Explore the most popular forest trails in Otago with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

no shade
2 days ago

Awesome trail! The last hour to the summit is rocky and above the tree line so no shade. It’s quite windy and chilly, even in summer time so go prepared!

A wonderful 5 day 4 night walk through a variety of scenery .

3 days ago

Did it all the way from the start of the Gondola down in Queenstown. the views are stunning all the way. i found it a bit challenging (intermediate hiker), especially since i didn't bring my hiking poles and on the steapest part, the way down from the Gondola station, my knee troubled me a bit.
Absolutely take 1.5-2l of water per person, a good water- and windproof jacket, and if you are like me your hiking poles ;). it is absolutely rewarding.

That is definitely NOT a moderate! Very difficult terrain, sometimes very easy to get lost if you overlook a sign. Even at official doc.govt.nz website is stated that you need good fitness and high level skills and experience incl. navigation and survival skills. So be aware of that.

12 days ago

Made it to the saddle with our kids. Half carrying them and half them hiking. (4 and 2). Wasn’t too bad. Definitely a work out.

Got a bit windy for the them even with extra layers and was advised by a few passerby’s not to attempt the peak with kids in packs. Steep scrambling. Etc. So we settled for the saddle...

Views all the way up and at the saddle are insane.
Best hike we did in Queenstown.

Will be back next year with a lighter load. :)

Was a beautiful hike, got off the path a bit into a non path that was a bit treacherous so just pay attention to the orange triangles and you’ll be fine. Lovely hike got to the top in 1:20

Beautiful track. Easy walk along the valley that follows the Greenstone River.

Great views along the valleys. The saddle was rainy so I didn't see the view from the top. Easy track. Just one long 22k day.

Tour du lac facile et joli. Vous pouvez aller au point de vue sur Wanaka ou faire une boucle vers le haut mais ça monte et surtout il y a des escaliers donc si genoux douloureux c’est à éviter je pense.

14 days ago

What a great trail. Starts along the river out of Arrowtown and then breaks off left for a bit of a steep uphill. Some stream crossings and awesome scenery finishes with beautiful view from the top. Had it to ourselves for a nice lunch. Ate some wild strawberries and had a swim in the river on the way back to the car. Amazing day. Huge fans of the Arrowtown area.

15 days ago

Great hike 3.5 hours from top of gondola and back. Start early to beat the crowds. No shade for top 3/4.

15 days ago

Bueno , va una review en español ! Es jodido, pero lo hice , en 6 hrs y media , y parando en el camino.
Vale la pena cada paso que se da , y llegar al tope de la montaña y abrazar las nubes, no tiene precio.

mountain biking
15 days ago

Fun ride! Beautiful surroundings.

16 days ago

My wife and I did this with our kids (2 and 4) on our backs for most of it. It MAY be rated easy. But definitely not with 40 lbs on your back. Also felt longer than 3.7 miles. Health app said 5.5. We went clockwise, crossing the bridge at the beginning. Amazing well kept trail through lots of shade next to the river. Some pretty steep sections all the way through. Birds and rapids heard throughout. The waterfall and cabin and views from the top near the lake were the highlights. Loved it!

Great circuit, beautiful views of snowy mountain tops, clear rivers and nice forests. The gillespie pass has patches of snow at this time of year (end of December) no special gear is needed although consider it to be a good 1000 meter up and down in the second day. The start and the end of the track involves some river crossing. searching for good spots will lead you to find waist-deep water at most.

on Moke Lake Loop

21 days ago

beautiful easy walk

Great way to day hike the Routeburn trail.

Nice but not challenging

Wonderful hike. A few steep sections but not bad. We opted to do this hike over the Roys Peak hike. Very few people on this hike which made it very enjoyable. A very panoramic view at the top.

The walk is mostly shaded till closer to the summit. The 360 view at the nature walk loop is quite amazing. It’s a pleasant walk, took us two hours in total including return.

Amazing view up top. The last hour hike to the summit can be rocky and steep at times. The summit took me one hour to go up slowly. So take it slow esp coming down. But the view is amazing, comparable to Roy’s Peak at Wanaka.

Beautiful all year round

Beautiful walk with a 360 degree view at the summit

28 days ago

This is a very detailed trip report of my 1-day Routeburn hike. I'm including all details as personally I found it very challenging to find this info online and I was nervous before attempting to complete this 3-day hike in a single day.

First things first: I'm a 47 year old man, have had 2 back surgeries so no running for me. I'm a fast walker and am in decent shape but by no means a fitness freak. I completed the entire hike including Conical Hill in 8:45 hours. Without Conical Hill it would have been 7:45 hours, and this includes plenty of stops for rest, pics and eating. The point? This is not a multiday hike, as long as you are reasonably fit. Having said that, I did have spectacular weather (hiked it in late December), and I'm sure that had I had to brave the elements I'd be singing a different tune....

The hike is amazing and beautiful, highly recommended!

