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Queenstown's top 3 family walks

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Milford Road trip

Wanting to head out into the hills on your next family trip to Queenstown? Here’s our top three walks that the whole family will enjoy.

1) Lake Alta

Lake Alta sits at the top of the Remarkables ski field – the drive up is reason enough to go, but the walk is spectacular (when there is no snow on the ground!).
The walk is approximately 1.5 hours. It’s ALL uphill, which might be tough on younger members of the family, but once they get to the top it really does feel like you have climbed a mountain.
The lake itself is stunning and, in the summer months, many are tempted into the invitingly cool waters after the hike.

Access is via the Remarkables Ski Field access road, which does charge $20 per vehicle. You then park at the main car park and walk up past the buildings, and along the chairlift line, before branching off to a small walking track which traverses streams and has interesting Department of Conservation boards with key alpine information.

Pros – the sense of accomplishment and stunning photography opportunity at the top. It’s also a bit off the beaten track, so quieter than some of the other walks.

Cons – signage at the start is a bit hap hazard, and we noticed many groups varying off to the right-hand side of the valley in the wrong direction. This is fine on any normal walk, but this one is all up! It’s heart-breaking to then have to turn around and start again. Stay on track by following the orange markers right up the middle of the valley.

Key information:
1 hour 30-minute walk
High fitness required
Prepare for alpine conditions
Dog friendly
Time of year to go – Summer, Spring – not advised if snow on the hill

Doc information on Lake Alta track can be found here

2) Queenstown Hill Time Walk

A firm family favourite, with hidden surprises along the way to keep wee ones entertained.
This is a 1.5km (2-3 hours) walk up Te Tapuni showing Queenstown in the past, present and future. All the way along there are information boards explaining different periods of Queenstown’s past and present.
The great thing about this track is, unlike many Queenstown walks, you are walking through the trees – and therefore less exposed to the heat of a summer’s day. This makes it particularly easy for younger members of the family.

Even though the walk is uphill, there is heaps that will keep little ones on track. Find the fairy doors, and finish by dreaming a dream in the Basket of Dreams sculpture at the top (yes you can climb on it – it’s a fabulous insta shot).

Pros – cool in the summer months, and heaps to keep the kids entertained and on track with loads of little secrets to find on the way.

Cons – can be busy, especially during peak season. But well worth it for the fabulous views at the top.

Key information
2-3 hours in duration
Medium fitness required
Always prepare for changeable weather conditions
NO dogs allowed
Time of year to go – all year around!
More information on Queenstown Hill Time Walk can be found here 

3) Bob’s Cove Walk

Bob’s Cove has something for everyone and makes you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere even though you are minutes from town.
Bob’s Cove is an easy walk on arguable one of the finest sections of Lake Wakatipu. Starting at the Bob’s Cove carpark, you walk down towards the lake through lush native bush surrounded by birdsong. Once near the lake you come face to face with history with a historic lime kiln from the 1800’s.

You can end your hike there or carry onto the top towards picnic point which affords spectacular views over Lake Wakatipu towards Mt Nicolas Farm Station.
If you’re lucky, you will spot the Southern Discoveries boat coming just to the mouth of Bob’s Cove.

Pros – an easy walk for the whole family to enjoy through spectacular native bush. If you are from the North Island this will look quite different to what you’re use to with beech and rata forming the forest surrounds.

Cons – there are none! This is a firm favourite with the team here! You can tailor the walk to how you feel on the day.

Key Information:
20 minute – 1 hour walk depending on where you want to go to
Easy walking track
Dog friendly
Time of year to go – anytime! Absolutely stunning little spot any time of the year.
Doc information on Bob’s Cove walk can be found here

Once you’ve finished your walk – head back to town and jump on board Southern Discoveries Spirit of Queenstown for a well-deserved glass of vino (or local craft beer) and enjoy soaking in the views from the water of your latest hiking conquest!

From the water you can see each of the areas you’ve hiked in with spectacular viewing up to the Remarkables, along to Queenstown Hill, and a very special stop at Bob’s Cove. This is the perfect way to finish a day’s walking adventures with the family.

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