On your drive from Queenstown you’ll find many opportunities to pull over and enjoy the stunning views and maybe a picnic. If you’re keen to explore check out these great spots:
Moke Lake Loop – 2-3hrs
About 10 minutes from Queenstown you’ll see the righthand turn off signposted for Moke Lake, drive this steep and windy road until you reach an unsealed gravel road. Drive for about 8 kilometres, passing the smaller Lake Kirpatrick, before you arrive at Moke Lake Reserve, where you can start the track.
This gorgeous undulating walk through grassland is surrounded by mountains and goes right round the lake. A short boardwalk at the southern end protects a small wetland. For more information click here.
Mountain biking grade 3, intermediate.
Lake Dispute – 1.5hrs
This track zigzags up through pittosporum shrubland to Lake Dispute – a high country lake that is a popular fishing spot – brown, brook and splake trout can all be caught here. This walk can connect to both Moke Lake and Mt Crichton walks but you will end up in a different place to where you started!
Mountain biking welcome – the steep single track from the road to Lake Dispute is classed as Advanced. Beyond, the track is classed as Intermediate.
The track is signposted on the road, 10.5 km from Queenstown. There’s a tiny bit of parking on the opposite side of the road from the track. For more information click here.
Mt Crichton Loop – 2.5hrs
This loop follows along sections of Twelve Mile Creek through red beech in the gullies. As the track ascends, it passes through mountain beech and mānuka, offering views of Lake Dispute and glimpses of Lake Wakatipu. Gold miners intensively worked the Twelve Mile Creek Gorge and signs of sluicing can still be seen. A short side track below historic Sam Summers Hut leads to an impressive rock tunnel once used as a tail race. It takes one hour to walk to Sam Summers Hut from the left side of the track (the true right of Twelve Mile Creek).
The track starts 12km from Queenstown and there is ample parking. There are old mine shafts and steep drop-offs along parts of the track. Dog friendly. For more information click here.
Walk as far as you’d like here, either simply walk to Bobs Cove through native bush with stunning views of Lake Whakatipu and offers swimming and shore fishing, or go further up to Picnic Point with stunning views to the Remarkables. You can walk all the way to 12 Mile Delta, but you’ll need to walk back or walk up to the road and hitch a ride to your car.
A historic lime kiln remains from the 1800s, when the Wakatipu Lime Company quarried and processed Bobs Cove limestone; gum trees here were planted to fuel the kilns. If you go further you’ll be following history along the original bridle track that linked Queenstown and Glenorchy. Original schist retaining walls can still be seen north of Bob’s Cove.
As of Winter 2021 there is now a formal car park and walk to the viewing point at Bennett’s Bluff with stunning views of Lake Wakatipu and the Humboldt mountains and the head of the lake. The walk is about 1km round trip up a small hill from the car park. Learn about the history of building the road while you’re there.
A beautiful set of gardens surrounding a quirky accommodation business. People are always welcome to drop in and check out all their hard work of the last 20+ years, crafted all by themselves, including hand made furniture, garden sculptures and more. A donation is requested if you’re not staying at this stunning spot down the hill from Bennett’s Bluff. Click here for more info.