Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown Hill Challenge

Photo: Flickr. Andrea Schaffer

This popular walking/hiking route from Queenstown to the top of Te Tapunui can also be done as a trail run challenge. Officially called the Queenstown Hill Walkway, this gravel path climbs for 468m over 3.5 km, with grades of up to 20%. The reward is breathtaking 360 degree views of the Waikatipu Basin.

Start at the car park of the Belfast Terrace, this mountainous and steep route takes passes through a Douglas fir forest. Once you pass the rock cairn fairy garden, there will be a forked track, so make sure to toward the right until exiting the forest — optional rest stop at the magnificent, iron “Basket of Dreams” sculpture. From there, the loop continues straight ahead uphill (simply follow the signs) towards the summit of Te Tapunui. At the summit, there are great views of the lake and some of the main landmarks of the Queenstown area, such as  The Remarkables, Cecil Peak, parts of Lake Wakatipu, and the Kawarau River.

Note:  These trails are public and unrestricted, but bear in mind that some of the land throughout the route is private, so it is required to stay on the trail at all times. Go easy on your knees on the way down!

Essentials
  • 3.6 km (2.2 miles) one-way
  • 1536 feet (468m)
  • Car park of the Belfast Terrace