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Ultimate Queenstown

Ben Lomond - Queenstown From Above

Ben Lomond - Queenstown From Above

Posted by Dave Fahey: 27th Jan 2015 @ 20:29:42

Ben Lomond is well and truly amongst my favourite walks to do in the Wakatipu, and an absolute must if you have some spare time in Queenstown – oh, and a desire to walk up a mountain.

Most people would choose to access Ben Lomond from either 1 Mile power station or by taking a bit of the sting out of the walk & utilising Skyline Gondola. From 1 Mile signs will direct you towards the top & give you a somewhat over exaggerated timeframe of 6-8 hours return. In reality, if you have done some hiking in the past 4-6 hours should see you knock it over. The lower track winds its way through a combination of Native Beach forest and exotic Douglas Fir. From here it opens out in open grass and tussock land through to the saddle between Ben Lomond and its neighbouring Bowens Peak. It’s at about this point that you realise whether you’ve picked a good day for summiting. As with all mountains in New Zealand wind is the killer. It certainly does pay to look ahead at the forecast to pick a calm day. If the hat is getting blown off your head at the saddle, I suggest taking a picture of the view, soaking it in and returning to Queenstown.

If mother nature is playing its part however, you are in for a bit of a leg burner. From the saddle the track takes it up a notch as it climbs towards the summit. The summit lies approximately 4 km northwest of the town centre, and reaches a height of 1,748 m (5,735 ft). Once at the top you will be treated to some of the most incredible views in the valley. As you tower nearly 1400m meters above Queenstown you will take in views across the basin towards The Remarkables, down the lake in all three directions and back across the Southern Alp’s, taking in the areas biggest mountain – Mt Aspiring.

My pieces of advice for this visual spectacular are: Layers – make sure you take both an additional thermal layer and a wind proof jacket. Water – once exiting the forest there are no sources of water, so make sure you take enough water for a day of physical activity. Food – The view is amazing and you’ll want to soak it in, so take lunch and enjoy a bite to eat looking down upon paradise. And last but not least – DON’T FORGET YOUR CAMERA!!!

Enjoy!

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