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Parks and Walkways
Kā Waenga me kā Ara
Take a walk in paradise. We've got plenty of trails for you to discover in the Whakatipu Basin and across the Crown Range in the Upper Clutha.
If you're looking for more detailed information on DOC tracks, head to:
In the heart of Queenstown, this local favourite features spectacular views and the popular ‘Basket of Dreams’ sculpture.
This is a Council managed track crossing lease land. Please respect the landowners property and stay on the trail at all times.
Time: 2-3 hours return to carpark Grade: Medium to high fitness required Start / Finish: Belfast street
A leisurely stroll, this short walk can be done in your lunch break. This trail is managed by the Council.
Time: 10-40 minutes Grade: Easy Start / Finish: Queenstown Lakefront (east end)
A local favourite, this well used lakeside walk has great views of the lake and mountains. The trail is managed by the Council. Toilet facilities are located at the Frankton end of the track.
Time: 1-1 ½ hours one way. Grade: Easy Start / Finish: Park Street to Frankton
Another local favourite, this sunny lakeside walk has lots of great picnic and swimming spots along the way. This trail is managed by the Council and links to another trail taking you all the way around to Jacks Point. Toilets are available at Frankton.
Time: 1 – 1 ½ hours one way Grade: Easy Start / Finish: Kawarau Bridge to Jardine Park
Accessible from Jardine Park. A lovely lakeside walk, popular with mountain bikers. Trail notes are recommended – collect from the local Department of Conservation office – 50 Stanley Street, Queenstown. More information on the DOC Website.
Time: 2 – 2 ½ hours return Grade: Advanced - High fitness required Start / Finish Jardine Park / Jack’s Point
Starting at the gondola base building, a solid climb zig zags up underneath the pine forest to end up on the Skyline Road. Follow Skyline Road to find other trails available throughout the forest.
Time: 1 hour return Grade: Medium fitness required Start / Finish: Gondola Base building
A pleasant stroll or bike ride linking Queenstown to the Fernhill residential area. This trail can also be used to access the many trails in the Ben Lomond Forest.
Time: 15 minutes one way Grade: Easy Start / Finish: Cameron Place / Thompson Street
A popular trail with walkers and cyclists, pack a picnic and relax by the restored powerhouse. Trail notes are recommended, collect from the local Department of Conservation office – 50 Stanley Street, Queenstown.
This is a relaxing wander high above the Arrow River. 20 minutes into the trail you will pass a spot where the Sawpit Gully stream falls down a picturesque waterfall. This is an ideal spot for a rest. Not far from this you will reach the turn off to the Sawpit Gully trail, then 3 minutes on from this point, you will reach the Norman Smith footbridge where the trail joins the Macetown Road. You can either retrace your steps back to Arrowtown, or return to Arrowtown via the Macetown 4WD road (some river crossings may be necessary).
50 minutes return from the bridge
Grade Easy Start / Finish Butlers Green
Look out for stone walls in the centre of the river. These were reportedly built by Chinese Miners in an effort to divert water from one side to the other. They then worked the dry side, always profitably. After 15 minutes the trail will lead up over a foot bridge where the Big Hill and Sawpit Gully trails start. Veer left at this point and continue along Bush Creek to the old water supply intake (1881). Retrace your steps back to Arrowtown.
Time 1 hour return Grade Easy Start / Finish Butlers Green
This is a route rather than a well formed trail. The inexperienced tramper is best to access Macetown via the River Trail. This trail is on private land. Please respect the landowners property at all times.
Until the opening of the Macetown road in 1884, this trail was the main route over to Macetown. It often took days to reach the town, battling harsh mountain weather and often an impassable track. Today the trail follows the old bridle trail and climbs steadily from Bush Creek for an hour to reach Eichardt's Flat where there are grand views over the Arrow Basin and Lake Hayes.
