Queenstown walks (14-15 Dec 2022)

Nearing the longest day of the year and being a fair way south meant we had a lot of daylight to play with. So arrival at our accommodation at 5pm (somewhat delayed) was the perfect time to go for a 3 hour walk! (well… 1.5 – 3 hrs depending on who you believe) After all the dinner reservation wasn’t until 8:30pm.

We hadn’t been able to get as much walking (particularly hills) into our legs as we would have liked in preparation for this trip. And didn’t the Queenstown Hill Track let us know. The footpath out of the town centre and up to the official part of the walk was probably the steepest bit. Queenstown lies at 310m above sea level, and the Queenstown Hill Summit at 907m. A tidy 600m climb before dinner if you don’t mind.

Basket of Dreams sculpture

Drizzle came and went as we powered up and in the end we got some lovely views over The Remarkables.

Not a bad view

Is this where cairns come to die?

Road cone storage or art?

The next day we had hoped to do some climbing in the Remarkables but with a dodgy weather forecast we concluded an early-ish walk up Ben Lomond was a safer option. Early turned out to be not so early as the first gondola wasn’t until 9am. We decided with over 1,000m ascent even with the gondola skipping 400m we were hardly making it into an easy day.

The start (yes, we got the gondola this far)

Despite the weather forecast the morning was absolutely stellar. This track doesn’t give you a let up – you are almost always ascending, until you’re almost always descending. Good thing there’s so many views to stop and look at!

What a view!

Toilet decorated to blend in with the landscape

Tom appreciating the views from the saddle

Looking a bit weary

Flatter section close to the summit

Lunch views at 1738m

With the weather forecast to close in and deteriorate from mid-afternoon we thought we might be some of the last to summit. For whatever reason there were not many people arriving on the summit after we did and we had it largely to ourselves for lunch. I was subsequently surprised to start encountering plenty still trudging up as we got about a third of the way down. The weather never really got foul so they would have been ok, and this was the start of our distrust of the weather forecasts for the trip…

On our third day in Queenstown we cycled from Arrowtown to Gibbston (all we had time for before our flight). I don’t have any photos of that though as I left my camera with our luggage. Oops.