.

The scenery is often just as remarkable as that of the actual Remarkables, and you’re much more inclined to have it all – or almost everything – to yourself. Below are five of our favorites.

The Greenstone and Caples trails, a quieter alternative to the Routeburn, can be walked solo or as part of a guided tour.


The Greenstone and Caples trails, a quieter alternative to the Routeburn, can be walked solo or as part of a guided tour.

* Queenstown is a dream destination for cycling
* Never stepped on before? It’s time to hike these five trails for beginners
* A guide to Tititea / Mount Aspiring National Park

Great hill trail

Big Hill Track, Arrowtown

TODD ​​WEEKS / Provided

Big Hill Track, Arrowtown

Time: 4-6 hours one way

Beginning end: Bush Creek / Macetown Road

Travel back in time along an ancient bridle path to the abandoned Gold Rush town of Macetown. The 4×4 route is an easier alternative but, if you think the journey is as much about the journey as it is about the destination, this 7.5 mile track is pretty hard to beat.

A road rather than a well-formed trail, it was the main route to Macetown until the opening of the Macetown Road in 1884 and could take days to travel in inclement weather. With that in mind, set off on a beautiful day and settle in for a steady hour-long climb to Eichardt’s Flat, where you can pause to take in the stunning views of Arrow Basin and Lake Hayes.

Follow two water runs through mound lands and mountain beech forest to Big Hill Saddle, from where you’ll get a first glimpse of Macetown with Advance Peak looming in the background. From there you can retrace your steps or descend to Eight Mile Creek and follow it for about 20 minutes to Macetown.

The 4×4 route avoids the Big Hill, but is also not a walk in the park. Departing Bush Creek from the Chinese Colony, it takes about three to four hours for a one-way trip and crosses the Arrow River several times. The river rises quickly in winter, so don’t try to cross it. If you want more time to explore Macetown – or if you just don’t want to have to walk back the same day – pitch a tent in the Macetown Historic Preserve.

Alta lake track

Lake Alta is a family walk from The Remarkables ski area.

Chiharu Kitai | DOC

Lake Alta is a family walk from The Remarkables ski area.

Time: 1h30 round trip

Beginning end: The base building of the Remarkables ski area

Hike to a hidden glacial lake with a beautiful movie star appearance in under an hour.

Starting on the road behind the buildings of the Remarkables ski area, the trail climbs to the top of the Alta chairlift before crossing alpine wetlands to a beautifully shaped small lake so clear that it mirrors the mountains that surround it in the weather. clear.

If there is no one else around, you will feel like you have stumbled upon a private natural swimming pool, but beware: it is so cold that it is used for preparation for the Antarctic dive and freezes over. in winter.

Lake Alta starred as Dimrill Dale in Peter Jackson’s the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and also made a cameo appearance in the 2000 action film Vertical limit, so if you are a photography fan, you might stay happy for a while. The spectacular views of Queenstown and its surroundings along the way might also slow you down, so pack a picnic to support you and give yourself time to soak up the serenity.

Mount Dewar

Time: 1 hour one way

Beginning end: Skippers Saddle parking off Coronet Peak Rd

A mini version of the ever popular Roys Peak Track in Wānaka, this short but steep hike rewards those who tackle it with panoramic views of Coronet Peak, the Shotover River, and the Wakatipu Basin.

The views along the long, winding road to Skippers Canyon are awe-inspiring in themselves, but they just keep getting better as you ascend the 4×4 trail to the top of Mt Dewar at 1310 meters. Think of the dramatic ridge lines for days on end and, in the cooler months, snow capped (or overcast) peaks.

The summit is an idyllic spot at sunset, especially if there is snow on the hills and the wide, well-formed trail makes the descent at dusk (or even in the dark) relatively easy if you have a torch.

If you’re up for a longer hike, you can continue along the Atley or Devils Creek trails, which take you to Skippers Rd and Coronet Peak Rd, respectively, after about four or five hours of walking.

The Atley Trail slopes steeply down to the Atley Terrace Historic Preserve, passing historic gold mining features, while the Devils Creek Trail descends through tussock meadows to the creek and continues to ‘at Coronet Peak Rd.

Mount Crichton Loop & Bob’s Cove Trail & Nature Walk

Waterfall on Mount Crichton Loop Track Image.

Steve Collis / DOC

Waterfall on Mount Crichton Loop Track Image.

Time: 2-4 hours

Beginning end: Mount Crichton parking lot on Glenorchy Rd

Located along the scenic route between Queenstown and Glenorchy, this 2.5-hour trail features towering red and mountain beech trees, a waterfall, a gold miner’s hut, and a view of a hidden lake that most Queenstown visitors never see.

A steep climb soon rewards you with the sight in question – Dispute Lake backed by lush green fields and Lake Wakatipu – from where you descend to the stone hut of Sam Summers, built around 1930.

Summers have plagued the area on and off for about 30 years, and you can get a feel for what it must have been like if you stay overnight. Managed by the Department of Conservation, it contains a bunk bed and fireplace, and there is a non-flush toilet nearby. Located in a small clearing next to a small waterfall, this is about such a serene place as you could hope for a night. Visiting in June, the snow-capped mountain beech and mānuka glowed in the faint golden sunlight like a giant’s jewelry box of diamonds.

Other remnants of the region’s gold mining era include a large lock-up canyon and a 24-meter-long “tail run” tunnel, through which gold-bearing gravel is said to have been washed. From the hut it takes about an hour to get back to the road. Cross it and continue along Bob’s Cove Track and Nature Walk for about 20 minutes to a cove with blue-green waters so clear you can see the bottom when you inevitably pose for a photo on the pier.

Greenstone and Caples slopes

Explore hidden valleys on the tracks of Greenstone and Caples.

Destination Queenstown / Supplied

Explore hidden valleys on the tracks of Greenstone and Caples.

Time: Four days

Beginning end: Greenstone Parking, Greenstone Road

A quieter alternative to the Routeburn, these scenic trails meet on the McKellar sub-alpine saddle to form a moderately demanding 61km four-day course.

Once used by early Maori settlers traveling from Lake Wakatipu to the west coast in search of pounamu (green stone), the vast and open Greenstone Valley is characterized by tufts of grass and beech forest, while the valley Caples’ narrower combines thick forest with grassy glades.

The first day, the trampers usually traverse a spectacular gorge to Mid Caples Hut, while the second day sees them ascend to McKellar Saddle with its exceptional views over the valley before spending the night at McKellar Hut, just south of the lake. McKellar.

Day three combines tussock plains, bushes, and a gorge with a stay at Greenstone Hut, and day four takes hikers into the Greenstone Valley, largely following the blue-green Greenstone River. Keep your eyes peeled for kākā, kākāriki, and the rare mōhua. If you’re lucky, you might spot a kea as well.

Stay Safe: New Zealand is currently subject to restrictions related to Covid-19. Follow the instructions on covid19.govt.nz.

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