Time 5-6 hours return Grade Medium - high fitness Start / Finish Bush Creek
This is a great loop with a veriety of scenery. The Arrow River trail sidles high above the Arrow River before you reach the turn off to Sawpit Gully. Once in Sawpit Gully itself parts of a water race are followed and piles of stone gold mining tailings are evident once down near the creek. The vegetation changes from beech forest pockets to tussock covered slopes interspersed with prickly matagouri and the sharp pointed speargrass, common in the Central Otago landscape. Look for remains of an old stone hut on your right on a grassy terrace just before you begin to climb out of Sawpit Gully. The cottage was home to a succession of miners and serves as a good resting place.
This walk crosses private land. The landowner's property should be respected at all times. Please remain on the trail. Strictly no dogs or mountain bikes or trail bikes.
Time 2-3 hour loop Grade Medium to high fitness Start / Finish Butlers Green
A 4.2km walkway along the banks of the Arrow River. This trail was built by the Otago Regional Council in 1998 to commemorate 150 years of European settlement in Otago. It travels downstream passing the site of the Criterion Quartz Mining company, one of the first quartz mines in New Zealand which began extracting gold from there in the 1860's. It is a wide, easy track overhung with Willow, Sycamore and Larch trees.
Time 1 hour Grade Easy Start / Finish Butlers Green
This is a 4WD road which crosses the river many times. Vehicles should not go in alone. The river can rise rapidly when raining and should not be accessed during the winter months.
Walkers, bikers and horses should take care of vehicles on the road.
There are many historical points of interest along the way, almost a story at every bend. It's worthwhile purchasing a small booklet from the Lakes District Museum which describes the features along the way. The book is called 'Macetown and the Arrow Gorge'.
A local favourite! Easy grade walk on a well formed track providing outstanding views of the lake and surrounding area. Please keep dogs on a leash around the wetlands area - its one of the few sites you can observe the Australasian Crested Grebe.
Time 2 hour loop Grade Medium fitness Start / Finish Showgrounds carpark or Lake Hayes Reserve
A brisk walk to the top of Tobins Track will reward you with unsurpassed views of Arrowtown and the wider Whakatipu basin.
Time 30 minutes each way Grade Medium fitness required
If you're looking for more detailed information on DOC tracks, head to:
This very popular, close to Wānaka loop walk suits all ages and abilities and offers great views of the surrounding area from the top, including Lake Wānaka and Lake Hāwea.
Time: 1.5 hour loop Grade: Easy/moderate Start / Finish: Car park on SH84 as you enter town, or off Allenby Place
Starting from the centre of town, this track meanders around the lake towards Waterfall Creek. Once it reaches Waterfall Creek car park, it takes you through undulating rural fields and awards great views over Wānaka.
Time: 1.5 hours one way Grade: Easy to Waterfall Creek, then easy/medium past this point Start / Finish: Wanaka CBD or Waterfall Creek car park on Ruby Island Road
Offering magnificent views over Wānaka and the Alps, this track is well worth the climb to the top. Pack a picnic and don’t forget your camera. Note: Due to snow and ice, this track may not be suitable for use in winter
This track is closed annually for lambing from 1 October until 10 November inclusive.
Time: 5-6 hours return, depending on level a fitness Grade: Medium fitness required Start / Finish: Car park at base of Roys Peak, on Mt Aspiring Road
Winding its way along the lake edge, this track is great for all ages and abilities. Once you reach the Outlet track section, you join alongside the Clutha River, and the track extends along here to end at Albert Town.
Time: 1-2 hours one way Grade: Easy Start / Finish: Many entries along from Wānaka CBD to Penrith Beach, or from Albert Town end
The first section of the track undulates above Lake Wānaka before a 4WD track leads to Colquhouns Beach; an enjoyable picnic and swimming spot. This track is suitable for walking, mountain biking and horse riding. To get gate access for horses please phone West Wānaka Station on 03 443 7144.
Time: 2-3 hours from Car Park to Colquhouns Beach Grade: Easy to moderate
The East and West Matukituki Valleys and Mount Aspiring National Park offer a number of enjoyable day walks across farmland and beech forest flats, as well as access to a number of demanding tramping and climbing routes. It is a walker’s paradise and a must for mountaineers.
Raspberry Creek Car Park to Aspiring Hut : 2.5hours one way
Rob Roy Track: 3-4 hour return IMPORTANT NOTE: There is avalanche danger during Winter and Spring (June – November) on Rob Roy Track.
