Everything you need to know about hiking to Queenstown Hill, one of the best viewpoints in town!
In terms of epic day hikes from Queenstown, you can’t get much more popular than the Queenstown Hill Hike.
This famous trail has become much more than just an epic view of Queenstown. You could argue that it’s almost a rite of passage for visitors to New Zealand’s adrenaline capital!
This guide details how to get here, trail information and what you might expect.
I'm Olly, a full-time traveler for the past 5 years. I visit every destination I write about & handpick all recommendations.
Queenstown Hill Hike - All You Need to Know
We know that Queenstown Hill is popular, but is it worth it?
In my opinion, if you have a couple of hours to kill and you want an epic view of Queenstown, then I'd consider it a must-do. Like most of the other trails around Queenstown, the Queenstown Hill Hike is easily accessible both by foot and by car.
Queenstown Hill Hike Start Point
Alright, but where is the Queenstown Hill start point? The trailhead is located on Belfast Terrace, found in the maze of steep, winding suburban hills behind town.
If you're walking from town, then you'll already be in for a 20-minute warm-up on the old legs. The easiest way to find the start point is to follow Google's directions to the pin below.
Hiking Route Details
Walking Time: Expect anywhere between 2 to 3 hours return.
Hike Distance: The return trail, including the optional middle loop, is approximately 6 km.
Hike Difficulty: Easy but moderately steep in some segments. Basic fitness is adequate.
Queenstown Hill Elevation: 907 m. The starting point on Belfast Terrace sits at around 500 m, which means you'll gain about 400 m.
What to Expect on the Queenstown Hill Trail
In true Queenstown fashion, the Queenstown Hill hike starts in suburbian streets and quickly turns into an epic nature track.
The trail leads through thick sections of beech and fir forest before eventually breaking out at the grassy hilltop.
Along the track, there are a few opportunities to sneak an early view of Queenstown through the trees and shrubs. Keep an eye out for possums and brightly colored red mushrooms, but don't think about eating either.
The incline is fairly moderate, but you'll need a general degree of fitness to gain the approximate 400 M of elevation. Since this track is popular for runners and day-hikers, there are a couple of benches to stop and rest at if you need it.
Optional Queenstown Hill "Viewpoint" Loop
At approximately 1.3 km along the trail, you'll come across a fork that splits the track in two. You can follow the left track which leads directly up to the summit or follow the right trail to a "viewpoint".
Unfortunately, the viewpoint isn't much worth the extra 15-minute walk since the treeline now covers most of the view.
However, it might be a good idea to take the left trail up, and mix it up by taking the loop on the way down.
RELATED POST: Where to Stay in Queenstown
Queenstown Hill Summit and View
Arriving at the summit of Queenstown Hill, we had excellent views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, the Remarkables, and the towering Ben Lomond.
Arguably, you'll get the best views at the Queenstown Hill hike summit, but there are also some smaller hills below if the summit gets crowded.
Where to Stay in Queenstown
I've written a separate, comprehensive accommodation guide to the best places to stay in Queenstown– make sure to check it out get a great deal! Otherwise, below is a quick summary of my top picks.
- Best Luxury Accommodation: Shotover Penthouse & Spa - an incredible apartment that features an outdoor terrace with a barbecue and hot tub. It is situated 200m from the Skyline Gondola and Luge and is 1.3km from the Shotover river.
- Best Value Lodge: Melbourne Lodge - located five minutes walk from central Queenstown & offers picturesque views of the Remarkable mountains and has a large shared outdoor sundeck. This is a great choice for where to stay cheaply in Queenstown.
- Where I stayed: Spaceship Camper - During my recent visit to New Zealand, I cruised around in style in a Spaceship rental car. These are great for budget adventure travelers since you’ll get your accommodation and transport ticked off in one neat package.
- Cheapest Hostel in Queenstown: Base Backpackers - Queenstown is known for a lot of things; adrenaline sports, epic day hikes, and awesome nightlife. What it’s not known for is anything to do with the word cheap. In saying that, if you book ahead, you’ll still be able to get a dorm bed for under $25 NZD at Base Backpackers.
More in Queenstown
I hope this guide to the Queenstown Hill hike answered all of your questions and motivated you to get out and have a crack at some of the epic day hikes in Queenstown.
If you're looking for more things to do in New Zealand's South Island, don't forget to check out some of the posts at the bottom of this blog post.
Alternatively, start with this guide to the 31 Best Hikes on the South Island.