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Queenstown Hill Walk

Posted by Stacey Phillips: 30th Oct 2018 @ 10:02:45

The best mini hike in Queenstown must be Queenstown hill. This moderately challenging uphill walk takes you to a number of stunning view points of the area.

If you have a vehicle, take yourself up to Belfast Terrace, and you’ll find a small car park and a sign marking the start of the trail. From town on foot, the walk up the steep residential streets to this point will be one of the most challenging parts of the trip, but it’s worth it I promise you!

Once you have found the sign for the trail, you begin to make your way up quite steeply until you reach a gate. The gate is beautifully sculptured metal, and beside it is a plaque which reads:

This pathway leads to our future. With each step, we seek the guidance and wisdom of those who have gone before us; we walk with a sense of hope, that those who follow in our footsteps beyond the year 2000 can do so with the same sense of pride in, and protection for, this beautiful place.”

Continuing through the gate you find yourself surrounded by Douglas Fir trees, not at all native but brought over when the ski fields were established to make it feel more North American. They grew quickly here, taking over the mountains, and have long since been a part of Queenstown. However, the call to restore New Zealand’s native flora is gaining strength every year, and much of these foreign forests are being removed from the surrounding area.

As you follow the path steadily upwards you will come to a divide. The left path with take you steeply up the hill, slightly quicker but more strenuous, I personally prefer the right-hand path! This continues climbing more gradually, with numerous informative signs along the way, which give you a great excuse to stop, catch your breath, and learn a little more about the area. As you meander your way through the forest look out for tiny fairy doors, and maybe add your own stone to one of the many mini rock piles that line the path.

Which ever path you choose, you will find yourself at a more level clearing, as you turn to check out the views you will see a large sculpture, the ‘Basket of Dreams’. More often than not someone will already be sitting here, either taking in the sweeping vistas, or taking numerous selfies! Most people are generally considerate and will hop out once they are done, and you are free to climb in. It’s a pretty awesome spot to catch your breath and your first big reward for the hike, but it’s not over yet!

From here make sure you keep on going! Pause and turn around along the way as the views are a great excuse to catch your breath. The only way is up, but take your time and it will be worth it in the end! When finally at the top you can pick your spot, get comfy, bring out the prepacked fruits and snacks from your backpack and enjoy! Queenstown looks like a little toy town from up there, and Lake Wakatipu seems to snake off in all directions!

To the left you can see Frankton and the airport. I don’t think I’ve ever sat and watched planes take off and land for so long, but what a place to do it! Not only is it one of the most famous runways in the world for it’s picturesque scenery, you are watching them from above which is pretty unusual!

Depending on your plans for the day, you can spend as little, or as long as you want up here. The walk back always seems quicker, and if you turn right at the basket of dreams, you can take that slightly shorter and steeper way back down! As you descend you are likely to pass many others making the hike up, give them some words of encouragement New Zealand is famous for being friendly, and I’m yet to go on a hiking, or as they call it in NZ ‘tramping’, adventure, without many friendly ‘hello’s, and ‘you’re almost there’s along the way.

I’ve sent many people up on this walk, and I’ve never heard a complaint, so grab your best walking shoes, snacks, water and the all-important camera, and go and see Queenstown from a new perspective!

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