The hike (all times below include the stops mentioned above and can be easily shortened) :
- Routeburn Shelter - Flats Hut: 1.15 hours. The hike starts off very mellow in a beautiful and shaded forest. There are plenty of flat areas to get you up to speed and overall this segment is extremely easy. It's more of a stroll than anything else.
- Flats Hut - Falls Hut: 45 minutes. Slightly steeper but still very manageable. This section starts to get your legs working but is by no means strenuous. It's gorgeous and the trail is not technical at all.
- Falls Hut - Harris: 1.10 hours. This section is the most physically demanding. It gets steeper and the trail becomes more technical. Having said that, it's still very manageable. Personally I take a 1 minute break every couple of miles to rest my pathetically weak calves and then continue on. All good.
- Conical Hill side-trip: 1 hour. This section is technical, steep and involves a lot of loose rock and some snow. It's by far and away the toughest part of the hike, if you decide to do it. Since this is a side-trip you don't have to do it, but the views from the top are probably worth it. You can leave your backpack at Harris and pick it up when you're done.
- Harris - MacKenzie: 1.5 hours. There is nothing hard physically in this section, but if you're not prepared it can be mentally challenging. Why? Because when you look at the trail map you feel that from Harris "it's all downhill", but that's simply not the case. There is a pretty long uphill segment that, as noted, isn't tough at all but can be demoralizing if you aren't expecting it. But then you find yourself above the amazing Lake MacKenzie and you forget about everything.
- MacKenzie - Howden: 2.5 hours. OK... this segment took way longer than expected. The main reason was that it was very demoralizing as the trail just kept going uphill and I just wasn't read for it. Yes I saw some uphill on the trail map, but in reality it seemed to be much more significant than on the map. This segment was mentally tough and it showed in my times. Having said that, I also stopped for a 30 minute lunch at Mackenzie which made this segment longer. Again - there is nothing that's too physically demanding here, as long as you're mentally prepared for the uphill.
- Howden - Divide: 30 minutes. Having suffered through the hike to Howden, I was expecting the last uphill to be brutal as it appeared to be pretty steep on the map. However, that wasn't the case at all. The uphill is maybe 1km long if that and was over in a breeze. From that point on it was just a matter of cruing down to the parking lot.

All in all an amazing trail. If you're considering doing it in 1 day, go for it. Of course you should come prepared for weather but in terms of physical effort there's no reason not to do it. An 8 hour trek when there are about 15 hours of daylight is a no brainer.

A note about water: There is water EVERYWHERE. It's fresh, clean and potable. There is really no reason to bring water as you can fill up wherever and whenever you feel like it.


My wife and I completed this “track” yesterday, in late December, in perfect weather of clear skies and ~65 degrees F. It’s great! We are both experienced hikers and decent athletes, so take that into account for time-planning reference. We took the gondola up and hiked from Skyline (which starts behind the luge entrance, to the left, and it’s well marked) and made it to the saddle in under an hour. That section of trail behind the luge begins in the woods for less than 1 km and is mostly a steady uphill of smooth dirt track, with only a few simple wooden steps to prevent trail erosion. Once you emerge from the trees, you have excellent views of Lake Wakatipu and a long, exposed uphill to the saddle.

The section from the saddle to Ben Lomond peak took us just under 45 minutes at a difficult pace. It’s a fully exposed ridge, beginning with uneven/eroded dirt trails as turning into erratic rock stepping and some scrambling. It’s insanely fun with great views in most directions. Once you get to the top, on nice days, you’ll have a good bit of company for the 360 views, but the trail itself never felt too crowded.

The downhill from the summit to the saddle is probably the most precarious; take care not to lose or miss a step. The lower have back to the gondola is a simple downhill, but I imagine could get very muddy during or after rainfall. We also took the gondola down, and our full round trip was about 3 hours 50 minutes including at least 20 minutes for lunch at the peak and me scrambling throughout for 100+ pictures.

Suggestions: Since we were simply “on holiday,” we both wore good running shoes but I would recommend at least trail runners or low trail shoes for even experienced hikers. Then, bring at least 2-3 liters of water and wear gobs of sunscreen. And pee before you leave the woods; there’s no place to hide! Also, the big bird at the top WILL steal food from inside your bag.

Lastly, there is a parallel track that goes from the gondola up/down to the saddle on the ridge (rather than just below). It looks more fun and craggy than the saddle trail, but is reserved for downhill mountain bikers as it is mostly single track. Press your luck if you want the fun!

nice not very hard , did it for two days , great views, alot of sandfly tho :)

1 month ago

No words for how beautiful and peaceful the lake is. The whole trail is very beautiful and very green. It rained a little in our way up so it was very slippery and muddy pretty much the whole time, but so worth it. Loved it!

1 month ago

Did this hike in mid-December, started and ended by taking the Tiki Trail. About 45 from start of Tiki Trail to the gondola station, and another 2 hours to summit. I highly recommend doing this hike early in the morning - I started around 8am and didn’t see anyone until almost to the summit. It was also fairly rainy, but I didn’t think it was too bad despite a few muddy areas (good to have hiking shoes with decent traction). It was fairly cold up there (a few degrees above freezing), and having a decent hard shell was quite helpful. One thing to note is that there is a defined trail all the way to the summit, but around the last 15min or so you’ll come across a large rock overhang that forms a natural rain shelter of sort (very obvious). If you aren’t so bright like me and didn’t see the trail which continues to the right, you may go under the rock and do a bit of rock scrambling to reach the top. It wasn’t too difficult, but I’d recommend just following the trail if you don’t want the extra excitement.

trail running
1 month ago

left from Glenorchy ... 40km total to Mackenzie hut and back to parking area ; did the conical peak and rested there for a while ! great views all the way! very nice

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