Distance & Time: 16km , 3-4 hours
Take: warm gear for the peak – it’s hot work getting up there but the wind at the top is something fierce!
Amenities on route: zilch, zero, zip
Cost of the walk: free car park at the bottom/start of the walk
When I went to pick up my friend to do this walk with me, he pointed to where we’d be walking. I may have slightly underestimated which mountain we’d be climbing and as we drove closer, it just seemed to loom even taller above us.
I wasn’t too worried though, unprepared visitors traipsed up here all the time, to get their instagram shot (and yes, I was one of those), and I’d just come off a six day hike so how hard could it be?
Well, it’s up. Lots and lots and lots of up. And then when you get all the way up you turn around and go down. Lots and lots and lots of down. Because as we all know, what goes up must come down.
The reason you do this walk is for the view. The environment doesn’t change but goodness gracious the view is spectacular. All those photos you’ve scrolled through with envy online do not do it justice.
Amy’s Advice: Take lots of water – there are no water stops on route and 16km with no shade will take its toll, especially in the height of summer
You’ll know when you’ve hit the famed photo spot because there will invariably be a line of people there waiting to get their shot. My recommendation – try and do this walk with someone else, or make a buddy on the way. That way, one of you stands at the photo-taking spot with your camera/phone, while the other one runs to the end to do their photo pose. You then run back, switching places half way.
Make sure you head all the way up to the top, the view is phenomenal, and the sense of achievement you’ll feel will be worth it, trust me. Just don’t plan on having your picnic lunch up there, as even though it was a still day everywhere else, the top was very, very windy. But there are plenty of other spots to have a kai break.
Or (and this is what we did), save your hunger for heading back into Wanaka, that way you can indulge yourself with a well-deserved meal and beer. Unless you have to drive back to Queenstown. Like I did. So ginger beer it was!
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