Aspiring Hut to Cascade Saddle: 4-5hours one way IMPORTANT NOTE: Cascade Saddle is an alpine crossing and should not be attempted in adverse weather. There is avalanche danger during Winter and Spring (June - November).
Diamond Lake Conservation Area provides several walking options, which take in native forest, bluffs and beautiful Diamond Lake, or continue up to Rocky Mountain Summit for views over Lake Wānaka and the surrounding Alps.
Warning: Sections of the lower circuit are steep and often slippery. Because of ice this track is not recommended during Winter.
Time: Diamond Lake circuit track return: 45 min
Diamond lake viewpoint return: 1 hour
Lake Wanaka viewpoint return: 2 hours
Rocky Mountain circuit return: 3 hours
Grade: Easy for Diamond Lake, medium/high for Rocky Mountain Start/Finish: Diamond Lake Conservation Area, 12km from Wanaka on Mt Aspiring Road
The short stroll to the Blue Pools is well worth a look if you are in the Makarora region. It winds down through native forest and across a swing bridge to the beautiful clear blue pools. Pack a picnic and take your togs in the Summer.
Time: 30 mins return Grade: Easy Start / Finish: Car park is on Makarora/Haast Road, 45mins from Wānaka
From the Stevensons Road car park the track starts on a terrace above the river and then leads down alongside the Clutha River, past old goal tailings and reaches a sheltered picnic spot. About an hour from the car park is the entrance to Reko’s Conservation area, where walkers can ramble at will or continue on to come out at Shortcut Road, near SH6.
Time: 1.5 - 2 hours Grade: Easy Start / Finish: Car park at end of Stevensons Road, 9km from Wānaka on SH6
Active Travel Routes
Check out the below map for key active travel routes and public facilities in the Whakatipu Basin.
The Trail Code
Please help keep our trails beautiful.
Everyone is welcome to enjoy our trails, but please take care to follow some simple rules to ensure your safety and so that our trails can be enjoyed by all well into the future:
- Always tell someone where you’re going.
- Stay on the trail.
- Always prepare for alpine weather conditions.
- Carry plenty of food and water.
- Always consider others while walking the trail.
- Bikers please give way to walkers and horses.
- Dogs must be under control at all times.
- Never light fires – there is a year round fire ban in the Queenstown Lakes District.
- Keep streams and lakes clean – bury toilet waste away from waterways.
- Take all rubbish with you or put in bins if provided.
- Report all potential hazards to the Council, phone 03 441 0499 Queenstown, or 03 443 0024 Wānaka.
There are several public gas and electric barbecues around the district which you can use, free of charge. These barbecues are regularly maintained either by Council staff or, in some places, our wonderful volunteers.
Please remember to clean up after yourself when you have finished using the barbecue so that everyone can enjoy these facilities!
You can find public gas and electric barbecues at the following locations:
- St Omer Park - Opposite 26 Lake Esplanade
- St Omer Park - Opposite YHA
- Frankton Domain - Next to changing sheds
- Fernhill Reserve
- McBride Park (Lake Hayes Estate)
- Aspiring Road (Opposite Wanaka Recreational Reserve)
- Roy's Bay Playground
- Eely Point
- Bremner Bay
- Ruby Island
- Domini Park (Trevathen Lane)
- Hopkins St (Luggate)
- Scotts Beach
- Esplanade Reserve
Is a public barbecue not working or out of gas?
If you come across a public barbecue that either doesn't work, or is out of gas, then please let us know by filling out out Fix It form.
We'll send someone to sort it out!
We aren't giving approvals for remote controlled aircraft (including drones) to fly over our parks, reserves and roads at present, unless for a Commercial Film permit and when the operator is certificated under Rule 102 of the Civil Aviation Act (CAA).
We are working on a new policy that will consider all the implications for our public spaces and the community who use them. In the meantime, if you wish to fly drones in the Queenstown Lakes District you will need to approach private landowners independently for their approval.
It's important to note that CAA rules will still apply and must be adhered to including rules restricting use of remote controlled aircraft (including drones) within controlled airspace and within 4km of aerodromes.